Bella Ramsey’s Fiercest Moments in ‘Game of Thrones’
I am ready to pledge MY allegiance!
Back when Game of Thrones was still a good show, it had some of the most interesting characters on television—be they protagonists, antagonists, or anything in between. Then the whole circus fell into a black hole of despair after season 5, and most of these characters had to be forcibly fed a bunch of stupid pills to make the (even more) stupid story beats seem decent. At least a handful of them managed to escape this fate and remained truly excellent until the end—and Lyanna Mormont is definitely one of them.
When we are introduced to Lyanna Mormont—named, of course, after Lyanna Stark, Ned’s sister and Jon Snow’s true mother—she has just become the new Lady of Bear Island, a remote island in the Bay of Ice in the North. Lyanna’s succession happened after her mother, Maege Mormont—sister of Jeor Mormont, the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch when Jon joined its ranks—died after following Robb Stark south during the War of the Five Kings.
While her part in Game of Thrones was relatively small, it was memorable thanks in large part to Bella Ramsey’s performance. Young and fierce, Lyanna proved herself as much a Northerner as any of the other Lords and put them all in their place more often than not, becoming a fan favorite.
Now that Bella Ramsey has returned to our screens as Ellie in HBO’s The Last of Us—carrying us through a post-apocalyptic world where the Cordyceps fungus has turned most of the Earth’s population into zombies—it’s the perfect time to count down 10 of Lyanna’s best moments from Game of Thrones.
10. This discussion between Mormont cousins
As everyone in Winterfell prepares to face the White Walkers in the second episode of season 8, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” the two remaining Mormonts get a chance to meet and talk.
Jorah insists on Lyanna taking refuge in the Winterfell crypts with the rest of the women and children of the castle, but she remains adamant in her decision to fight first-hand in the upcoming battle. And since she outranks Jorah as the ruling Lady of Bear Island, she also leaves him no room to argue back.
It’s also a good way to remind us how they are related—they are first cousins, since Maege and Jeor Mormont were sister and brother.
9. When she pledged the forces of Bear Island to help the Starks take back Winterfell
Once Jon and Sansa meet again in season 6 and decide to fight to reclaim their home from the hands of everyone’s least favorite psycho, Ramsay Bolton, they have to raise the Stark bannermen—which the War of the Five Kings has left considerably depleted.
One of their stops is Bear Island, where we actually see Lyanna’s face for the first time as she hears the request for help that the two Stark siblings—cousins, actually, but by this point the secret of Jon’s parentage hasn’t come out yet—bring her.
In the end, Lyanna decides to pledge her fighting men to their cause. And even if the soldiers that remote island can gather amount to a little more than 60 men, they are proud. “Every man from Bear Island fights with the strength of 10 mainlanders,” as Lyanna herself puts it.
Ser Davos, who clearly has adoption papers ready to go in his bag, remarks, “if they are half as ferocious as their Lady, the Boltons are doomed.”
8. Shutting down Sansa …
Still, Lyanna takes some convincing. As the person responsible for Bear Island and the welfare of its people, she doesn’t send her soldiers into war lightly. In the conversation between her, Sansa, and Jon, she manages to shut down both of them to prove that she might be young but she’s just as resolute as anyone else.
When Sansa tries to flatter her by remembering how her namesake Lyanna Stark was considered a great beauty and how she’s sure that Lyanna will be one too, the Lady of Bear Island is quick to put a stop to it. “I doubt it. My mother wasn’t a great beauty or any other kind of beauty,” she snaps. “She was a great warrior, though.” And there’s no denying that Lyanna Mormont is exactly that.
7. … and then Jon, as well
Once Sansa’s compliment derails things, it’s Jon’s turn to try and approach the Lady Mormont, this time by talking about how he used to serve under her uncle at Castle Black and what an honorable man the late Jeor Mormont was.
