It’s that time of year again. As Game of Thrones winds down its sixth season, fans will spend the ensuing months speculating about what comes next. While most of us don’t have access to the braintrust of George R. R. Martin, we’ll gladly keep guessing until the cows come home.
After all, the internet is the home of R+L=J. There are thousands more mind-blowing Game of Thrones theories in circulation. Some make perfect sense, others not so much (like those suggesting Varys is a mermaid). With this list, we consolidated the wackiest fan theories to help keep you from getting stuck in the Game of Thrones rabbit hole. Containing both well-researched theories and knee-jerk reactions, these fifteen fan predictions run the gamut from the intriguing to the truly idiotic.
Please grab your tinfoil hats and take a seat. You’ve been warned. These theories are completely insane.
Here are Screen Rant’s 15 Craziest Game of Thrones Fan Theories:
15. Jorah Mormont Becomes Azor Ahai
High fantasy can’t get very far without a prophecy (see Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc). In the Essos-based faith of R’hllor, the Lord of Light prophecy calls for the return of Azor Ahai who defeated the White Walkers 8,000 years ago. This legendary hero saved the seven kingdoms through forging his menacing sword, Lightbringer. Despite spending thirty days perfecting the blade, it shattered when tempered in water. After another fifty days of work, it broke yet again when he used it to capture and kill a lion. Knowing what must be done, Azor Ahai plunged it through the breast of his wife (“whom [he loved] best of all in this world“), Nissa Nissa, uniting her heart with the steel to create an unbreakable combination. As the prophesy states, the second coming of Azor Ahai will fulfill all of these actions.
How does that apply to Ser Jorah Mormont? Let’s add up the facts: Jorah captured a lion (Tyrion Lannister, who’s Lannister sigil is leonine), he was “reborn amidst salt and smoke” (as the prophesy states) by traveling from Slaver’s Bay to Westeros through The Smoking Sea. Near that peculiar body of water rests the Valyrian sword Brightroar, drowned in the Valyrian Sea. How will Jorah obtain said mega weapon? Remember that Daenerys promised him “a longsword like none the world has ever seen.” And what will he do with this weapon, given he has no wife? Barring their nuptial ceremony, Jorah most definitely has a wife, at least in his head. He loves Daenerys beyond all reason, perhaps “best of all in this world.” That’s why George R. R. Martin will allow Jorah to stab Daenerys through the heart so he can forge Lightbringer yet again and use it to save Westeros.
As the prophesy states and the growing fan-based theory predicts, Jorah Mormont will kill his beloved to forge the sword needed to become Azor Ahai and crush the White Walkers. Jorah will then become the 1,000th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.
14. Jon Snow Will Ride an Ice Dragon
When Old Nan first appeared on screen in the first season of Game of Thrones, many fans shrugged her off as a kooky old lady who needed a refresher course in telling happy bedtime stories to Bran. As we’ve learned over the years, however, many of the far fetched tales of Old Nan have become true: the Children of the Forest, the return of the White Walkers, and more. What else can we expect to see from these grim fairytales? Above all, massive spiders and ice dragons, particularly one ridden by Jon Snow.
How did we get here? Consider the now famous R+L=J theory that posits Jon Snow carries Targaryen blood and is the son of Lyanna Stark, not Eddard. Jon therefore carries a mixture of Fire and Ice in his veins. Next, know that George R. R. Martin published a book called The Ice Dragon in which the eponymous creature dies and becomes a frozen ice pond “always cold to the touch.” Curiously, the Godswood pond at Winterfell receives the same description when Catelyn Stark visits her husband. Given the plethora of references to ice dragons in ASoIaF, specifying their over-watch in the Shivering Sea and the White Waste, many fans speculate that they will return during the coming Armageddon.
Perhaps the ice dragon lives in the Winterfell Godswood pond, or maybe it’s frozen in The Wall. Either way, as winter and the White Walkers descend on Westeros, expect ice dragons to emerge as the counterbalance to Daenerys’ firebreathers. Just as she rides Drogon, expect the Ice Dragon to have Jon Snow on board.
13. Ned Stark Warged Into Ilyn Payne
The first stage of grief truly is denial.Since the moment it happened, Game of Thrones fans refused to believe Ned Stark was really dead. Theories and rumors of his potential survival flooded the Internet. The few seconds of a helpless Ned scanning the horizon and then whispering sweet nothings was enough to convince Eddard enthusiasts that some dark magic had occurred and taken us for fools.
