There's absolutely no question that Stannis Baratheon's battle victories on Game of Thrones are less than 100 percent reliable. Sure, he managed to come to the aid of the Night's Watch last season against the Wildlings, but let's not forget about his first real attempt at claiming the Iron Throne in the Battle of the Blackwater where he proved to be less than successful. So if you're feeling a little uneasy about the outcome over this pending battle for the North, I wouldn't blame you. And Sunday night's Game of Thrones episode "The Gift" did little to squash my doubts regarding this eldest Baratheon's odds. We know that Stannis plans to take Winterfell, but will he succeed? However, before I really get into any of that, let's just say that the horrible weather isn't the greatest indicator. (Warning: books spoilers ahead!)
Now, of course, given that this is GoT, no answer is ever a straight "yes or no" response. That being said, this scenario in particular proves to be a bit of a head scratcher due mainly to the fact that I can't yet fully confirm one way or another how the battle or Stannis' fate plays out. Why? Well, because we only have Ramsay Bolton's word to go on at this point. Let me explain… In the latest Thrones book, A Dance With Dragons, Jon Snow receives a letter from Ramsay himself, claiming to have killed Stannis and won the battle for the North. But is he really telling Jon the truth or is this merely another one of Ramsay's mind game tactics?
The latter certainly sounds like something he would do, given his unpredictable sociopathic capabilities. However, it's also important not to overlook the fact of how carelessly Stannis tends to go about doing things. He's so thirsty for the Throne and its power that he sometimes forgets to make smart decisions (like refusing to wait for the snowy weather to clear up before continuing on his journey). So I wouldn't be all that surprised if he doesn't end up coming out of this whole thing victorious. But until that time, the claim for Winterfell and Stannis' fate both remain ambiguously up in the air. That is, at least until The Winds of Winter can help provide us with some clarity.
Why must you toy with us in such a way, Game of Thrones? (Just kidding. I love you. Never change.)
Images: Helen Sloan/HBO