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"You must protect them. You're the only one who can!"
Maester Luwin to Osha, regarding Bran and Rickon Stark.[src]

Osha was a woman of the Free Folk (or "wildling"), in service to House Stark of Winterfell. Osha successfully escorted Rickon Stark to Last Hearth to seek refuge with House Umber but they were eventually betrayed by Smalljon Umber.

Biography

Background

Osha is a wildling spearwife, one of the "Free Folk" who live north of the Wall. Like other wildlings, she worships the Old Gods of the Forest.[1] Due to the rising threat of the White Walkers and their undead wights, Osha fled south of the Wall with a group of other wildlings, hoping to go "as far south as south goes".[2] They bypass the wall by taking a boat across the Bay of Seals, to the east of the Wall.[3]

Season 1

Stiv and Osha

Osha and Stiv attack Bran.

Osha joins Stiv and Wallen to form a band of wildlings. They fled south and abandoned their service to Mance Rayder. The group cross the Wall and travel into the Wolfswood north of Winterfell. They chance upon Bran Stark and try to steal his horse. Robb Stark intervenes, killing Wallen and taking Osha prisoner. Stiv holds Bran at knifepoint, but is shot in the back by Theon Greyjoy. Osha surrenders to Robb and is taken to Winterfell.[4]

Theon and Osha 1x07

Osha works as a servant of Winterfell.

Osha is put to work as a servant. Theon is irritated when she refused to call him "My lord," especially when she correctly pointed out that his father is still alive so he is not entitled to the honorific title yet. Maester Luwin sends Theon away and asks Osha why she was south of the Wall. She replies that there were things sleeping under the ice which are not sleeping any more. Luwin is skeptical of her claims.[2]

Osha goes to Winterfell's godswood to pray to the Old Gods of the Forest, and finds Bran there. She tells him that north of the Wall, the old gods are the only gods. She also says that Robb is leading his army in the wrong direction. The true enemy lay to the north, beyond the Wall, not the south. When Hodor passed by naked, Osha remarks he must have giants' blood in him, and tells Bran that giants - and worse - exist north of the Wall.[5]

Bran

Osha holds Bran as he is told of his father's death.

After Bran dreams that he saw his father Ned in the catacombs of Winterfell. Osha carries Bran into the tombs to check. Once inside, they are surprised by Shaggydog and find Rickon there too: having experienced the same dream as his elder brother. When they emerge from the tomb Luwin tells the boys that their father has been killed.[6]

Season 2

Osha continues to discuss Bran Stark's strange dreams with him. He denies having had any more but nevertheless insists on being taken to the pool in the Godswood. She correctly predictes that the Red Comet signifies the return of Dragons to the world, those of Daenerys Targaryen.[7] Bran tells Osha that he has dreamt of seeing a Three-Eyed Raven but she offers no explanation. He also confides that he has experienced a dream about the sea coming to Winterfell and drowning its residents, including Ser Rodrik Cassel. Ironically, Rodrik leaves Winterfell to relieve a siege of nearby Torrhen's Square by unknown forces.[8]

Osha and Theon 2x6

Osha attempts to convince Theon of her loyalty.

The siege was in reality a feint orchestrated by Theon Greyjoy to draw away Winterfell's defenders. Theon infiltrates and seizes the castle, forcing Bran to surrender and yield Winterfell to him. Later, Osha offers to fight for Theon but he refuses, suspecting treachery. Osha is also present with Bran and Rickon when Theon personally executes Ser Rodrik, in public. She then tells Bran that his dream has come true.

Osha kills

Osha kills Drennan.

Later that night, Osha seduces Theon, claiming that she wants her freedom. After he falls asleep, she escapes with Bran, Rickon, and Hodor, killing the guard Drennan as they make their exit.[9] They walk to a shepherd's farm in the Stark lands, considering approaching the farmer for shelter and food. Theon tracks them to the farm using hounds, but then loses their scent. He returns to Winterfell with the charred corpses of two boys, claiming they are Bran and Rickon. He makes no mention of Osha and Hodor.[10]
Osha sneaking

Luwin sees Osha smuggling bread down to the crypts.