Which brings us to the rabid theory that Ned Stark, father of several warging semi-pro children, warged himself into the mute executioner, Ilyn Payne. Before you rage quit this article, consider the facts: Ilyn Payne appears to be a simpleton with a sword, like Hodor with a particularly violent job. As Bran easily did to the bumbling giant, Ned could have quickly taken possession of Ilyn’s person just before his beheading. Next, recall the scene at the Battle of the Blackwater where Cersei has Ilyn stand guard in Maegor’s Holdfast. With Sansa trapped in the room, Ilyn looks at her with an unrelenting gaze, yet when the Stark daughter attempts to leave, he offers no resistance. Why? Because Ilyn Payne has Ned Stark inside, that’s why.
At least we can hope. However far fetched this theory may be, it’s more tolerable than reality.
12. The White Walkers Are Good
When the true history of the Children of the Forest was finally revealed, our conception of the White Walkers irreversibly change. No longer a mindlessly evil group of emaciated and frozen warriors north of The Wall, the White Walkers became a somewhat tragic creation. It all started with a First Man (who presumably became the Night King, more on this later) taking a dragonglass blade to the heart. This ancient magic turned the man’s eyes blue and retrofitted his life purpose to defend the Children of the Forest from other invading forces of the First Men.
That is not a story that makes us despise the White Walkers. Rather, it kind of endears us to them in an unexpected way. After all, the only reason we have viewed them as the ultimate enemy is because every Westerosi character that’s aware of their existence tells us to. Sure, they turn little boys into blue-eyed icicle-babies and they command an army of the dead, but we only see them as villains because they’ve never had a chance to say otherwise. And remember, the White Walkers have let more than a few characters survive their wrath. Just ask Sam Tarly. As Season 7 approaches, expect to get the rug pulled out from under you as GRRM inverts the genre and makes you pity the White Walkers. Think it can’t be done? Just remember the way you used to feel about Jaime Lannister.
11. Roose Bolton is a Vampire
All great fantasies must have at least a bit of vampire in them, right? In Game of Thrones, as the theory states, the resident bloodsucker is none other than Roose Bolton. Here are the facts: the man loves to flay people so much that an inverted, skinless body has become the House Bolton sigil. “Um, that’s just a fairly normal, albeit perverted character trait in a world of deranged characters,” you retort. You would be irreproachably right if it weren’t for the fact that Roose (hypothetically) uses these removed skins to shapeshift through time and history. Using a technique only slightly more complicated than those employed by the Faceless Men, Roose cures the skin of his corpses and lives on without end. Finally, consider his description in ASOIAF where his devilishly frozen features appear utterly dead, “Only his eyes moved; they were very pale, the color of ice.”
10. The Night King is a Stark
Let’s summon Old Nan back to the witness stand. Here, she describes the erstwhile leader of the White Walkers to young Bran: “‘He was a Stark, the brother of the man who brought him down.” She always pinched Bran on the nose then, he would never forget it. ‘He was a Stark of Winterfell.'” As Nan affirms, all record of the Night King’s existence was destroyed and stricken from the history books. Perhaps this was done to defend the reputation of his family. After all, who would want to call the Night King grandpa? It’s best to just burn that chapter altogether.
Here’s where it gets interesting. In the series, the connection between the leader of the White Walkers and the Starks really resonates. It starts with the Night King’s fixation on Jon Snow at Hardhome. Just look at the way he gazes at him. Then, there are habits and sayings that further link the ice zombies to Stark lineage. The Lannisters always pays their debts (how confident), but the Starks won’t stop repeating, “Winter is coming.” While every other House motto was a boast, the Stark’s words are foreboding to their very core.
Finally, who is it that literally touches Bran during his ill fated episode of greenseeing? The Night King, who hunts Bran down with the full strength of his undead army. These heated interactions with the Stark boys strongly indicate a familial connection to the Night King.
9. The High Sparrow is Howland Reed
Despite the stories Ned Stark may have told his children, he would have died at the hand of Ser Arthur Dayne were it not for Howland Reed. The father of Meera and Jojen saved Ned’s life, but as many fans have speculated, that well-timed back stabbing wasn’t the end of Howland Reed’s involvement in protecting the Starks.
