TL;DR: Should Rickon Stark somehow come into power — be it in Winterfell, the Red Keep or somewhere else — he will be cruel and not very Stark-like.
This theory about Rickon Stark was initially presented on Reddit by SonOfJack541. As noted above, the short theory posits that if Rickon is ever to rise to a prominent leadership position, he would be a “terrible and possibly cruel.”
“The wolf was near as wild as Rickon…”
-A Game of Thrones, Bran VI.
If this theory is true — and Rickon does come into power — this would represent a “dark turn of event of the Starks, and quite possibly some gruesome revenge,” wrote the initial theorycrafter.
Why even think Rickon Stark could be cruel?
As early as the sixth chapter of the entire series, Rickon is described as “wild.” This is seen in the quote above. While it must be remembered that Rickon was only three years old in that scene, we must also remember that nothing in GRRM’s asoiaf series is unintentional.
Rickon wasn’t just “wild” — he was also relatively violent for such a young child. From the same scene:
“Rickon had slashed at them with a rusted iron sword he’d snatched from a dead king’s hand, and Shaggydog had come slavering out of the darkness like a green-eyed demon. The wolf was near as wild as Rickon; he’d bitten Gage on the arm and torn a chunk of flesh from Mikken’s thigh. It had taken Robb himself and Grey Wind to bring him to bay. Farlen had the black wolf chained up in the kennels now, and Rickon cried all the more for being without him.”
Rob and Grey Wind! That’s a powerful duo. We know the Starks have a close connection to their wolves, so it’s easy to surmise that Shaggydog’s strength and aggression is shared with Rickon, but perhaps Rickon is just too young (at this point in the series) to display it himself.
Rickon is going to Skagos with Osha
Last we saw Rickon, he was with Osha, a Wildling through and through. Some of her “Wildling ways” would likely rub off on Rickon — intentional or not — wrote the initial poster. This would only add to Rickon’s already-established “wild” personality.
And finally, Osha the Wildling is taking Rickon to Skagos, a place we don’t know too much about. It has only been mentioned 16 total times (directly by name) in the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series.
However, we do know a few things about it. For starter, Skagos meant “stone” in the Old Tongue, something we learned in A Feast for Crows, Samwell II. Inherently, that signifies toughness and roughness — two Wildling qualities. (But to be fair, those are Stark qualities as well.)
However, in the same Samwell chapter, we learn that Skaggs are not very Stark-like — at least that’s what the stories say:
“The Skagosi named themselves the stoneborn, but their fellow northmen called them Skaggs and liked them little. Only a hundred years ago Skagos had risen in rebellion. Their revolt had taken years to quell and claimed the life of the Lord of Winterfell and hundreds of his sworn swords. Some songs said the Skaggs were cannibals; supposedly their warriors ate the hearts and livers of the men they slew. In ancient days, the Skagosi had sailed to the nearby isle of Skane, seized its women, slaughtered its men, and ate them on a pebbled beach in a feast that lasted for a fortnight. Skane remained unpeopled to this day.”
That seems like quite the place for little Rickon to go grow up, especially since Rickon already has “no idea how to rule,” wrote SonOfJack541.
Rickon — The Demise Of The Starks?
So could Rickon Stark come back to rule and end up being a terrible ruler, all but ending the line of noble Starks? This theory requires quite a bit of imagination — Rickon is a minor character and we don’t know much about him or where he is going — but he is a character in a major house, so we shouldn’t simply assume he’s going to be minimally important throughout the entire series.