Game of Thrones (GoT) has always been shrouded in secrecy, but some fans already know how it ends. George R.R. Martin admitted that he has met devotees who accurately predicted the ending. Still, when a story has as many moving parts and dynamic elements as A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF), sheer probability states that someone will make the right guess eventually. Only a few people know how GoT will end, but everyone has a guess, prediction, or theory. ASOIAF debuted at a time when the Internet was revolutionizing fandom. Martin’s world-building practically begged fans to obsess over details, and his leisurely writing pace has provided ample time to develop incredibly complex theories. While some of these are plausible or bonkers, some are both.
Here, we dive into the fan theories that actually came true and the ones that still might. This list mainly focuses on the TV show, but these theories are obviously also featured in the books. In some cases, a fan theory is true for the TV show but not for the books (at least not yet). As season eight approaches, the world is overrun with GoT theories. While this list can’t possibly include them all, we went with those that were both likely and fascinating. Like GoT itself, these theories are sprawling, heart-breaking, and suspenseful all at the same time. We don’t know who will end up on the Iron Throne, but some of these theories are clues and some of them are red herrings. Basically, all of them have grave implications for Westeros. Here is Game Of Thrones: 15 Fan Theories That Were Confirmed (And 16 That Still Could Be).
31 Could Be: Dany Becomes the Villain
Daenerys might be the villain. One Redditor argues that Dany is already a villain from the perspective of Westeros because she’s the daughter of an ousted ruler conquering Westeros with foreign armies. Her advisors are also dishonored Westeros elite.
Beyond politics, some think she will become wicked. These theories point to her ancestry and past thirst for gore. Her father famously went insane, and the Targaryen lineage is riddled with madness. She has also displayed a violent streak, which Tyrion has tried to dull. In other words, her moral inclination as ruler is up for grabs, and the final season could see her going to the dark side.
30 Confirmed: There Be Ice Dragons
Theories about ice dragons in GoT have been around for a while, but they really heated with season seven. Their existence was confirmed in the penultimate episode when the Night King resurrected Viserion as the dragon equivalent of a White Walker.
That moment proved the ice dragon theory correct, but not in the way that every fan thought. One theory predicted that the ice dragon hailed from Winterfell and that Jon would ride it. This seems unlikely now, but other theories were more in line with what happened on the show.
29 Could Be: The White Walkers Win
GoT is no stranger to unhappy endings, and this is what many fans predict for season eight. Theories include the Night King taking the throne, and while they vary, most of them spell doom for the show’s characters. A more hopeful, but anticlimactic theory from a Reddit user says that the characters will flee to Essos where Dany will rule.
However, some theories are more complex. Another Redditor predicts that Dany will wound Jon with dragonglass, allowing him to become the new Night King and lead the White Walkers back beyond the wall.
28 Confirmed: The Resurrection of Jon Snow
This is one of the most famous fan theories of all time, and also one of the easiest to predict; the Night Watch mutiny against Jon and stab him lifeless. Both the books and show used this moment as a cliffhanger, and in the run up to season six, practically everyone was teeming with theories.
On one hand, Jon’s resurrection was inevitable. Both the books and the show were clearly setting him up to be a hero, but at the same time, this is GoT, and no one was supposed to be off limits. Of course, Jon does return. Like the character, fans breathed a sigh of relief.
27 Could Be: Jaime is the Prince that was Promised
Most guesses about Azor Ahai (a.k.a the Prince That Was Promised) involve Dany or Jon, although every name from Bran to Tyrion has been bandied about. Of all the outside Azor Ahai theories, the case for Jaime Lannister has caught on the most.
In depth write-ups by Mashable and blogger Dorian the Historian, parts of the theory suggest that Jaime could be Targaryen or one head of the increasingly unlikely three-headed dragon theory. His golden hand might be symbolic of Lightbringer (Azor Ahai’s famous sword), and his journey has been one of redemption and growth, priming him for time in the spotlight.
26 Confirmed: Benjen is Coldhands
This is one fan theory that is true for the show, but not for the books. In the books, Coldhands is a mysterious figure beyond the Wall who has occasionally helped some characters. He is thought to be part wight, and the books make it clear that he hasn’t been truly alive for years.
Fans wagered that Coldhands could be Benjen Stark, who disappears early in the story beyond the Wall. Martin has denied this clearly and strongly, but the show has used Benjen as a stand-in, even giving him parts of Coldhands’ origin story.
25 Could Be: The Cleganebowl
Business Insider declared it the moment “fans have been waiting years to see.” They were talking about the face off between brothers Gregor “the Mountain” and Sandor “the Hound.” This has come to be known as the Cleganebowl.
