- Sansa Stark: “I remember when you were born, my lady. You were named for my aunt Lyanna. It’s said she was a great beauty. I’m sure you will be too.“
- Lyanna Mormont: “I doubt it. My mother wasn’t a great beauty, or any other kind of beauty. She was a great warrior, though. She died fighting for your brother Robb.“
- — Lyanna Mormont rebuffs Sansa’s attempt at flattery.
Lady Lyanna Mormont is a recurring character in the sixth season, who was previously mentioned in Season 5. She is the young Lady of Bear Island and thus the head of House Mormont of Bear Island. She is the niece of Lord Commander Jeor Mormont of the Night’s Watch and first cousin of Ser Jorah Mormont.
She is the daughter of Maege Mormont. She was named after Lyanna Stark, younger sister of Lord Eddard Stark, who died years before she was born. After her mother’s older brother Jeor joined the Night’s Watch and his only son Jorah fled to Essos to avoid a death sentence by Lord Eddard Stark for selling poachers into slavery to fund his wife’s expensive tastes, Maege Mormont became Lady of Bear Island. When Maege left to fight in the War of the Five Kings, Lyanna ruled Bear Island in her mother’s stead, eventually taking Maege’s place upon her death.
House Mormont’s domains are poor on their heavily forested island, vulnerable to attack from the sea, meaning that the Mormonts have had to develop a strong tradition of warrior women to defend their homes from surprise raids. Maege Mormont personally led and fought beside the Mormont contingent in Robb Stark’s army. Maege’s daughter Lyanna was similarly raised expecting to be a ruler and commander – unlike many other Houses, even in the North, that don’t let women rule – explaining Lyanna’s authoritative and self-confident bearing, despite her young age.
Stannis Baratheon has come to Castle Black and send ravens to all the noble houses of the North with messages asking them to join his cause. Lyanna Mormont sends back a rebuff that she and Bear Island only bend the knee to House Stark. An upset Stannis shows Lyanna Mormont’s message to Jon Snow which causes Jon to briefly smile and point out that, much like the Free Folk, the Northmen are loyal to their own.
Lyanna is one of the Northern leaders being visited by Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, and Davos Seaworth, who are attempting to rally the North against House Bolton. Sansa and Jon try to flatter her, but Lyanna brusquely brushes them off, demands to know why they are at Bear Island, and questions whether Jon and Sansa are technically even Starks, the former being a bastard, and the latter being twice married into enemy houses. She refuses to offer her men to them until Davos steps in. He tells her that the real war is not between different houses, but between the living and the dead – and a divided North cannot hope to stand against the Night King. She agrees to help, but can only offer sixty two fighting men – though she insists that the hardy warriors of Bear Island are worthy many times their own number in battle. She personally leads these men when Jon travels to Stannis’s old camp.
Lyanna is present when Jon and Sansa parley with Ramsay Bolton ahead of their battle. She doesn’t speak, but scowls at Ramsay when he mentions pardoning her and the other Northern lords for their treason. She is not present during the battle itself, and presumably stayed behind at the camp.
Lyanna is among those present at Winterfell after the battle. As the Knights of the Vale, the many Northern lords, and the Free Folk bicker, she calls out the Manderlys, Glovers, and Cerwyns for refusing Jon and Sansa’s call to arms. She then declares that she doesn’t care if Jon is a bastard, and is the first of the assembled lords to proclaim him the new King in the North.
Despite her young age, Lyanna is shown to be a competent, effective, and intelligent leader, in sharp contrast to the psychopathic Joffrey, timid Tommen, and developmentally challenged Robin Arryn. While she emanates self-confidence, she does not hesitate to consult her advisors if she sees the need. At the same time, she is not over-reliant on her advisors, and will wave aside her maester if she has reached a firm decision already. As a female and the only living heir of a major Northern house, Lyanna challenges and strives to live up to the expectations placed upon her, and behaves in a stern, no-nonsense manner when negotiating with other houses. She is extremely proud of her house, and she is devoted to protecting Bear Island’s people, indicating that she views this responsibility with the utmost solemnity. Though Lyanna shares her family’s fierce loyalty to House Stark, she was initially reluctant to help Jon and Sansa fight the Boltons until Ser Davos convinced her, comparing their recent rises to power and informing her of the greater threat beyond the Wall.
|Season Six appearances|
|The Red Woman||Home||Oathbreaker||Book of the Stranger||The Door|
|Blood of My Blood||The Broken Man||No One||Battle of the Bastards||The Winds of Winter|
Behind the scenes:
- Her appearance in Game of Thrones was actually the first film or TV role that actress Bella Ramsey has everappeared in. Nonetheless, she received widespread praise from the cast and crew – in the “Inside the Episode” featurette for her debut episode “The Broken Man”, the showrunners totally praised her performance and pointed out how difficult it is to find talented child actors.
- Due to her young age, Bella Ramsey wasn’t allowed to watch prior seasons of the TV series when she was cast in Season 6. However the production team did develop a collection of select clips to show Bella which were most relevant to her character – particularly the important scene when Lyanna was first mentioned, in Season 5 when Jon and Stannis receive a letter sent by Lyanna.
