If you think ‘Game of Thrones’ Lyanna Mormont is cool, wait until you meet her family
After watching last week’s ‘Game of Thrones’ episode — “The Broken Man” — fans were less concerned with the politics of the Seven Kingdoms and more concerned with getting more Lyanna Mormont, STAT. But who is this tiny yet ferocious child who stole our hearts? She is the Lady of Bear Island and a descendant of some of the most badass women in all of Westeros. Take the hardiness of the Iron Born and the viciousness of the Dornish and you get the Mormonts.
Image Credit: HBO
Way back in Season 1, Game of Thrones introduced the audience to House Mormont on three fronts. Jeor Mormont as the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jorah Mormont as the disappointing son, and Maege Mormont (the She-Bear to you) as the Lady of Bear Island and one of Robb Stark’s sworn swords. A casualty of plot condensing, Lady Maege and her daughters Dacey, Alysane, Lyra, Jory, and Lyanna didn’t get much screen time. Maege was seen in some background shots, but there was no time to fully explain this hard as nails woman. But if a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s pretty obvious the women of Bear Island don’t have time for your nonsense.
Image Credit: HBO
More evidence that non-Mormont men don’t register is the fact there is no mention of Lyanna Mormont’s father in the novels or the show. But considering Maege retained her maiden name of Mormont (she is Jeor’s younger sister) and all five her daughter’s — including the married Alysane — are also Mormonts, it’s safe to say the women of Bear Island care not for the southron customs of bowing to the will of men. There’s also this fantastic quote from Jeor Mormont about his sister and nieces:
You are not the only one touched by this war. Like as not, my sister is marching in your brother’s host, her and those daughters of hers, dressed in men’s mail. Maege is a hoary old snark, stubborn, short-tempered, and willful. Truth be told, I can hardly stand to be around the wretched woman, but that does not mean my love for her is any less than the love you bear your half sisters
Located in the Bay of Ice, Bear Island wasn’t an easy place to grow up. A hard location creates hard people. Lyanna Mormont was raised in a castle surrounded by women warriors*. She would’ve learned to fight alongside the boys, becoming proficient in the arts of war. Every day Lyanna would’ve seen the gate to her childhood home with a woman in a bearskin carved into the wood feeding a babe in one arm and wielding a battleaxe in the other. For centuries, the women of Bear Island have taken up arms to defend their homes against the Iron Born who believe the island rightfully belongs to the Greyjoys. As with most land disputes, Bear Island has belonged to many noble houses over the centuries and the Iron Born have no more right to it (their king having lost the property in a wrestling match with a Stark king, don’t ask) than House Mormont.
*I truly thought Lyanna was going to say Bear Island only had 62 fighting men, but several hundred fighting women.
How then did Lyanna become the Lady of the House at the age of ten? In Game of Thrones, there is a high probability she doesn’t have as many siblings for the sake of streamlining. But in the novels, the girl is also the current Lady of House Mormont. But that doesn’t mean she is alone. Her mother Maege is alive and well in George R.R. Martin’s novels, sent on a mission by King Robb to treat with Howland Reed and the other Crannogmen. Both Lyra and Jory accompanied their mother. The fruits of their mission have yet to be revealed. Dacey Mormont is dead at the hands of Robb Stark’s enemies, and Alysane is currently part of Stannis Baratheon’s army and one of Asha Greyjoy’s prison guards.
As there “must always be a Stark in Winterfell,” so to must there always be a Mormont on Bear Island (or a Lannister at Casterly Rock, a Tyrell at Highgarden, etc.). Many people took Lyanna’s presence on Bear Island to mean her mother Maege Mormont perished in Robb’s war, but that is not necessarily the case. It merely means Lyanna is the only Moromont currently on the island. Remember, Bran was younger in the novels than Lyanna is on the show when Robb Stark marched south and left his brother in charge of Winterfell. In a world where women marry at 14 and Ned Stark was considered an old man at the age of 36, the concept of when childhood ends is skewed.
It speaks highly to Maege Mormont’s parenting skills that even her youngest daughter was taught how to rule. With so many sisters ahead of her to inherit, it would’ve been easy to allow Lyanna to run wild with no responsibilities to speak of. Instead, Bear Island has a fierce and loyal lady to protect her lands and people until either Maege returns or Lady Lyanna has children (hopefully daughters) of her own to leave the Mormont legacy to. In the meantime, I hope her presence in Jon Snow’s camp means we’ll have more of her no-nonsense approach to war.