The escapees actually doubled back, using a stream to mask their scent and were hiding under Theon's nose in the crypts of Winterfell. After Theon sister, Yara, arrives at Winterfell, Luwin spots Osha smuggling bread into the catacombs and follows her. She explains their escape and Luwin tells her that the bodies must be those of the orphan farmhands. She promises not to tell the boys, agreeing that they have suffered enough.[11]

Later, Roose Bolton's bastard son, Ramsay, launches a siege of Winterfell. Theon's men betrayed him in return for safe passage to the Iron Islands. However, Ramsay reneged on his promise and has them flayed alive. He then takes Theon prisoner, killing many of its inhabitants and destroying much of the castle.[12]

S02E10 - Bran Rickon Osha & Hodor

Osha leaves Winterfell with Bran, Hodor, Summer, Rickon and Shaggydog.

Since they were hiding under the catacombs, Osha, Bran, Rickon and Hodor manage to evade capture. Before leaving Winterfell for the north, Osha encounters a dying Luwin and uses a dagger upon his request to give him the "gift of mercy". Luwin instructes Osha to escort Bran and Rickon to the Wall so that they can find their half-brother, Jon Snow. Osha agrees and leaves Winterfell with Hodor, Bran, Rickon and their direwolves.[13]

Season 3

Meera S3 Osha

Meera holds a knife to Osha's throat.

Fleeing from Winterfell, Bran's group encounter Jojen and Meera Reed. Jojen approaches their camp unarmed but Osha sneaks up on him with a sharpened stake. However, she is surprised by Meera, who sneaks up behind her, and holds a knife to her throat. Bran insists that everyone calm down. Jojen claims that he received greensight visions which told him where to find Bran, and that he would need their help. The group continues to travel north to Castle Black, as Maester Luwin instructs, hopefully to find Jon Snow.[14]

Osha arguing to bran about meera

Osha argues with Meera.

Fueled by the long animosity of the Northerners and Free Folk towards each other, Osha and Meera get into an argument about which of them can skin a rabbit better, which turns to who is doing the hunting. Bran again tells them to make peace. Jojen then starts shaking violently in his sleep, and Meera holds down his tongue with a cord so he doesn't bite himself. She explains that the visions take their toll. Osha dislikes this, thinking it is black magic. On waking, Jojen says that he saw Jon Snow - and that he isn't at Castle Black, but on the north side of the Wall, and surrounded by enemies.[15]

Osha talking to bran and jojen

Osha confronts Jojen on his theories.

Osha's pent-up frustration comes to a head, and she says she doesn't want Jojen influencing Bran with black magic anymore. Bran explains that because Jojen's vision said Jon Snow isn't even at Castle Black, they shouldn't head there anymore. Instead, Bran and Jojen believe that the Three-Eyed Raven in his dreams is leading him Beyond the Wall, so they should head directly north to the structure, instead of turning to head to Castle Black. Bran says that he believes that maybe the gods meant for him to find the Three-Eyed Raven, meant for him to have these visions, and ultimately, his fall from the tower that crippled him happened for a reason.

Osha talking about bruni

Osha laments Bruni.

Osha is outraged and says she will never go back north of the Wall again. Osha then explains to them the reason she fled south of the Wall. She once had a husband named Bruni, a good man who loved her. One day he disappeared, and everyone said he'd simply left her, but she knew him better than that. One night he did return to their hut - as an undead wight, with skin pale as a dead man's and his eyes bluer than clear sky. Bruni began to choke her. Somehow she managed to get hold of a knife, and rammed it deep into his heart, but he didn't even seem to notice. Osha ultimately managed to get away by burning down their hut with Bruni inside it. She didn't ask the gods for that, she says, but their message was clear: north of the Wall is no place for living men to be anymore.[3]

The Gift Queenscrown

Osha arrives at Queenscrown.

Eventually, Osha and her masters reach The Gift, a region south of the Wall which was considered to be beyond the borders of the Seven Kingdoms. The Gift had been gifted to the Night's Watch thousands of years ago by Brandon the Builder, from which the Watch draws support for its material needs. While the region was fertile, it was uninhabited due to frequent wildling attacks which had forced the Smallfolk to migrate south over the centuries. Bran's discussion of this history and Rickon's remarks about wildlings drinking blood causes Osha some discomfort.

Osha trying to calm down hodor

Osha attempts to calm Hodor during a thunderstorm.