- Lyanna Mormont’s age was given as 10 years old when Jon and Stannis first mentioned her in Season 5. Subsequently, in Season 6 Sansa remarked in passing that Lyanna is a “10 year old girl”, perhaps raising a contradiction. The early seasons of the TV show generally followed the pattern that one TV season equals about one year of story time, thought the showrunners didn’t keep close track of this from Season 4 onwards. Saying that she is still 10 years old in Season 6 may be a mistake, though it can be reconciled fairly easily if it is just assumed that Lyanna in Season 6 is nearly 11 years old, off by a few months. A similar error came up in Season 3: Sansa on her wedding night said she was 14 years old, even though she said she was 13 years old in Season 1, yet other characters directly stated that two years had passed between Season 1 and Season 3; again, the exact date of hernameday might just not have passed yet. See “Timeline” for further discussion.
In the books:
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Lyanna Mormont is the youngest of Maege’s five daughters, and the only one to remain at Bear Island during the War of the Five Kings. She is ten years old at the time King Stannis arrives in the North.
Maege Mormont has five daughters in the novels: Dacey, Alysane, Lyra, Jorelle, and Lyanna. She has no sons. Oddly, the identity of their father has never been mentioned, and he is presumably dead by this point. The fact that Maege’s daughters all use the name “Mormont” may indicate that he was a member of a minor noble House (noblewomen sometimes retain their maiden name and pass it to their children if they marry into a less prominent House). Alysane has two small children of her own, a daughter and a son – but no one has any idea who the father is. When asked, Alysane will only claim that they were fathered by a bear – apparently no one dares call her children bastards. Maege herself may have done the same thing – never marrying and just presenting her daughters as lawful – but this is unlikely, given that Maege’s eldest daughter was born 15 years before Lyanna: five daughters in a row across 15 years doesn’t seem like the product of a one-time encounter out of wedlock. The most prominent of Maege’s daughters in the early novels was her eldest, Dacey, a warrior-woman like her mother who was a member of Robb Stark’s personal bodyguard. Dacey was killed at the Red Wedding – she was the only one of Robb’s lieutenants who managed to run through the hail of crossbow bolts and reach the hall’s doors, but only to run right into Frey reinforcements who drove an axe into her belly.
The TV adaptation simplified this to omit Dacey, and condensed Maege’s younger four daughters into just Lyanna. Nonetheless, even in the books it is specifically Lyanna Mormont who sends the letter to Stannis, as she did in Season 5 of the TV series. In the fifth novel, Stannis sends out letters demanding the Northern lords bend the knee to him, but receives the response from Lyanna (the same as in the TV show) that “Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark“. Stannis has no idea who Lyanna Mormont is, and asks Jon Snow to identify her. As in the TV version, Jon says to Stannis that she is the Lady of Bear Island – though inwardly Jon thinks to himself that she actually isn’t, because she has older sisters, and wonders why she would be identified as such in the letter.
Following the liberating of Deepwood Motte, however, Lyanna apparently changed her mind, as the remaining Mormont and Glover garrisons joined forces with Stannis’s army in his his campaign against the Boltons. Lyanna is apparently still considered too young, and instead of going herself, her older sister Alysane accompanies their contingent in Stannis’s army.
It is Alysane in the novels who specifically explains (to Stannis’s captive Yara Greyjoy) that the women of House Mormont are raised to be tough warriors and leaders in their own right because Bear Island is constantly under threat of raids from the sea. Being located off the northwest coast of “the North”, they are under threat from both attacks by the ironborn from the south, and from wildlings in smaller boats coming down from the Frozen Shore to the north. Their lands are so poor and hardscrabble that they gain most of their sustenance from the sea, so the men are out in fishing boats all day struggling to catch enough to feed everyone. This left the women behind on the island, so they had to be ready to defend their homes, their children, and themselves from raiders. This explains why both Maege and her daughter Lyanna in the TV series are tough warriors and confident political leaders in their own right – it is a local tradition of House Mormont that even the rest of the North doesn’t share.
Other than her letter to Stannis, Lyanna herself has not personally appeared in the narrative of the novels – but her sisters Dacey and Alysane have, and TV-Lyanna’s characterization seems based on their appearances (as they were all condensed into one character).
In the novels, it is uncertain if Maege Mormont is still alive. She was not present for the Red Wedding because Robb sent her and Galbart Glover on ahead to the Crannogmen of House Reed in the Neck, to prepare them for a push to retakeMoat Cailin from the ironborn. Her whereabouts after the Red Wedding are unknown, as are what her activities might be in later novels. The TV version simplified this to simply say that Maege died off-screen at some point “fighting for Robb” in the war, thus making Lyanna the official new head of House Mormont, not just the acting leader.
- ↑ “The House of Black and White”
- ↑ “The Broken Man”
- ↑ “Battle of the Bastards”
- ↑ “The Winds of Winter”