Here’s how the tinfoil theory goes: Howland Reed played the long con and infiltrated the Faith of the Seven, working his way up to the High Septon so he could ultimately dominate King’s Landing. Why would Howland possibly leave the north to go spend time with the religious ascetics? Because he despises the Lannisters and wants to exact revenge for the execution of Ned and destruction of the Stark family. Some fans go further and compare literary references to Meera, Jojen and the High Sparrow, all of whom are described as “reed” like in appearance. Still, the overall speculation is compelling considering we have no knowledge of the High Sparrow’s true identity or background (except what he’s told us), and Howland Reed has been a man of mystery since the first time we heard his name.
8. Bran Stark Built The Wall
When names repeat themselves in Game of Thrones, pay attention. While it may be an ancestral tradition for the Starks to name many of their sons Bran, strong evidence implies that only one has existed across time and space. As season 6 has made abundantly clear, Bran Stark’s training with the Three Eyed Raven made him one of the most powerful characters in Westeros. Unbound by the present moment, Bran can trigger past events for future results as he did with poor Hodor, and began to achieve this when he called out for his father at The Tower of Joy.
That’s why, as this immense time-travel theory implies, Bran Stark the greenseer is Bran the Builder who helped construct The Wall. The seeds of this crackpot concept started back with Old Nan, the loony narrator who ended up being right in just about every way. Here is the passage depicting the various Brandons in House Stark as told to her recently immobilized grandson:
“Sometimes, Nan would talk to [Bran] 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.”
Coincidence? By George R. R. Martin’s beard, there’s no such thing in Game of Thrones. This piece of potential foreshadowing may have laid the groundwork for Bran’s ultimate role as the great puppeteer of Westeros, showing that time is indeed a flat circle in GRRM’s fantasy world.
7. Arya Is Actually Dead
If this theory holds true, it may be the cruelest reveal in all of Game of Thrones. Let’s start with a question: after years of watching Arya unsuccessfully spar with the Waif, why did we not get to watch their final battle? Rather than much-anticipated swordplay with Arya’s well-hidden Needle, the fight ends with the mere flickering of a candle. Moments later, we see a blood trail in the Hall of Faces and a curious Jaqen H’ghar following it. Arya declares herself a daughter of House Stark, but as this theory goes, that’s actually the Waif wearing Arya’s face.
This would help absolve a major plot hole and brutally convenient deus ex machina. After getting stabbed three times in the gut, Arya seeks refuge with Lady Crane who helps nurse her wounds. Of course, the militant Waif found and butchered the actress, then chased Arya through the city streets of Braavos. During this manhunt, Arya’s sensitive wounds burst open again as she fell from great heights and rolled down rocky stairs. How then, after all of this suffering, could Arya have possibly killed the Waif then returned to the House of Black and White in seemingly perfect health? She didn’t, because the Waif killed her.
6. Jaime Will Kill Cersei
Season 5 of Game of Thrones began with a prophesy: that Cersei Lannister would indeed become queen until a younger and prettier woman took her place. The fortune teller confirmed that Cersei would have three children, though each of them would be given golden crowns, “gold as shrouds.” With Tommen now the last alive, the prophecy appears bulletproof thus far. His time is surely limited.
In ASoIaF, this divination is referred to as the Valonqar Prophesy, as delivered by Maggy the Frog. In the books, her predictions go one step further than illustrated in the show, however. “Valonqar” is High Valyrian for “little brother,” and as Maggy has foretold, Cersei’s little brother “shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” Given their well-documented dissension, Tyrion might be thought of as the Valonqar in question, but a stronger theory remains: the Kingslayer will repeat his famous act of regicide by killing his beloved sister. Though he is her twin, Jaime was born after Cersei and is rightfully considered her younger brother. As she works with Qyburn to incinerate the High Sparrow with wildfire, Cersei will become a shadow of the Mad King, driving her brother to save King’s Landing as he did years prior.
5. Bran Is the Lord of Light
Religion plays a massive role in the history, characters and future of Game of Thrones. Though there are many across the Seven Kingdoms, most of the religions are bound to particular regions (The Lord of Light exists predominantly in Essos, the worship of the Old Gods in Westeros, etc). Given Bran Stark’s growing power and the possibility that time is circular in Game of Thrones, the greenseeing boy could actually be the god of all of these religions. Indeed, as the Three-Eyed Raven once decreed, “the past is written, the ink is dry.”
