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What Happened to Benjen Stark in A Song of Ice and Fire?
Benjen Stark Theories
Spoiler Alert: If you haven't read through A Dance With Dragons, the following article may contain some surprises for you.
It wasn't very far into A Game of Thrones that Benjen Stark (younger brother of Ned Stark, and chief Ranger of the Night's Watch) went out ranging and was never seen or heard from again. But what could have happened to him? This is one of the underlying mysteries that underlies the series and which has nagged at his nephew, Jon Snow.
Benjen Stark: Coldhands?
One of the more popular theories is that Benjen was Coldhands, the mysterious stranger who helped Bran make it to three-eyed crow.But this theory can easily be dismissed for two reasons:
- Bran should have recognized him. Granted, Coldhands kept his face covered (and there may have been a very important reason for that, which we will learn about later in the series), but Bran would still have recognized his own uncle's voice.
- Their stories don't match. More importantly, Coldhands tells us he was killed "long ago," which makes it unlikely he is Benjen. Of course, It is possible that he was not telling the exact truth to keep his true identity a secret, or perhaps time seems different for those who are Others, White Walkers, and the like. But still, it does not seem likely that Benjen andColdhands are the same person.
Is it possible that Benjen has died somewhere out in the wilderness, and no one has encountered his body? It's possible. After all, the bodies of two of his companions were found with their belongings. It is likely that Benjen would have still been alive at this point, as the bodies of these two Rangers appeared to have been laid to rest with some care, and someone who knew these men (and wanted to show them some respect after they died) would most likely have been the one to arrange their bodies and belongings this way. If nothing else, he was probably alive at this point, but is he still alive now? I think that it is likely.
Game of Thrones: House Stark
Benjen Stark: Alive, Dead, or Other?
It is true that Starks have a bit of a habit of getting killed. But they also have a habit of being important and of possessing abilities that others don't have (such as being wargs). So, it is more than possible that Benjen is still alive somewhere and he is preparing for some special purpose.
R'hllor and the Great Other: The Coming Battle
What if the series all comes down to a war between R'hllor and the Great Other? And what if these two deities need humans to act as surrogates for them in this fight? What if the reason that we haven't seen Benjen for all of this time is that he is being groomed to become the representative of the Great Other? Perhaps the Rangers that went along with him were tested by the Great Other, to find out if one of them might be an appropriate surrogate, but they died during the test.
Benjen and the White Walkers
If the starks have the ability to warg, the Great Other may find that a useful ability. Moreover, since R'hllor is trying to gain a foothold in Westeros, it would benefit the Great Other to find a surrogate who is from Westeros (and who has invested interest in making sure that the people of those lands are able to survive through the winter).
Being a part of the Night's Watch, and being the chief Ranger, he is not only able to put himself in danger to help others, he willingly does put himself in danger on a regular basis. As such, this may make him look more attractive to a powerful entity who wants to stop another powerful entity.
What do you think of my theory? Let me know in the comments!
What Do You Think?
What happened to Benjen Stark?
- Why Did Benjen Stark Join the Night's Watch?
Is there something more to his joining than we have been told so far? And could that reason have had something to do with keeping a secret about Jon Snow's true heritage?
- What is the Significance of R'hllor and the Great Other in A Song of Ice and Fire?
Minor gods in A Song of Ice and Fire may be far more important than any of the others for the future of Westeros.