When Arya left the Hound to pass, many thought it wasn’t going to happen, but the Hound’s re-emergence revitalized hopes. The two finally were face-to-face in the season seven finale where the Hound more or less confirmed that he wants a fight. Because it hasn’t happened yet, we can’t say that it’s confirmed, but it’s one of the most plausible theories on this list.
24 Confirmed: The Freys Make Humble Pie
Arya gets her revenge on the Freys at the end of season six, in part by feeding Walder Frey pies made of his sons. This was a surprising moment that readers didn’t expect. In the book, Arya doesn’t take revenge on the Freys; instead, Wyman Manderly, a minor character loyal to the Starks, offers the Frey clan pies of questionable contents.
The contents of Manderly’s pies went unsaid in the books and became a point of mystery for some readers. Arya’s actions in the show, as well as comments by Martin, have given fans closure.
23 Could Be: Tyrion is Targaryen
This theory is controversial because it’s equally plausible and unlikely. The theory states that Tyrion’s father is actually the Mad King, given that he and Joanna Lannister lived at the same time and knew each other. Bustle compiled a list of clues throughout the show.
This feeds into another theory that Tyrion will also ride a dragon as per the three-headed dragon prophecy. Since Viserion became an ice dragon, many have abandoned this theory; however, the possibility of Tyrion the Targaryen lives on. No mention of Tyrion theories would be complete without acknowledging the very complex, but unlikely D+D=T theory.
22 Confirmed: Jorah Finds a Cure
Jorah’s journey on GoT has put him in some tight spots, but when he contracted greyscale, it seemed like his time was fast approaching. Of course, some fans knew better. As Esquire reported, there was a small detail that made fans believe that Jorah would find a cure.
When Sam is studying at the citadel, a book he’s reading on dragonglass talks about its curative properties. Only eagle-eyed fans who paused the show at the right time figured this out (HBO later posted a screenshot online). Not long after, Sam effectively cured Jorah of the disease.
21 Could Be: Jon and Dany Are Siblings
Some people were grossed out when Jon and Dany got together because they’re aunt and nephew, but one theory posits that they are brother and sister.
As Digital Spy explains, the books have left clues that Dany might’ve been born in Dorne. This means that she might have another child of Rhaegar and Lyanna. Martin also said that there is “a bit of a Luke Skywalker situation” concerning Jon’s parents, but many fans hope that he’s just referring to R+L=J. Otherwise, there’s a chance that GoT features not one, but two royal sibling love encounters.
20 Confirmed: Jon and Dany Get Together
This is both fan theory and fan shipping. There had long been murmurs that Jon Snow and the Daenerys Targaryen would meet each other, but by season seven, lots of people were guessing that they’d do more than meet.
These guesses would turn out to be correct, as shown in a pivotal moment at the end of the season. However, fans didn’t expect for that tender, long-awaited moment to be intercut with the revelation that the two are family. Because this is GoT, even the tender moments have to be uncomfortable.
19 Could Be: Bran is the Builder
Bran is thought to be named after Bran the Builder, his ancestor that built the Wall. Since Bran can time travel, it’s possible that he is that Bran. This is the gist of one theory.
Fans now speculate that various events in ASOIAF could’ve been influenced by Bran. Paste's write-up suggests that Bran was the one who turned Aerys II into the Mad King. He might've been at Ned's execution and he could even be the prince that was promised, but the most persistent theory is that Bran and his namesake are one and the same, which means that Bran is the first Stark and the one who built the Wall.
18 Confirmed: Arya Becomes a Faceless Man
The SFFWorld forums are a treasure trove of prescient GoT predictions, and one of them was that Arya would train as an assassin with the Faceless Men. Various users predicted that Arya would take up the sword and become a skilled fighter.
The text and the first season of the show have enough foreshadowing to make that obvious enough, but a decade before the show premiered, some readers had predicted her traveling to the free cities and training under the tutelage of Jaqen H'ghar. When Arya finally began her training on the show, it was an exciting moment, but it wasn’t surprising for dedicated fans.
17 Could Be: Tyrion Betrays Dany
Daenerys has been betrayed multiple times on GoT, and some fans are convinced that there’s another big betrayal on the horizon, this time by Tyrion. Many fans were alerted by Tyrion’s look and behavior while Dany and Jon got it on. So convinced are some that Ranker has compiled all the potential clues for this twist. This twist would be heart-breaking and demoralizing, and because this is GoT, very plausible.
Some think his motivation is to save what’s left of his house, while others think it’s out of jealousy over Dany’s heart. This could be a fake out akin to Arya and Sansa’s troubles in season seven, but for now, Tyrion fans are worried.
