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Top Ten Craziest Game of Thrones Theories--UPDATED!!!

Updated on August 28, 2015

In honor of the latest season of Game of Thrones ready to debut, I thought it would be fun to examine some of the crazy fan theories surrounding the show and the books.

Now obviously I have to say SPOILERS exist for both the show and the books. So if you haven’t read the books or the show… well I don’t know why you clicked on this story, but anyways...

10. Who is Coldhands?

Benjen Stark. Not Coldhands.
Benjen Stark. Not Coldhands.

When you’re traveling through the wastelands of the North above the Wall, it’s essential to have a good guide, especially if that guide is an undead creature who rides a reindeer. So when Bran and company find a tunnel under the Wall, the are lucky to meet Coldhands who leads them further North to meet the mysterious Three-Eyed Raven who will teach Bran the ways of the Force. But who is Coldhands?

Well he dresses in black and he calls Sam “brother,” so it is assumed he was once a member of the Night’s Watch. But which one? Early speculation led some to believe that he was none other than Benjen Stark, younger brother of Ned and uncle to the Stark kids, who has gone missing. The wrinkle in this theory is that when Bran and company meet Leaf, a child of the forest, she says that Coldhands was killed a long time ago. This rules out not only Benjen Stark but also the Night’s Watch Men who were killed in the very first pages of the book, since those events had only happened a few years prior. Also, George R.R. Martin has already stated that Coldhands is not Benjen.

The answer may lie in the Dunk and Egg stories. When Egg becomes king he sends his bastard uncle Bryden Rivers, known by the charming name Lord Bloodraven to the Wall accompanied by many of his followers. And while Bloodraven is not Coldhands, since he is most likely the Three-Eyed Raven, perhaps one of the men who were loyal to him is. We know it’s neither Dunk nor Egg since both of them died in the fire at Summerhall.

9. Jojen is paste

Good, and good for you too.
Good, and good for you too.

One of the big differences so far between the book and the show is that in the show, Jojen Reed is killed by the Harryhousenesque skeletons before the rest of his group escapes into the cave. In the books, Jojen is still alive, or so we are meant to think he is.

In Bran’s final chapter in A Dance with Dragons he is given a bowl of weirwood paste in order to awaken his mojo. It works too, he sees all sorts of visions.

However that may not have been weirwood paste that Bran was eating, or at least not all of it. You see, Jojen is a greenseer, meaning that he has visions. So there is a theory was that Jojen was killed and his blood mixed into the weirwood paste in order to give Bran the same abilities. After Bran eats the paste, he is upset that Jojen and his sister are not there.

Of course this could be disproven as soon as the next book comes out (whenever that will be) and we find Johen hale and hearty (for him, at least).

8. The Gravedigger

The Hound and Arya ordering some chicken
The Hound and Arya ordering some chicken

When last we saw Sandor “The Hound” Clegane he was dying of a wound and begged Arya Stark to mercy kill him, but Arya refused, leaving him to die a long painful death. Or so we are meant to believe.

Later, when Brienne and Poderick visit the monastery on the Quiet Isle, they see a man digging graves. Fans believe this man is the Hound. The Elder Brother acknowledges that the black horse they see in the stables is the Hound’s horse Stranger. The Elder Bother states that he spoke briefly with the Hound before he died and buried him afterwards, but the Elder Brother also describes how he himself came to the Quiet Isle and states that he “died” on the Trident, signifying that he changed his life. He may be describing a similar path for Sandor, as well as protecting his anonymity, letting the rest of the world think that he is dead.

The physical description of the man matches that of the Hound: his face is covered, preventing anyone from seeing his scars and he is recovering from similar wounds. He even pets a dog.

7. The Knight of the Laughing Tree

The Knight of the Flowers at the Tourney of the Hand
The Knight of the Flowers at the Tourney of the Hand

The Tourney at Harrenhal is one of the biggest events to not be in the books. A lot of things happened: Jamie is made a member of the Kingsguard and Prince Rhaegar crowns Lyanna Stark the Queen of Love and Beauty, which essentially started the whole Rebellion. One of the events was a mystery knight entering the contest.

The story is told by Meera Reed to Bran Stark who has never heard the story before. In the story, a crannogman, most likely Howland Reed, is bullied by a group of squires. He is defended by Lyanna Stark who introduces him to her brothers Brandon, Eddard and Benjen. Later a mystery knight enters the tournament and defeats the three knights whose squires had bullied. The knight disappeared and even though Prince Rhaegar searched for him, he was nowhere to be found. The knight’s identity was never revealed.

It could have been Howland Reed in borrowed armor from the Stark, which he would later recount to his own children. It could have been one of the Stark boys as well.

Or it could have been Lyanna herself. She would not want to have been discovered as a woman in the joust and it had been well established that she was a very good rider. It was also Rhaegar who went to find her, and this is where they may have met. More on those two later…

6. Loras is Not Yet Dead

Look at that hair. Seriously, look at that hair.
Look at that hair. Seriously, look at that hair.

Loras Tyrell has always struck me as pretty but dumb, or pretty dumb, whichever. He volunteers to lead the siege on Dragonstone and while they were successful it didn’t turn out so well for Loras. One thousand men died and Loras was seriously injured and is at death’s door.

However all this information is given to Cersei by Aurane Waters, a man who immediately abandons her when things go south. His version of events may be all made up, and we don't hear another point of view. It’s possible that the Siege on Dragonstone ended rather well or didn’t happen at all. Loras and those thousand soldiers may be in hiding, waiting for a time to strike at the Lannisters or to rescue Margaery from her trial if things go bad. Stannis left only a skeleton crew on Dragonstone and they couldn’t have inflicted as much damage as Waters says.

