- "Your father was a cunt, and that's why you killed him. I might have done the same to my father if he had not done me the favor of dying on his own."
- ―Smalljon Umber to Ramsay Bolton
Smalljon Umber is the eldest son and heir of Greatjon Umber. Smalljon became a father to Ned Umber, supposedly named after Lord Eddard Stark, his former liege lord. After his father's death, he becomes the new Lord of Last Hearth and head of House Umber. During the War of the Five Kings, Smalljon took in and ultimately imprisoned Rickon Stark and his guardian Osha when they arrived at Last Hearth.
Although he dislikes House Bolton, he sides with Ramsay Bolton to drive out the thousands of wildlings that Jon Snow allowed to pass through the Wall, since they have frequently harassed Last Hearth in the past.
Smalljon Umber travels to Winterfell to treat with Ramsay, requesting aid to fight the wildlings that have been let into the North by Jon. Ramsay questions his motives since the Umbers are famously loyal to House Stark, but Smalljon counters that House Karstark has Stark blood, yet Harald Karstark is Ramsay's new lieutenant. Smalljon calls Ramsay's father a cunt; when Ramsay attempts to praise Roose, he interrupts him, again calling him a cunt and correctly accuses Ramsay of murdering him, despite Ramsay's persistent claim that Roose was poisoned by his enemies.
Smalljon reveals that Jon has let a wildling army south of the Wall, which is bad news for the Umbers, as Last Hearth is further north than any other castle, and it is always the Umbers who are forced to fight the wildlings first. Smalljon freely admits that he enjoys the task, but this time, there are too many wildlings. Smalljon requests Ramsay's help, unaware that Jon actually let the wildlings through the Wall merely to keep them from falling into the hands of the coming White Walkers. Smalljon refuses to swear fealty to Ramsay, or even kneel. Instead, he presents Ramsay with the captives Osha and Rickon Stark. When Ramsay asks Smalljon for proof of the boy's identity, he provides the severed head of Rickon's direwolf, Shaggydog.
Smalljon, Ramsay, and Harald attend a parley with Jon, Sansa, Davos, and Tormund offering terms for surrender. When Sansa asks for proof that Ramsay has Rickon, Smalljon tosses Shaggydog's head onto the ground, visibly angering Jon and Sansa. He and his soldiers later take part in the Battle of the Bastards, where he watches as Ramsay leads a leashed Rickon onto the battlefield and cajoles the frightened boy to run before murdering him with an arrow. Smalljon leads the Bolton spearmen who form a wall around the Stark army. After the Stark army is surrounded by the spearmen, Smalljon climbs the wall of bodies to fight in the circle, beginning by slaying an injured wildling who was attempting to escape. He fights his way to Jon, but is swept away by the crowd before they can fight.
He then comes face to face with Tormund, who he beats into submission with his fists and his own head, despite becoming trapped and crushed within the Stark army. Before he can finish Tormund, he is momentarily distracted by the arrival of the knights of the Vale, giving Tormund enough time to bite into his neck, tear out part of his throat and sever his carotid artery, causing massive bleeding. Tormund subsequently stabs Smalljon to death, and his body is presumably burned after the battle on Jon's orders to prevent him returning as a wight.
Smalljon is succeeded by his son Ned. At a council of Northern lords and their allies, Jon, having been declared King in the North, refuses to allow the son to be punished for the sins of the father, and confirms Ned in his titles as Lord of Last Hearth.
At first glance, the Smalljon seems violent, loud, and arrogant. In reality, however, he is cold and cunning, capable of unspeakable cruelty, capable of manipulating other Northern lords to do his bidding. He also harbors a deep hatred for the wildlings, which is shown to be his weakness as he misjudged their martial valor, ultimately leading to his brutal death during the Battle of the Bastards. He also seems to have an unpleasant relationship with his father, as he said that he would have killed him if he didn't die on his own.
- Ramsay Bolton: "When my father became Warden of the North, your house refused to pledge their banners."
- Smalljon Umber: "Your father was a cunt."
- Ramsay Bolton: "My beloved father, the Warden..."
- Smalljon Umber: "Your father was a cunt, and that's why you killed him. I might have done the same to my father if he had not done me the favor of dying on his own."
- — Smalljon Umber accurately accuses Ramsay of killing his own father, Roose Bolton.[src]
- Ramsay Bolton: "Why have you come to Winterfell, Lord Umber?"
- Smalljon Umber: "The bastard Jon Snow led an army of wildlings past the Wall. We're farther north than any of you fuckers. Wildlings come down, we always have to fight them first. I like fighting wildlings. Been doing it all my life. But there are too many of them for us to beat back alone."