16 Confirmed: Robb Had to Go
The demise of Robb Stark was one of the most surprising moments in TV history. Readers of the third book, A Storm of Swords, had already dealt with the event, but some fans knew that Robb Stark was doomed before that.
A Reddit thread compiling all fan theories made before the second book, A Clash of Kings, proved that some readers predicted that Robb wouldn’t survive by 1999. Some readers also figured out that Joffrey wouldn’t survive as well. While these theories didn’t predict the violent weddings that preceded Robb and Joffrey’s demises, they still hit the nail on the head very early into the proceedings.
15 Could Be: The Valonqar Prophecy
There are many plausible theories about Cersei. One of them, that she becomes the Mad Queen, has more or less come true. This leads to the prophecy Maggy the Frog told Cersei when she was young. Given that the prophecy has mostly come true, fans anticipate that Jaime will stop her just as he did the Mad King. This fulfills the prophecy that Cersei will meet her demise because of her valonqar, or little brother.
However, there’s another theory that Cersei will pass during childbirth. This would be poetic justice because her dislike of Tyrion stemmed from a similar event with their mother. Assuming that Jaime is the father, her child is her son and little brother.
14 Confirmed: The Mountain Is...
For years, readers wondered if the mysterious and imposing Ser Robert Strong was indeed the Mountain. There were enough clues that it seemed more than likely, but the events on the show essentially confirmed it.
The Mountain was believed to have passed after being poisoned by Oberyn Martell, although the show made it quite clear that Qyburn had plans for him. Following Cersei’s walk of shame, a zombie-like armored knight emerged ready to do Cersei’s bidding, and since then, the show has acknowledged that this is the reanimated Gregor Clegane. This puts to rest an old fan theory, now if they’d just tell us whose head is under that helmet...
13 Could Be: Other Forces Are Manipulating the War
Scheming has always been a part of GoT, but some schemers are still in the shadows. Some fans think that shadowy forces are manipulating conflicts in Westeros. One theory says that the Maesters have a conspiracy against Dany, and as Gamesradar explains, the Maesters want to eliminate magic from the world and let knowledge govern; hence, they oppose Dany and her dragons. This explains why Sam had so many obstacles in Oldtown.
Another theory, summarized here, says that the Iron Bank will betray Cersei, which is based on the scene where Cersei repays the Lannister debt to the bank. This frees the bank to back another house. As many noted, it’s ironic that the Lannisters might be undone by paying their debts.
12 Confirmed: Littlefinger Meets the Big Hand
Petyr Baelish (a.k.a Littlefinger) was one of GoT’s most colorful characters. No matter how fans may have felt about him, it was hard to deny he was compelling to watch. Naturally, theories emerged about if, when, and how he’d meet his maker.
Reddit user Fire_away_Fire_away predicted that season seven would be his undoing, and that Sansa Stark would be the one to do it. While this wasn’t entirely accurate — Littlefinger was predicted to depart via the moon door — it was Sansa who outwitted and doomed Littlefinger, even if it was Arya who carried out the sentence.
11 Could Be: Love for Brienne of Tarth
This is as much fan shipping as it is fan theory, but many GoT viewers are clamoring for Tormund and Brienne of Tarth to get together. Tormund’s unrequited interest has been a source of levity for a show that isn’t known for it.
The chances of a Brienne/Tormund relationship look pretty grim, though. Gwendoline Christie (who plays Brienne) dismissed it, rightfully pointing out that Brienne isn’t into it. There is a theory, however, that she and Jaime find love together. As one Reddit user pointed out, Jaime has said that he wants to pass in the arms of the woman he loves. Most viewers assumed he meant Cersei, but now, many have their odds on Brienne.
10 Confirmed: Tearing Down the Wall
As soon as any wall is built, people start guessing when it will fall. For GoT, those rumblings became undeniable as the show went on and Insider posted their prediction in 2016. When the event finally happened, HuffPo’s headline read “Legendary ‘Game Of Thrones’ Theory Finally Goes Down In Season 7 Finale.”
Even if the Wall was bound to fall, fans couldn’t agree on how it would happen, but Buzzfeed summed up some of the possibilities. These included the White Walkers walking around the Wall, using magic, and of course, using an ice dragon to tear it down.
9 Could Be: There May Be Babies
Children and lineage have always been important in GoT, so it’s not surprising that pregnancy theories are a big source of wonder. One theory suggests that Cersei is not actually pregnant while another says that Dany is. Both have implications for Westeros. If Cersei is lying, then this is a sign of her ruthlessness, but a variation on this theory argues that Cersei isn’t pregnant but going through menopause.