That evening, the party takes shelter at an abandoned mill to escape a thunderstorm. Later, the group observe a band of wildlings chasing down a lone Northman. During the ensuing incident, Bran used his abilities as a warg to possess Hodor, who becomes frightful of the storm, to which Osha attempts to calm him. Bran latter wargs into Summer and Shaggydog and fight off the wildlings. This party of wildlings included the boys' half-brother, Jon Snow, who earlier had been taken captive by the Free Folk. Using his warg abilities, Bran helps Snow to escape from his captors and return to the Night's Watch.[16]

Osha with rickon

Osha with Rickon before they leave.

Later that night, Bran arranges for Osha to bring Rickon to the holdfast of Greatjon Umber, the Lord of Last Hearth and the head of House Umber, as well as a loyal ally of the Starks. While Rickon is upset to be separated from his brother, Osha realizes this was for his own good and cooperates with the plan. This arrangement also suites Osha because she is unwilling to travel with Bran and company due to the threat posed by the White Walkers. During their journey to Greatjon Umber, Rickon and Osha are accompanied by the former’s direwolf Shaggydog. Meanwhile, Bran, Hodor, Jojen Reed, and Meera Reed head beyond the Wall.[16]

Season 6

Oathbreaker 21

Osha is brought before Ramsay Bolton.

Osha and Rickon are betrayed by the Umbers when the new Lord of Last Hearth, Smalljon Umber, wants to protect his lands from the wildlings that have been given safe passage through the Wall by Jon Snow. Lord Umber still makes it clear that he hates the Boltons and that he will not pledge allegiance to them. However, to gain Ramsay Bolton's support, he offers him Osha and Rickon Stark. At first, Ramsay does not wholly believe the boy to be truly Rickon. When the Smalljon presents him with the head of Rickon's direwolf, Shaggydog, Ramsay sarcastically welcomes Rickon home.[17]

Ramsay later has Osha brought to him, and asks her about her involvement with Rickon and House Stark. Osha pretends to have been a slave and says that she carried around Rickon to find a buyer for him. She also tries to seduce Ramsay, but it is only a ruse to get him distracted and kill him with the knife that is on the table next to him.

Osha killed season 6

Osha is killed by Ramsay Bolton.

As Osha lies on his lap, Ramsay reveals that Theon had told him how she helped the Stark boys escape. Osha rushes for the knife, but Ramsay takes another one out from his holster and stabs her in the neck. A surprised Osha falls to the floor and quickly bleeds to death while clutching her wound, as Ramsay cleans the blade and watches in amusement, returning to peeling and eating his apple with the knife he laid on the table before.[18]

Appearances

Season One appearances
Winter Is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood
Season Two appearances
The North Remembers The Night Lands What Is Dead May Never Die Garden of Bones The Ghost of Harrenhal
The Old Gods and the New A Man Without Honor The Prince of Winterfell Blackwater Valar Morghulis
Season Three appearances
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch Is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa
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

Image gallery

Quotes

"A red comet means one thing, boy. Dragons."
―Osha to Bran Stark[src]
"I tried telling your brother, he's marching the wrong way. All these swords, they should be going north, boy, not south. The cold winds are rising."
―Osha to Bran Stark[src]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Osha is a capable spearwife and raider who becomes a servant of the Starks at Winterfell. She is tall and lean with shaggy brown hair, and significantly older than how she is portrayed in the TV series.

There is mention that in the books Osha had any spouse/lover. She claims that she has a brother, who once killed a female giant.

In the novels, Osha never had sex with Theon. After he conquered Winterfell, she requested to serve him as fighter, and he agreed on condition that she bent her knee and swore an oath to him. Osha did as he demanded, but it was only pretense. There is no mentioning in the novels of any husband or other relatives of Osha. She is described as strong, being able to lift Bran with ease. She is also somewhat informal, dubbing Theon "that squiddy prince" behind his back. "Osha" is pronounced "oh-shuh", not "ah-shuh", "osh-uh", "ahsh-uh", etc.

Unlike the television series, Osha along with Rickon and Shaggydog part company with Bran and his companions much earlier at the end of A Clash of Kings. Maester Luwin suggests that they travel either to the White Harbor or Last Hearth, the seat of House Umber; who are loyal bannermen of the Starks.

