No matter whether you are die-hard book fan or just a casual show watcher, Game of Thrones season six is a big step. While George R.R. Martin casually takes his time with The Winds of Winter, the show has already surpassed the books in terms of storyline, making season six entirely new territory for everyone. However, it has long been known that Martin shared how A Song of Ice and Fire ends with the show runners, stating that they will both end the same, but will take different routes to get there. This has caused theorists to study each episode, creating new theories and adapting old ones to fit what might happen next. That being said, they have come up with some theories that are truly out there, but the evidence behind them is nothing short of convincing.
If you are not currently up to date with A Dance with Dragons or Game of Thrones season six, you may not want to read too deeply below. Maybe just skim the headlines and not look too much into the reasoning behind it. Though at this point, the internet has probably thoroughly spoiled you.
Tyrion the Targaryen
Think Jon Snow’s parentage is the only thing that theorists focus on? No, they also love to talk about Tyrion too. According to one theory, Tyrion is actually the product of a forced union between his mother Joanna and Aerys Targaryen, the Mad King. While never touched upon in the show, the books make note of the Mad King finding Johanna very attractive on several occasions. First was the snide remark about it being a shame that he could not claim his bedding rights on the night of her wedding, then came the incident in which the Mad King’s wife dismissed her ladies-in-waiting, including Joanna because of some “indiscretions” with the king, and finally came his remarks after the birth of Jamie and Cersei asking if nursing had affected her breasts.
Although Joanna spent most of her time away from the capital even though Tywin was Hand of the King, the timeline lines up. Joanna attended an anniversary tourney to celebrate Aerys’ 10th year on the throne and less than a year later she died giving birth to Tyrion.
Theorists support this by stating that Tyrion was initially described with light blonde hair, not unlike a Targaryen, mixed color eyes suggesting two different blood lines, and the final line in the show before Tyrion shoots Tywin where his father says that he is no son of his.
In the show we also witness Tyrion not getting horribly lit on fire by the dragons while freeing them. Something that, in the books, totally does happen to Quentin Martell in the same situation. It is likely that they see something kindred in him, or perhaps it is in the blood.
Alternatively, the proof may have no merit at all. Tywin and Joanna were first cousins, and these sort of birth defects can happen when that closely related.
One increasingly popular theory referred to under the name “Cleganebowl” states that both Gregor and Sandor (The Hound) are alive (ish) and are fated to fight each other one last time. While the show hasn’t been beating around the bush that Ser Robert Strong is indeed at least in some part Gregor Clegane, in both the books and the show, they were never clear that either of the Clegane brothers actually died. Arya left The Hound bleeding out and Gregor, well, he’s still around, clearly.
The key proof to this theory comes in the books. In A Feast for Crows, Brienne of Tarth passed through an area called The Quiet Isle where she notices not only The Hound’s horse, who is near uncontrollable without his master, but also a large man working as a gravedigger who kept himself hooded. It is believed that the Faithful on The Quiet Isle saved The Hound and he now works there with them.
As Cersei has chosen zombie Gregor to be her champion to prove her innocence, theorists believe that the new High Sparrow will reach out to his outposts to find worthy fighter, to find Sandor Clegane, bringing him back to fight his brother.
Joffery's Head on The Mountain's Body
What? Too crazy? Well too bad, it could be true! After The Mountain died and Cersei gave Qyburn the okay to do whatever he needed to do, Qyburn was in need of a head. The skull of Gregor Clegane needed to be sent to Dorne to assure their loyalty. While it could have been any man’s head, the Dornish do comment on how very large it was.
One theory suggests that Qyburn did indeed send the skull and got his much-needed head from another source –Joffery. He had been laid to rest in the Great Sept, so while it would have been hard to get to his body, it was not impossible. However, the biggest proof comes from Ser Robert Strong’s appearance in the show. His eyes are not the dark browns of Gregor, but rather a piercing blue, not unlike Cersei’s children. To further support this, his eyes are blood shot and his skin is an odd color of purple-ish blue, the same traits that Joffery had when he was poisoned.
The fact that he keeps his helmet on and wears a scarf to cover what could be a head stitched onto a new body raised suspicions further. However, such a small head on such a big body seems a bit odd, but helmets can make your face look a bit fat.
Coldhands is Benjen Stark
While fans of the TV show have absolutely no idea who Coldhands is, book fans have been furiously trying to figure him out. Initially when Bran Stark was travelling beyond The Wall to find the Three-Eyed Raven, he was helped by a man named Coldhands who rode an elk and was pretty obviously dead. As he didn’t breathe and had hands black as coal, Coldhands essentially seems like a wight that has kept his cognitive faculties.
This is why most people believe that he is the long-lost Benjen Stark. Benjen went missing beyond The Wall and is very likely dead, but the question is, did he stay that way? Coldhands is described as wearing the blacks of the Night’s Watch and refers to Samwell Tarly as “brother” at one point. It is also worth noting that Coldhands refuses to reveal his face, so there’s no chance of Bran Stark being able to recognize his own uncle.