Lyanna quickly shuts him down, too: “I think we’ve had enough small talk.” She knows that Jon and Sansa wouldn’t have made the trip to Bear Island if the situation wasn’t serious, and she has no time for an idle chat—Lyanna Mormont means business.
6. Her face during the confrontation before the Battle of the Bastards
When Jon, Sansa, and their allies come face to face with the Boltons ahead of the Battle of the Bastards, toward the end of season 6, Lyanna is there with the rest of the Stark commanders. They all listen as Ramsay Bolton assures them that he’s more than ready to forgive everyone for going against him and that he is indeed “a man of mercy.”
We know very well that might be the least appropriate term to describe one of the most unhinged people to ever walk across Westeros, and clearly, so does Lyanna Mormont. She might not have any lines in this scene, but her face alone is worth a thousand words and more.
5. Insisting that women should be trained for the Long Night just like men are
At the beginning of season 7, the newly elected King in the North discusses how everyone should start preparing for the impending arrival of the White Walkers. Jon suggests that all men, women, girls, and boys of the North should start training with weapons so that they can gather enough basic skills for when the Long Night finally descends upon them.
Some of the lords bristle at this; they don’t approve of women and girls getting their hands on spears and swords. Lady Lyanna, however, proudly stands up and declares that she is as much of a Northerner as everyone else and wants the chance to defend her home—and that the women of Bear Island will immediately get started with their training. That definitely shuts Lord Glover up.
4. Her message to Stannis Baratheon
The first time we ever hear Lyanna Mormont’s name is during season 5, when Stannis Baratheon meets with Jon Snow at Castle Black. Searching for allies, Stannis has dispatched ravens to all the major nobles of the North asking them to recognize him as the rightful king and send their fighting forces to join him.
Stannis shows Jon one of the replies he has received, coming from one Lady Lyanna Mormont of Bear Island. And that reply is iconic: “Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark” (a line straight from the books and also one of my favorites). A handful of words that really leave no doubts as to what kind of person the young Lady Mormont is.
3. Her disappointment with Jon once he returned North
When Jon returns North with Daenerys in season 8, he has already bent the knee to the Dragon Queen. And in the eyes of the Northern lords, that’s not really a brilliant move. Lyanna Mormont immediately calls him out on it, especially considering that she was the one who led the assembly that declared him King in the first place.
“It’s not important,” Jon tries to say, but Lyanna knows that it actually is. “Not important? We named you King in the North,” she replies. Even in the dumpster fire that was season 8, I’ve always found this line particularly meaningful, showing the deep bonds that run between the Northern houses. I mean, Lyanna was very much right—and I say this as the biggest Targ stan you’ll ever meet.
2. Her bravery during the Long Night
One of Lyanna Mormont’s best moments is of course one of her bravest, but also the most tragic on this entire list. It’s the entire Long Night sequence, in which she fights the White Walkers—and sadly doesn’t survive.
Not only does Lyanna choose not to hide in the crypts with the women and children of Winterfell, but she stays outside to fight the horde of White Walkers that descends upon the castle, and she faces off against a giant-turned-wight, full Attack on Titan-style. She also ends up killing that giant by stabbing it right through the eye, earning her own title of Giantslayer before succumbing to her wounds.
1. Being the first to show support during Jon’s election as King in the North
Even though her actions during the Long Night are incredibly brave and worthy of every song that will ever be composed in the Seven Kingdoms forever, I still think that Lyanna’s greatest moment is when she leads the Northern lords—fresh off their victory in the Battle of the Bastards—in electing Jon as King in the North.
It’s not the election, per se, that makes this moment so powerful; it’s the fact that, before she shows her support for Jon, she calls out every single one of the other Northern lords, from Lord Manderly to Lord Cerwyn. Lyanna reminds them that they all swore vows of allegiance to House Stark and yet deserted them when their liege lords needed them most. “The North remembers,” she proudly declares in a show of strength that will definitely give you goosebumps.
(featured image: HBO)
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