The Best Game of Thrones Theories That Are Probably True
At this point, it feels like the fans are the ones writing Game of Thrones. Nearly every major twist—Jon Snow's resurrection and his true identity as a Targaryen, Cersei's wildfire vengeance, the undead Mountain—has come to pass. It's either that the show's actual writers are picking up ideas from their fans, or that the millions who analyze and discuss every frame of Game of Thrones on the internet are bound to eventually get a few things right.
That's why you should never dismiss the Game of Thrones fan theories. Or alternately, if you're spoiler averse, you should avoid Game of Thrones fan theories because they're probably right. In either case, here are 10 more theories that could very well turn out to be true by the show's end.
What if Ned Stark isn't dead?
As we've learned fairly often, no one's ever completely dead in Game of Thrones. One popular theory claims that Ned Stark is actually alive, having been swapped out in the Red Keep when he and Jaqen H'ghar of the Faceless Men were imprisoned together. The actual details of this theory are a little convoluted and also involve Syrio Forel and don't really account for why Ned would have just abandoned his family to doom. But it's still compelling nonetheless, and could be possible if a writer on the show got a chance to make sense of it.
What if Bran Stark built The Wall and caused pretty much everything else?
Last season revealed that Bran Stark can not only see the past—he can manipulate it, too. There are a number of theories that consider the endless possibilities of his powers. Overall, they seem to connect Bran to every key moment in Westeros history. Bran already accidentally destroyed poor Hodor's mind by traveling to the past, and some speculate that he'll do the same thing to the Mad King Aerys Targaryen, who was known to "hear voices." To go back even further, it's been theorized that every person named Bran in Westerosi history is actually our Bran—meaning he actually built the wall.
Fans often point to this passage from George R.R. Martin's books:
"I could tell you the story about Brandon the Builder," Old Nan said. "That was always your favorite." Thousands and thousands of years ago, Brandon the Builder had raised Winterfell, and some said the Wall. Bran knew the story, but it had never been his favorite. Maybe one of the other Brandons had liked that story. Sometimes Nan would talk to him as if he were her Brandon, the baby she had nursed all those years ago, and sometimes she confused him with his uncle Brandon, who was killed by the Mad King before Bran was even born. She had lived so long, Mother had told him once, that all the Brandon Starks had become one person in her head.
What if the Cleganebowl finally goes down?
Fans have been waiting for this one for a long time, and it essentially concerns the biggest, baddest dudes on the show: brothers Sandor "The Hound" and Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane. This theory regained steam after it was revealed in Season Six that The Hound actually survived his battle with Brienne of Tarth. The Mountain was resurrected thanks to some fancy black magic from Qyburn, employed by Cersei, after his duel with Oberyn Martell. It's pretty clear that the Clegane siblings don't like each other, what with The Mountain being the one who burned The Hound and caused those facial scars.
What if Tyrion is a Targaryen and can control the dragons?
Now that we know Jon Snow is a Targaryen, the next surprise sibling will be none other than Tyrion. This comes from the popular A + J = T theory, which means Aerys plus Joanna equals Tyrion. The books detail the Mad King Aerys's obsession with Tywin Lannister's wife Joanna. According to the theory, Aerys impregnated Joanna, who died when giving birth to Tyrion (similarly, so did two other Targaryan siblings: Jon and Daenerys).
It would also explain Tywin's final words to Tyrion—"you're no son of mine"—along with his general disdain for his youngest son. This falls in line with the "Three-Headed Dragon Theory," which suggest that Daenerys's three dragons each need a Targaryen rider. And remember how chill Tyrion was with those little dragons?
What if Jaime kills Cersei as he did the Mad King?
It would be tragic, and beautiful, and satisfying all at once. Jaime must kill his sister/lover Cersei as she becomes the Mad Queen. When we last saw Cersei, she had blown up an entire Sept filled with very important people, took the crown, and sat on the Iron Throne. Jamie looked none too pleased about this!
Well, when Cersei was young, a seer named Maggy the Frog made the prophecy that Cersei would watch all her children die—only to be murdered herself. As the prophecy goes: "And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar [High Valyrian for 'little brother'] shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you." This would make for a rather bloody parallel to Jaime killing the Mad King during Robert's Rebellion.
What if Sam is the one telling this whole story?
Fans have noted that, in his final scene in Season Six, Samwell Tarly enters the Citadel's library in Oldtown where there's a gyroscope similar to the one in the Game of Thrones opening credits. Last summer, John Bradley—who plays Sam—noted that it could be his character who is narrating the story. "One theory is that what we're seeing now and how we're experiencing Game of Thrones is Sam telling the story of Game of Thrones," he said. "If you take the logic of the story now, the story of Westeros and the story of the battle for the Iron Throne, it would be a book in that library." This is kinda nice, because it gives Sam's otherwise dull storyline some purpose.
What if Arya assassinates Petyr Baelish and/or is dead?
Everyone's awaiting Arya's massive killing spree, in which she takes care of all of her enemies in a ruthless bloodbath. It would be total justice porn. In a recent Entertainment Weekly cover, Arya is pictured carrying not her famed sword Needle, but a Valyrian steel dagger owned by Littlefinger. The most logical reason for Arya getting this weapon would be that she takes it after killing him. There's another parallel theory that Arya was actually killed by the Waif (because, remember, we didn't see what happened in that room), and, by dying, truly became no one.
What if Gendry returns to forge Valyrian steel?
Not only are Valyrian steel swords badass, valuable, and rare—they're also key to destroying the White Walkers. Only two things can kill those creepy things from the north: Dragon Glass and Valyrian steel. Gendry, Robert Baratheon's only surviving child, paddled away in a little boat at the end of Season Three after being saved by Davos Seaworth. Reddit users have theorized that Sam will come across the formula to creating Valyrian steel in the Oldtown libraries and cross paths with Gendry to do the forging for him. This is a compelling theory, because when we first are introduced to Gendry, he's working as an apprentice in King's Landing for Tobho Mott, who is one of few armorers who knows how to rework Valyrian steel.
What if the legendary Azor Ahai is Jon Snow?
Throughout George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire is the legend of Azor Ahai, "a hero who fought against [the darkness] with a red sword" and "arose to give courage to the race of men and lead the virtuous into battle with his blazing sword Lightbringer." According to prophecy, "When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone." Melisandre has been holding out for the return of Azor, whom she believed was Stannis Baratheon. Since Stannis didn't work out all too well, it's likely that her new hero is Jon Snow, whom she helped resurrect last season.
What if Nymeria returns with a wolf pack army?
The real tragedy of Game of Thrones hasn't been the members of the Stark family dying one-by-one—it's the unnecessary slaughter of those poor wolves the family adopted. Like Daenerys's dragons, it seemed the direwolves would play an integral role in the war to come. But, sadly, they're all dead except for Jon Snow's Ghost and Arya's Nymeria, who hasn't been seen since Arya let her loose somewhere in the Riverlands in Season One. There's some compelling evidence from the set of Game of Thrones Season Seven, that wolf trainers have been on hand to work with "wolves described in the script as 'skinny and mangy,'" along with photos of a wolf that looks much like the one used to play Arya's Nymeria. This would fit nicely with the wolf pack roaming around the Riverlands that George R.R. Martin has long teased.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.