How I Met Your Mother Lannister Honeypot

There’s a pretty crazy fan theory going around about Robb Stark’s wife on Game of Thrones called “The Lannister Honeypot”. Since the HBO series is sufficiently different from the source material, the theory is plausible enough to be enticing.

But after watching an episode from the middle of this season’s How I Met Your Mother, I’m convinced “the Lannister Honeypot” is utterly bunk.

It’s been a pretty busy 2013, so I haven’t been keeping up on my “popcorn” TV. How I Met Your Mother is fun and good for a laugh, but it’s the kind of show I don’t queue up until I’ve blown through all my new episodes of Doctor Who, Community, Once Upon a Time, and — yes — Game of Thrones. With the regular TV season ending, I find I have more time for these other shows. What I saw absolutely appalled me, and gave me some clarity on where Game of Thrones probably isn’t heading.

(WARNING: How I Met Your Mother and Game of Thrones spoilers follow!)

(Okay, we good?)

(Good. Spoilers ahead.)

It was revealed last season on HIMYM that Robin is Barney’s bride “…a little ways down the road”, the wedding that is the crux of how this series will end in 2014. So all we need to do is to catch up to that moment, presumably with Barney’s proposal to Robin being a big moment for Season 8. And it was. And it filled me with rage.

It filled Robin with rage, too. Barney had a playbook of cons he would pull on women to get them into bed, decided to made a big production of burning that playbook to impress his “girlfriend” (not Robin), and finally presented his proposal to her as a 16-step “final chapter” in that book called “The Robin”.

It was presented as something sweet and sincere; Barney’s smirking, self-satisfied look rather than feeling cowed at Robin’s rage indicates that the audience was supposed to be on his side. But I was just as mad as Robin. Angrier, even. Her reaction was entirely justified, but when he actually pops the question, all that anger just melted away, and she said yes.


I realize this is a sitcom, and these characters are more cartoons than real people. Why else would Patrice agree to pretend to date Barney with the flimsy excuse that “I love Robin! I would do anything to make her happy!”? It’s not even that Patrice, well-established as being a few screwdrivers short of a toolbox, could think that this is a good idea or would even work. It’s not that the writers didn’t think out the implications for viewers who might actually be invested in the Barney/Patrice relationship for personal reasons, only to have Robin’s suspicions justified on the grounds of Patrice’s appearance, attitude, and her overbearing prejudice towards Patrice. It’s not even that one might expect Patrice to be a bit less unflappable when Robin showed up at Barney’s place in lingerie, or when Robin almost fired Patrice from her job in a jealous rage.

It’s that it’s just so ridiculous, and so many things had to go just right that were out of Barney’s control, that these sorts of things could only have worked in a popcorn comedy. (Despite my opinion that it shouldn’t have worked even then.)

Which is why I think the Lannister Honeypot theory about about Talisa’s true motivations and loyalties on Game of Thrones must be absolute bunk, because a pragmatic control freak like Tywin Lannister would never depend on it for success.

Full disclosure: I’ve read all the way up through A Dance With Dragons, the fifth in the Song of Ice and Fire series of novels by George R. R. Martin that serves as the basis for the HBO Game of Thrones TV series. (The current season largely follows the third book.) So I know that the show has decided to change a few details, not the least of which is the name, background, and motivations of Robb Stark’s wife. I also know that coming up this season is some pretty heavy stuff, and that Robb is right at the center of it.

Talisa declaring in the most recent episode (The Bear and the Maiden Fair, written not coincidentally by George R. R. Martin) that she is pregnant is another significant departure from the books that likely limits her story in two ways: she dies, or a fan theory about Jeyne Westerling (Robb’s wife from the books) and her secret pregnancy is true. The fact that George R. R. Martin is the one who wrote the episode could lend credence to the Jeyne theory, as any potential resolution to has not yet seen print.

But there’s also a third, even crazier theory that Talisa is actually a Lannister spy, and not from GuildfordVolantis after all. Supporting this idea are some facts: we know someone from within Robb’s camp is sending notes about his movements to Tywin Lannister, who has been unable to beat Robb on the battlefield. Is the spy Talisa? We have seen her writing letters to recipients unknown — the most recent being supposedly to her mother back in Volantis. Assuming she even has one!

While holed up in Harrenhal back in Season 2, Tywin declared that Robb will not fail “without our help”. What does that mean, exactly? Possibly that Robb’s marriage to Talisa explicitly broke his agreement with Walder Frey (back in Season 1) that Robb shall marry one of the old Lord’s daughters in exchange for crossing his bridge at the Twins to march on King’s Landing and save Eddard Stark from a nasty beheading. (That didn’t go so well.) And now we have an angry-ish Walder Frey demanding that Robb’s uncle be married to a Frey girl instead. Was Talisa sent to the war’s front lines in order to seduce Robb into breaking his vows?

Giving credence to this idea is some scant evidence in the Storm of Swords novel that Jeyne Westerling’s parents (who are Lannister bannermen), specifically her mother, put her up to the marriage with Robb in order to do just that. If true, making her counterpart Talisa an active spy instead of a clueless pawn isn’t much of a stretch.

However, the idea that this could ever possibly work is completely insane, as the Barney/Robin debacle informs us. It means that Tywin Lannister sent Talisa to the front lines hoping she’d catch Robb’s eye, successfully seduce him, and then… what, exactly? She claims she’s pregnant with his child, and an heir to the King in the North is definitely not in Tywin’s best interests — especially with Sansa Stark’s pending marriage to his son Tyrion. Or perhaps at this point, Talisa is no longer of use to him, and this pregnancy (if real) is of no consequence.

The trouble is, I want to believe this theory because it’s a crazy-huge betrayal potentially on par with the crazy-huge events that are about to go down at the end of this season. It’ll also be one that those of us who have read the books won’t see coming (unless we were paying attention), since we’re already convinced that we know everything that’s going to happen. Oh sure, there might be some minor variation here or other, but it’ll end up at the same point… right?

There is definitely a spy in the Stark camp, who will likely be revealed by the end of the season. Talisa might be another, but she’d be redundant. It’s more likely that she’s just a red herring until the real traitor is revealed. Regardless, the existence of such a possibility means I might actually be surprised for what comes next in Game of Thrones. That’s worth something at least.

See the entire Lannister Honeypot theory here:

What do you think? Leave your comments below!