5. Snake in the Citadel

The Sand Snakes, minus Alleras
The Sand Snakes, minus Alleras

One of Oberyn’s illegitimate daughters Sarella Sand is not present with the rest of her sisters when we first meet them. We have also met a young man studying at the citadel named Alleras. They are believed to be one and the same person.

When the Sand Snakes are being detained, Doran Martell tells Areo Hotah to leave Sarella where she is to “leave her to her game.” Alleras is described as a slight boy with slim shoulders.

Also Alleras is Sarella spelled backwards.

4. Balon is Murdered

Balon Greyjoy, father of the year.
Balon Greyjoy, father of the year.

Although it hasn’t happened in the show yet, Balon Greyjoy dies when he fell from a bridge. Most fans think he was murdered.

The very next day, Balon’s brother Euron sails in town when he had no business being there as he was banished. It was if he knew his brother was going to die. The Ghost of High Heart saw Balon’s murderer in a vision: a man without a face. The Faceless Men are assassins and they are not cheap, especially killing a king. Euron said that he once owned a dragon’s egg that he threw overboard in a bad mood. That dragon egg may have instead been used as payment for Balon’s murder.

Speaking of Faceless Men…

3. Syrio is Jaqen

A man may not be dead.
A man may not be dead.

Jaqen H’ghar has the ability to change his face, which he does after helping Arya Stark. When a man can change his face he’s an easy candidate for speculation.

Syrio Forel was Arya’s fencing master and when the Lannister guards came for her, Syrio held them off while she fled. While he is presumed dead, we never saw the body. This leads some to believe that Syrio was captured and sent to the Black Cells where he changed his face to that of Jaqen. When Yoren is given criminals from the Black Cells for the Night’s Watch, Syrio/Jaqen goes with them.

As tempting as it is to think Syrio survived, I think this is wishful thinking, hoping that a character we all liked really didn’t die.

However, when Jaqen changed his face, the description matches that of the alchemist who kills a Citadel novice named Pate. Later Samwell Tarly meets a very much alive Pate.

2. Tyrion Targaryen

Tyrion. A secret Targaryen?
Tyrion. A secret Targaryen?

When Ser Barristan Selmy is telling Daenerys about her father the mad king, he implies that Aerys II lusted after Joanna Lannister, the wife of Tywin. The king joked that the first night tradition (you know where the king gets to sleep with the bride before the groom does) was banned, and he also apparently took liberties during the bedding rituals where the men at the wedding disrobe the bride.

It is entirely possible that one or all of Tywin’s children may actually have been fathered by Aerys, either consensual or not. Jamie and Cersei could easily be mistaken for Targaryens, who also practiced incest, which would make Tyrion Tywin’s only legitimate son, which was hinted at by their Aunt Genna, although she meant it in character not biologically.

There is some logic to the opposite being true in that Tyrion is Aerys’ son. If Tyrion is a secret Targaryen, then he may be one of the three heads of the dragon that was foretold. The second would be Daenerys, but who would the third one be?

1. R + L = J

Even when he gets a new puppy, Jon still looks dour.
Even when he gets a new puppy, Jon still looks dour.

This is the big one. The biggest mystery of the series is who is the identity of Jon Snow’s mother. There are several candidates: Ashara Dayne, Wylla, the fisherman’s daughter. All those candidates depend on Jon Snow’s father to be Eddard Stark, which he has been led to believe, but what if he wasn’t?

Jon Snow is believed to be the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Robert’s Rebellion started when Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna, leading her father and brother to demand her return. That led to the Mad King killing them, sparking the war. But what if she went with him willing? That they were star-crossed lovers? It was mentioned that Lyanna didn’t really like Robert Baratheon, knowing about his bastard daughter Mya Stone. Rhaegar’s wife was infertile and he wanted another child to fulfill the prophecy of the dragon with three heads.

So Rhaegar married her, since other kings had more than one wife, and they conceived Jon. He hid her away in the Tower of Joy (note the name, a place where you would take your beloved) and had to leave to join the fight. He died on the Trident, killed by Robert. After the sack of King’s Landing, Ned traveled to Dorne to find her. They found the Tower guarded by three members of the Kingsguard, protecting the tower rather than fighting with Rhaegar or protecting the King. In the fight that followed only Ned and Howland Reed survived. They arrived too late. Lyanna was dying and she made Ned swear a promise to her. Since Ned’s death, Howland Reed is the only living person who knows what that promise is.

Ned may have sworn to protect her newborn child from Robert. Considering what they did to Rhaegar’s other children, this was for the best. Ned claimed the son as his own bastard and told no one, not even his wife to protect the child from his friend.

So Jon Snow is not Ned’s bastard. Jon may not even be a bastard if Rhaegar wed Lyanna, and he would have a stronger claim to the throne than Daenerys, as a son of a male heir comes before a daughter. If this is true, Jon is the true heir of Westeros.


The both have black curly hair
The both have black curly hair

There's a new theory in town, and it has to deal with our top theory. R + L = J. It has been suggested that Rhaegar and Lyanna had twins: one boy and one girl. The boy went with Ned and became Jon Snow. But what about the girl? Howland Reed was there. The theory is that he took the girl and raised her as his own: Meera Reed. They're the same age in the books. It's a long shot, but it's possible!


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