In this post we build off of the great post by Kuryer on Tormund and Alysane Mormont being together.
Well, here’s a tale for you. It were another winter, colder even than the one I spent inside that giant, and snowing day and night, snowflakes as big as your head, not these little things. It snowed so hard the whole village was half buried. I was in me Ruddy Hall, with only a cask o’ mead to keep me company and nothing to do but drink it. The more I drank the more I got to thinking about this woman lived close by, a fine strong woman with the biggest pair of teats you ever saw. She had a temper on her, that one, but oh, she could be warm too, and in the deep of winter a man needs his warmth.
“The more I drank the more I thought about her, and the more I thought the harder me member got, till I couldn’t suffer it no more. Fool that I was, I bundled meself up in furs from head to heels, wrapped a winding wool around me face, and set off to find her. The snow was coming down so hard I got turned around once or twice, and the wind blew right through me and froze me bones, but finally I come on her, all bundled up like I was.
“The woman had a terrible temper, and she put up quite the fight when I laid hands on her. It was all I could do to carry her home and get her out o’ them furs, but when I did, oh, she was hotter even than I remembered, and we had a fine old time, and then I went to sleep. Next morning when I woke the snow had stopped and the sun was shining, but I was in no fit state to enjoy it. All ripped and torn I was, and half me member bit right off, and there on me floor was a she-bear’s pelt. And soon enough the free folk were telling tales o’ this bald bear seen in the woods, with the queerest pair o’ cubs behind her. Har!”
I believe that Jorah worked with the poachers to capture wildings beyond The Wall and that is precisely why he is so angry at Ned. And one of those he poached was Tormund Giantsbane.
Slavery is illegal in the Seven Kingdoms, but in Jorahs mind he did not did not extend those laws beyond The Wall to lands not under the control of Kings Landing. If Jorah went to Essos and Slavers Bay to get his slaves, he would not have gone into conflict with Winterfell or Kingslanding. The only reason he would get in trouble with Ned and Robert is if he poached people from within Westeros.
But as his Grace, The R’hilor Preying Mannis reminds us, the continent of Westeros has but one king.
“Westeros has but one king,” said Stannis. His voice rang harsh, with none of Melisandre’s music. “With this sword I defend my subjects and destroy those who menace them. Bend the knee, and I promise you food, land, and justice. Kneel and live. Or go and die. The choice is yours.”
Again, the crime was committed on the continent of Westeros, but Jorah thought he would get away with it on a jurisdictional technicality. And there is no indication he poached Northmen such as those of the Northern Mountains, Deepwood, Stony Shore etc we would certainly have heard about this affront to those lords as their smallfolk belonging to those surrounding lords, with those individual lords making claims against House Mormont. We hear none of that. Instead we get this:
“His crime had dishonored The North.” – Eddard Stark’s thoughts
He dishonored the whole North. Not a specific Northern Lord.
In addition, the only other time we hear of slavery and poachers in Westeros is when poachers capture Wildlings Beyond The Wall. GRRM went to great lengths to describe thralldom in Westeros as being different from Slavery.
Jorah enslaved the “Freefolk.”
Lets take a look at Jorahs subtle perspective on Ned.
He has contempt for him him:
Eddard Stark …” He spat. “You hate this Lord Stark,” Dany said. “He took from me all I loved, for the sake of a few lice-ridden poachers and his precious honor,” Ser Jorah said bitterly.
“I did things it shames me to speak of. For gold. So Lynesse might keep her jewels, her harper, and her cook. In the end it costed me all . When I heard that Eddard Stark was coming to Bear Island, I was so lost to honor that rather than stay and face his judgment, I took her with me into exile. Nothing mattered but our love, I told myself. We fled to Lys, where I sold my ship for gold to keep us.”
Yet even though he has contempt for him, he still respects Ned. Even still, Jorah doesn’t believe Ned was a traitor when he hears of his execution:
And the Hand has fallen, Lord Stark who was King Robert’s friend. He has been seized for treason.” “Ned Stark a traitor?” Ser Jorah snorted. “Not bloody likely. The Long Summer will come again before that one would besmirch his precious honor.”
Ned is Lord Paramount and Warden of The North, it is his job to look after his lords and protect The North. If he poached another lords smallfolk and tried to sell them into slavery, Jorah would not spit at his name yet still respect him. Jorah spat and respected Ned because of his honor. Neds honor stretched beyond the borders of the lands he controls.
So I believe his poachees included Tormund Giantsbane, who was brought back to Bear Islands before being returned Beyond The Wall. In the meantime he may have married Alysane Mormont, Lady Maege Mormont’s second daughter. who has two children. It is currently unknown whether Alysane’s children are trueborn, or bastardborn.
Both Tormund Giantsbane and women of House Mormont are the only two people in the series who are mentioned, repeatedly as having slept with bears.
Tinfoil cherry on top just for kicks: Perhaps Alysayne skinchanged into a bear as Mormonts are described as being able to do, and it was that Alysayne-Bear that slept with him, if he did in fact sleep with one.