In Game of Thrones Season 4, we saw the Boltons, Roose and Ramsay, come into some real power by taking control of the North. We can’t imagine that all of the North will follow them so easily after their role in the Red Wedding, so what’s going to happen to the family of the flayed man in Season 5?
Warning! This article contains spoilers from the A Song of Ice and Fire book series. Click away now if you don’t want to know!
In the books, the next step the Boltons take in solidifying their hold on the North is to wed Ramsay to Arya Stark at Winterfell. Now, before you have a heart attack, keep in mind that, as we saw in the Season 4 finale, Arya is off to Braavos. The girl that Ramsay weds is a phony that the Boltons pass off as Arya. No one knows the difference since none of the Northern Lords have seen Arya in years, but one person does know the truth: Theon.
As a favor to Jon Snow, Melisandre sends Mance Rayder to Winterfell to rescue "Arya," thinking that it’s the real Arya. Mance wants to sow discord among the ranks at Winterfell, so he starts killing Freys, leading the Freys to believe that some of the other Northern Houses present are seeking revenge for the Red Wedding. In the ensuing chaos, Mance is able to convince Theon to flee with “Arya,” which he does, but he ends up running into Stannis, who has a host that is planning to attack Winterfell and overthrow the Boltons.
When the books leave the Boltons, they are struggling to hold their host together as they march on Stannis, with their battle planned for early in the still-unpublished next book in the series, The Winds of Winter.
We're not sure exactly how this story will play out on the show. We suspect, for instance, that the show might go in a slightly different direction with the "fake Arya" plot. But one thing is for sure: you should expect to see a lot of the Boltons next year.