These two characters have been missing for two seasons. Where did Rickon and Osha go? When might we see them again?
It’s been two full seasons since we last saw Rickon and Osha. They traveled with Bran and Hodor for most of Season 3, splitting up once they reached the Wall. Bran felt that beyond the Wall would be too dangerous for Rickon, so Osha, Rickon, and Rickon’s direwolf Shaggydog parted ways with Bran and company. On the show several characters now know the two Stark boys are still alive. Theon told Ramsay and Roose Bolton before also telling Sansa the truth in Season 5. Samwell met Bran and told Jon about it, which means that there are two Starks on the lookout for them and two Boltons trying to kill them. Bran will be back next Season, but just where did Rickon and Osha go?
What We Know from the Books
Where Rickon and Osha went in the books and on the show may be completely different, but here’s what we know happened in the books. Rickon and Osha split up from Bran much earlier, immediately following the sack of Winterfell. We also know Rickon and Osha were followed from the ruins of Winterfell.
Fast forward to the final book published so far, A Dance with Dragons. Stannis sent Ser Davos to Lord Manderly, a Stark supporter and the Lord of White Harbor, to try and gain Manderly’s support in the Battle of Winterfell. (Manderly has not appeared on the show and might not at all.)
Manderly imprisons Davos in a plot to get his own son released from the Lannisters, but soon after reveals key details about Rickon’s possible location. He has gotten ahold of a witness to Ramsay’s sack of Winterfell, Theon’s squire while he held Winterfell. He told Manderly that Rickon and a woman fled to the Island of Skagos in the aftermath of the attack. Manderly tells Davos, “Roose Bolton has Lord Eddard’s daughter. To thwart him White Harbor must have Ned’s son…Smuggle me back my liege lord, and I will take Stannis Baratheon as my King.” (Davos IV, A Dance with Dragons). Davos isn’t pleased with the news that he has to go to Skagos, and it isn’t hard to see why…
Skagos is a small island off the coast near the east end of the Wall. It is technically ruled by the North, but has own system of government and rarely interacts with the mainland. Supposedly the island is populated with unicorns (no, really).
The people of Skagos have a similar reputation as the Wildlings to the Night’s Watch and those in the far North. They are called Stone born and are descendants from the First Men or possibly giants. We hear stories of them performing human sacrifices to the Old Gods, the Weirwood trees. They apparently wreck ships by confusing them with lights on shore near rocks, and engage in acts of cannibalism during winter. This is not a place you want to go, and it is completely understandable why Ser Davos is reluctant to undertake the journey. But all this begs a serious question…
Why Would Rickon and Osha go to Skagos?
Well, maybe Rickon just really wanted to see some unicorns. Seriously though, it doesn’t seem to make sense. Osha may be at home among the people of Skagos, as their culture sounds at least similar to the Wildlings, but still.
Going to Skagos would take them off of the main continent and out of the path of war. No one on Skagos would likely ransom them to the Boltons or the Lannisters, but it goes the other way too. No one on the island is loyal to the Starks. The people of Skagos have rebelled against the Starks a few times in the past. Revealing Rickon to be a Stark could easily get them killed.
So why would they go there? Well maybe they didn’t.
Where Else Could they Go?
On the show, Bran tells them to go to the Last Hearth. The Last Hearth is the seat of House Umber, and the last castle in the North before the Wall. We’ve seen some of House Umber, most notably the lord from Season 1 who got some of his fingers bitten off by Grey Wind, Robb’s direwolf. Going to the Last Hearth makes much more sense. It’s closer, it doesn’t require sea travel, and it has Stark loyalists there. This just seems like a no brainer.