The Dany pregnancy theory is surprising because she is supposed to be infertile. If she is pregnant, it only helps her claim to the throne by ensuring that there is an heir.
8 Confirmed: Tyrion Becomes Dany’s Hand
Things haven’t always gone well for Tyrion, and he has been the subject of various predictions over the years. One of the most enduring Tyrion-related theories was that he would side with Daenerys over his family. More than five years ago, Reddit users had already agreed that Tyrion was bound to be Daenerys’ official advisor.
The show confirmed this theory towards the end of season six, meaning that fans had caught on well before anyone made it official. Of course, fans didn’t know how Tyrion would end up in that position, so they still had plenty of theorizing to do until the show’s reveal.
7 Could Be: Bran is the Night King (or the Three-Eyed Raven)
Bran has become a consistent source of fan theories, and one theory argues that Bran is the Three-Eyed Raven. While this may seem obvious given Bran’s new talents, the theory is more specific as it states that the man who was teaching Bran in the cave was actually Bran, but older.
At the opposite end of that theory is one that says that Bran is the Night King. The idea is that Bran eventually gets stuck in a time loop and becomes the Night King when his body is trapped in a wight, with some viewers citing a resemblance between the two as proof. This is one of the wilder theories that looks more plausible as time goes on.
6 Confirmed: The Return of Gendry
For a long time, the last time audiences saw Gendry he was rowing a boat. Seasons passed without him, and fans assumed he was still out there, rowing.
After actor Joe Dempsie was seen on set, fans began to speculate that Gendry would return. This was confirmed in the fifth episode of season seven when Sir Davos retrieves Gendry, who’s carrying a war hammer just like his father did. For those who remembered what Ned said of Gendry (“If the day ever comes when Gendry would rather wield a sword than forge one, send him to me”), seeing him palling around with Jon Snow was a long-awaited delight.
5 Could Be: Euron Gets a Dragon
Euron Greyjoy first appears in season six when he seizes control of the Iron Isles. His sudden appearance and swift rise to power made fans think that the writers were positioning him for something big.
Readers of the book noted that Euron is in possession of Dragonbinder, a magical horn that could give him control over dragons; that’s one part of the theory. Reddit user bearigator outlines the theory that Euron will have a Kraken. We’ve seen ice dragons, and there are hints that sea dragons, or Krakens, exist in ASOIAF. A three-way dragon fight could be a surprise that throws (some) fans for a loop.
4 Confirmed: R+L=J
The most famous ASOIAF theory, and one of the most famous fan theories to ever come true, R+L=J means “Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon”. As Ranker pointed out, this theory appeared as early as 1998, and it’s hard to think of another with such sweeping implications for the whole story.
Even if fans saw the theory coming, it upended the struggle for the Iron Throne. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had to know it (and guess who Jon’s mother was) before Martin would sign over the rights to the book. For those who don’t know: Jon Snow is the child of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark.
3 Could Be: It’s a Story Within a Story
This theory comes straight from the opening credits as some fans believe that GoT is a story within a story. The storyteller would probably be a maester, with Sam as a likely option. He has been seen writing on the show, and this would be a way of bringing the story full circle.
A different theory proposes that everything is happening in a giant’s eye. As Winter is Coming explained, Robb Stark first mentions an old tale where everyone lives in the blue eye of a giant, and Oberyn repeats a variation on this seasons later. The season seven teaser featured a blue eye that ended up being a White Walker, but some fans are still convinced.
2 Confirmed: Holding the Door
The tragic paradox of Hodor was revealed in the fifth episode of the sixth season. We learn that his name is actually a mushed recital of “hold the door,” the last command he was given. It was one of the most saddening moments in a show that has no shortage of them.
It was also one of the most surprising. With so many different plot arcs and characters, not to mention time travel, most viewers didn’t expect a Hodor origin story, but some fans did. As Newsweek reported, a fan guessed the inspiration for Hodor’s name in 2008. Even more surprisingly, the guess started out as a joke.
1 Could Be: Ice Versus Fire
Despite this being a song of ice and fire, some fans are convinced that Jon and Dany will be enemies. One of the most involved ice v. fire theories (examined here) argues that Dany is the villain, and Jon will lead the Walkers against her, possibly discovering an ice dragon in the Wall.
Another theory is based on Azor Ahai. He had to attack his wife to make the sword Lightbringer and vanquish the undead. Theories like this one from Redditor Saravian argue that Jon will have to do the same to Dany, either to fashion himself a proper weapon or to make her part White Walker so that there is peace between the species.
What other fan theories do you think could still be true on GoT? Let us know in the comments!