The fact remains: even the most devout acolytes of any religion in Game of Thrones have their doubts, as Melisandre has shown time and time again. Despite their attempts at confidence, no one really knows who is receiving their prayers and sacrifices. This begs the question: could the Lord of Light, the Old Gods and the New Gods all be represented in the seemingly limitless power of Bran Stark? Just as countless characters vie for the Iron Throne, only one will win. So, too, will the religious forces surely be consolidated to one solitary source: Bran Stark.
4. Cersei Will Murder Tommen
Cersei has stood by her children even when they acted like absolute fools (Joffrey, we’re looking at you). She is the ultimate Tiger Mother, and though she loves her offspring, she remains amongst the most likely candidates to forcibly remove Tommen from the Iron Throne. Whether she kills him with her own hands or watches Ser Robert Strong (Zombie Mountain) do his thing, Tommen has slowly turned his back on his mother and built a chasm between them.
The boy King has become a mouthpiece for the High Sparrow. He is no longer a Baratheon King, but a pawn of the Faith of the Seven who practically condemns Cersei to die by banishing her right to trial by combat. During his decree, Tommen hardly glances in his mother’s general direction and allows her to be shuffled over to the wings with the other ladies of the court. All of this contributes to the fact that Tommen seriously has it coming to him. He would be wise to enjoy his time with Queen Margaery.
3. The Secret Targaryens
As Daenerys readies her assault on Westeros, her three dragons have grown equally ready to unleash fiery hell. While Drogon is her vehicle of choice, the question must be asked: who will ride the other two? If R + L = J holds true and Jon Snow does not end up on an ice dragon, then we can assume he will be the second rider. As for the third, tinfoil nation suggests it will be Tyrion Lannister to round out the triumvirate.
First off, dragons are the only thing Tyrion loves as much as boozing and womanizing. That says a lot. What’s more, we recently witnessed Daenerys’ dragons reject the opportunity to feast on Tyrion when he entered their dungeon. While that is a substantial hint that the dwarf may carry Targaryen blood and could be the offspring of the Mad King Aerys, stronger evidence recalls earlier scenes with Tywin Lannister who heatedly denied Tyrion as his son. Though Tywin admitted, “I cannot prove that you are not mine,” Aerys had a reputation for lusting after Tywin’s young wife, Joanna, and even taking “unwonted liberties” around her on their wedding night.
2. Bran Warged the Mad King Aerys
As the power of Bran becomes more palpable, we are forced to review events we once took as gospel. Since Game of Thrones began, we knew of the Mad King and his desire to “burn them all,” and we assumed Aerys was a pyromaniac leader who had completely lost his marbles. Jaime Lannister essentially said as much to Brienne of Tarth. That would be an unquestioned truth had we not witnessed the warging influence of Bran on Hodor, whose invading mind essentially turned the half-giant into a bumbling simpleton.
In the episode following “The Door,” we watched Bran’s visions of the Mad King who repeats a similarly short, three-word phrase, “burn them all!” Curiously, it is repeated with the same urgency that the young Hodor heartbreakingly uttered, “hold the door!” If Bran showed visions of the White Walkers to Aerys, perhaps the Mad King meant to scorch them and not King’s Landing. Therefore, the Mad King might have only earned his reputation because Bran gave it to him.
1. It’s Already Happened
Old Nan’s song has already been sung. Imagine that the events in Game of Thrones have already happened and are simply being recounted as history. While the show won’t end on quite the same note as The Wizard of Oz, expect an equally groundbreaking twist. To hearken back to that other HBO show where philosophizing about existence dominated the narrative, time is a flat circle. Throughout ASoIaF and Game of Thrones, we are reminded of The Long Night and the first arrival of the White Walkers. History is clearly repeating itself, but to what degree?
Indeed, Bran is the link to the past, present and future of Game of Thrones. Should those quiet scenes be revisited where he laid prone and listened to Old Nan’s vivid stories, we may very well discover that the timeline of events have all been told from Bran’s perspective. Time is flat, and we will have completed the circle. When adolescent Bran appears in the same reality as young Bran, Bran the Builder, or any other incarnation of himself (as happened in that other well known McConaughey time-travel story) we will have truly been warged by George R. R. Martin. Or haven’t we already?
And therein, as The Bard would tell us, lies the rub.
What’s the craziest Game of Thrones theory you’ve heard? Tell us in the comments section!