- Ramsay Bolton: "So now you've come seeking help?"
- Smalljon Umber: "We need to help each other. The colder it gets, the farther south those goat fuckers will roam. Won't take them long to get here."
- — Smalljon explains his reason for treating with Ramsay.[src]
- Ramsay Bolton: "Swear loyalty to me as Warden of the North and we will fight together to destroy the bastard and all his wildling friends."
- Smalljon Umber: "I'm not kissing your fucking hand."
- Ramsay Bolton: "Traditionally a bannerman kneels before his lord."
- Smalljon Umber: "I'm not doing that either."
- — Smalljon refuses to bend the knee to Ramsay.[src]
- Ramsay Bolton: "Why would I trust a man who won't honor tradition?"
- Smalljon Umber: "Your father honored tradition. Knelt for Robb Stark. Called him King of the North. Was Robb Stark right to trust your father?"
- Ramsay Bolton: "Then it appears we're at a bit of an impasse."
- Smalljon Umber: "Fuck kneeling and fuck oaths. I've got a gift for you."
- — Smalljon forges an alliance with Ramsay by giving him Rickon Stark as a hostage.[src]
|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|
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Jon Umber is portrayed in a significantly more positive light than his television counterpart. He is nicknamed "Smalljon" for the sake of differentiating him from his father Greatjon Umber. However, "Smalljon" is nicknamed to denote his younger age, not a reference to his size. He is in fact almost as large as his father and is noted to still be growing and may even end up larger than his father. There is no mentioning of any animosity between the father and the son.
In sharp contrast to the show, in the books Smalljon is fiercely loyal to the Starks.
In the books, the Smalljon is killed by Bolton men while defending Robb Stark at the Red Wedding. Due to Robb's bannermen trusting the holy bond of guest right that Walder Frey had promised, Smalljon is left unarmed at the wedding feast tables. Unlike his father, he does not drink, because he has been assigned as one of Robb's bodyguards that night. As the massacre begins, Smalljon does his best to protect Robb: he wrestles a table off its trestles and uses it to shield him, then bludgeons Ser Raymund Frey across the face with a leg of mutton. He tries to run for his swordbelt at the end of the hall, but is hit halfway through by one of the crossbowmen in the balcony who had been disguised as musicians. Smalljon falls to his knees and is beheaded by a Bolton soldier.
There is no mentioning in the novels that Smalljon had any offsprings.
Condensation for the TV series
Given that Smalljon wasn't introduced at the time of the Red Wedding, he was presented as alive in the TV continuity. Greatjon Umber does have other surviving sons in the novels, however, though they haven't been named, so the TV series apparently simply condensed them together. Also in the novels, after the Red Wedding, the surviving leaders of the surviving Umber forces (which consist of the elderly and the green boys) at Last Hearth are Greatjon's uncles, Mors "Crowfood" Umber and Hother "Whoresbane" Umber, who have to deal with the new Bolton rule of the North: the former, who deeply hates wildlings ever since his only daughter was kidnapped by one, joins Stannis; the latter reluctantly joins the Boltons, since his nephew is held captive, but he is by no means loyal to them. They may have also been condensed into Smalljon.
In the novels, Greatjon was taken alive as a prisoner during the Red Wedding, because as the head of one of the major noble Houses from the North, he was a valuable hostage, and he remains a prisoner at the Twins. In the TV series, Greatjon didn't appear after Season 1 due to the actor being unavailable (it isn't clear why they didn't simply recast the role, given that Greatjon wouldn't appear after Season 3 anyway). Writer Bryan Cogman, however, has remarked via Twitter that Greatjon wasn't at the Red Wedding because he was off commanding other armies in the Riverlands, and he remained free and uncaptured in the TV continuity. However, he was confirmed to be deceased in Season 6, meaning that he died sometime after the events of the third season.
|Lord:||None, extinct||Heir:||None, extinct|
|Seat:||Last Hearth||Lands:||The North|
|Title(s):||Lord of Last Hearth|
|Ancestors:||Daragh Umber · Morag Umber · Cleos Umber · Hothor Umber · Amarylis Umber · Harkon Umber · Mycah Umber · Lucan Umber · Gareth Umber · Joseth Umber · Regan Umber · Corin Umber · Brandon Umber · Kear Umber · Finn Umber · Emilia Umber · Morgana Umber · Maynard Umber · Cedric Umber · Iain Umber (I) · Iain Umber (II) · Benya Umber · Tulip Umber · Caren Umber|
|Deceased members:||Greatjon Umber · Smalljon Umber · Ned Umber|