In the novel A Dance of Dragons, Wyman Manderly reveals to Davos Seaworth that Osha, Rickon, and Shaggydog went to the island of Skagos off the east coast of the North - a semi-independent isle only nominally part of the North, considered to practically be wildlings themselves, feared as savage raiders and rumored cannibals. Wex, the only survivor of the ironborn who occupied Winterfell, followed them and then went to the White Harbor and told Lord Manderly. Lord Manderly, one of the Starks' loyal bannermen, seeking to avenge his son Wendel, offers to pledge his allegiance to King Stannis Baratheon if Davos brings Rickon back safely. Lord Manderly plans to overthrow the Boltons and install Rickon Stark as the new Warden of the North. They are only mentioned in passing, however, and it is unknown if they are still alive, though Davos intends to sail there to retrieve them.

Osha hasn't returned with Rickon Stark yet in the novels, and it is doubtful that she will be killed by Ramsay Bolton as she was in Season 6's "Book of the Stranger" - or at least, Rickon's capture is a condensation, so it seems unlikely she will die in this specific manner, though she might still die fighting Bolton forces. Osha's death scene does flow logically for the situation in the episode itself - as Ramsay says, Theon would have told him everything about the Stark boys' escape under torture, so he'd know that Osha was specifically trying to seduce him to kill him.

That being said, George R.R. Martin pointed out that even in Season 1, "Osha" in the TV series was very different from "Osha" in the novels (who is older, more stoic, and not as sarcastic). In fact, TV-Osha was one of the very rare cases in which Martin said that (from Season 1) he actually enjoyed the TV version better than the minor character Osha is in the novels - in no small part due to the strength of Natalia Tena's performance. This is why they gave her somewhat more screentime in Season 2; and why she was even brought back for Season 3 (in the novels, Osha leaves with Bran right after escaping Winterfell, but the TV version kept her around until they arrived at the Wall). Thus, while Osha's death may be an "invention" of the TV series, most of "TV-Osha" was itself an invention of the TV series - she wasn't this prominent of a character in the novels to begin with.

The TV series significantly condensed events surrounding Ramsay Bolton and his bride at Winterfell - who was not Sansa Stark in the novels but her childhood friend Jeyne Poole, being forced to pretend to be Arya. During the wedding feast, Bolton-occupied Winterfell was infiltrated by a rescue party from the Wall pretending to be a bard and his kin - who turned out to be none other than Mance Rayder and six wildling spearwives (warrior-women). Just as Melisandre can cast a magical glamor on her own appearance, she saved Mance from being burned at the stake by casting a glamor which switched his physical appearance with that of his lieutenant, Rattleshirt (and it was actually Rattleshirt who was burned). She spared Mance because he had snuck into Winterfell before and thus knew how to get in again. While they are inside, Mance and the spearwives surreptitiously kill several of Ramsay's underlings but in such as way as to frame the members of Northern Houses who have gathered for the feast (sowing more confusion, as they all have alibis). In the end, Mance and the spearwives make a rescue attempt, but it gets interrupted by Bolton guards, which causes Reek/Theon to finally snap out of Ramsay's control and rescue Jeyne/Fake Arya by leading her to jump off the castle walls (and land in a snow drift).

When Jon subsequently receives the taunting letter from Ramsay at the Wall, it claims that he flayed all of the spearwives alive and turned their skins into cloaks, while keeping Mance Rayder alive as a prisoner. The TV series in some ways moved this around so that Rickon himself is the prisoner, not Mance, and Osha - herself a spearwife - somewhat took on the role of the other spearwives from the novels: trying to infiltrate Winterfell in order to harm Ramsay, but ultimately getting killed in the attempt.

See also

References

v  d  e
Lord: Sansa Stark Heir: Arya Stark
House-Stark-Main-Shield
Seat: Winterfell Lands: The North
Title(s): King in the North · Lord of Winterfell

Under the Iron Throne: Lord Paramount of the North · Warden of the North

Ancestors:Brandon the Builder · Brandon the Breaker · Dorren Stark · Jon Stark · Rickard Stark · Rodrik Stark · Karlon Stark · Theon Stark · Osric Stark · Torrhen Stark · Cregan Stark · Brandon Snow
Current members:Bran the Broken · Jon Snow
Deceased members:Rickard Stark · Brandon Stark · Lyanna Stark · Eddard Stark · Robb Stark · Talisa Stark · Catelyn Stark · Rickon Stark · Benjen Stark
Household:{Maester Luwin} · {Ser Rodrik Cassel} · {Jory Cassel} · {Vayon Poole} · Jeyne Poole · {Septa Mordane} · {Old Nan} · {Hodor} · {Farlen} · {Mikken} · {Osha} · {Jojen Reed} · Maester Wolkan
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