It is unclear if he will make an appearance in the show, but it has been made clear that Bran will leave the cave eventually. Perhaps Coldhands will be there to guide him then.
Jaime/Tyrion/Tommen is the Valonqar
Just when is Cersei going to get what’s coming to her? Well, pretty soon, actually. When Cersei was a kid, she forced a witch to tell her a number of prophecies about her future. Among them was that her three children will die before her and that she will be strangled by the “valonqar,” the High Valyrian word for Little Brother.
As all the other prophecies are rapidly coming true, Cersei grew increasingly suspicious of Tyrion. This is why she cannot just let him escape, he is a literal threat to her because he is her little brother. However, the term can also be used to describe Jaime, the younger of the two twins.
Unfortunately, the prophecy specifically says that the Little Brother will wrap his hands around her pale throat. With only one hand, this could be pretty hard for Jaime. However, while Jaime seems particularly supportive of his sister in the show, in the books he is more aloof, ignoring her pleas for help when imprisoned and deeply disturbed after Tyrion told him she was sleeping around. Her infidelity has not been particularly conveyed to Jaime in the show yet, which could be building up to an explosive moment later.
Alternatively, the clue to the Little Brother may have been in the way it was said. Maggie the Frog did not appear to be particularly educated, so using the High Valyrian version of the word seems to be a clue. Tyrion speaks some High Valyrian, and he is hanging out with a Targaryan, the blood of Old Valyria.
Yet, one more theory says that Tommen may kill his mother. Maggie the Frog did say “the Valonqar” not “your Valonqar”. With Tommen as her youngest, and last, son, he could very well do it. Unfortunately, the prophecy said he would die before his mother, but if Buffy the Vampire Slayer taught us anything, it is that prophecies are made to be broken.
Hodor is the Great Other
There are a lot of theories surrounding Hodor concerning everything to his parentage to why he only says ‘Hodor,’ which we know is not his name. Some believe he is actually part Frey due to his name, Walder (changed to Wylis in the show) being a common Frey name. Others believe he was the descendant of Ser Duncan the Tall after a tryst had with Old Nan when Duncan and Aegon V (the Mad King’s father) visited Winterfell. However, many believe that he is or was touched by the Great Other.
In a Voldemort situation, it is said that the Great Other’s name must not be said. So it could actually be Hodor. To support this theory, many reference Norse Mythology which could have inspired George R.R. Martin. In the mythology Hodr/Hodur/Hoder was the God of Winter. The Great Other sits opposite to the Lord of Light by being the God of all things dark. Some also believe that he is trying to say R’hllor, the name of the Lord of Light, perhaps because he had an experience with him or the Great Other at some point.
Alternatively, after a recent episode in the show that shows Hodor as the sweet, bumbling, and more eloquent Wylis, a stable boy, and interacting with Lyanna Stark, another theory suggests that he warged into her horse at some point to help her. However, in a situation similar to the wildling Six Skins in the books, he stayed in too long and suffered some brain damage, perhaps taking on more horse-like traits. He does carry Bran in a saddle and is afraid of thunder. It’s ridiculous, or is it?
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The Great Northern Conspiracy
While most fan theories are rather basic, focusing on one or a small handful of characters, there are some surprisingly lengthy and in-depth theories out there that focus on larger groups in Westeros. One such theory is The Great Northern Conspiracy. Essentially, this theory states that Robb’s previously loyal bannermen are manipulating both Bolton and Stannis into destroying each other so they can swoop in and put an actual Stark on the throne instead of a puppet.
But which Stark?
It is mentioned briefly that before the Red Wedding, Robb wanted to legitimize his bastard brother Jon Snow and make him the heir of the North, but it is never mentioned what became of that. As the theory goes, it suggests that Robb did make some of his most loyal bannermen sign a document dealing with his heir. Of course, one would have expected Bolton to be privileged to this information as well, but Roose was away fighting for a good part of Robb’s reign, making it believable that only Wyman Manderly, Greatjon Umber, Galbart Glover, and Maege Mormont would have been available to witness it.
In the books, Manderly has already been shown to be rebellious to the Freys, and thus the Boltons. However, a recent moment in season six of the show has given this theory new hope. In the show, Smalljon Umber gives Ramsey Bolton, new Warden of the North, a gift of Rickon Stark and his wildling protector. In the books, Rickon is supposedly in Skagos and Manderly even suspects as much. Regardless, in the show, Smalljon provides Shaggydog’s severed head as proof that it is indeed Rickon, but fans believe the head is much too small to be Rickon’s direwolf, coming its size to Grey Wind’s at the Red Wedding. However, presenting the head does make sure that Smalljon doesn’t have to kneel, so he won’t be breaking any oaths if he does something a little untoward.
While bringing Rickon into the hands of Ramsey is a risky play indeed, it could be the beginning of the end for The Great Northern Conspiracy. However, it stands to reason that no matter how crazy and cruel Ramsey Bolton is, he is also one of the easiest people to manipulate. With Rickon back and Jon Snow ending his stint in the Night’s Watch to presumably head home, things are about to get interesting.
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