Let’s get this out of the way, right off the bat, in case you’re not as obsessive as we are, or just haven’t gotten caught up yet on the TV series or books yet: SPOILERS AHEAD.
A Song of Ice and Fire is a series of epic fantasy novels written by George R.R. Martin. To date, there are five novels already out, and two more in the works. The TV show really brought the series into the spotlight like never before. So much so, in fact, that fans worldwide can’t wait for Martin to finish his books and reveal his many plots. That’s why many have begun to make up their own theories and predictions regarding what’s going to happen.
Now, the books themselves are far more intricate and complex than the show itself, and similarly, these fan predictions follow the same pattern. Some of these theories, like Jon Snow being the son of Lyanna Stark and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, had been predicted by fans and later been proven by the show (we told you, SPOILERS). Now, let’s take a look of some other theories out there, yet to be proven right or wrong…
10. The Faceless Men’s Mysterious Plot
The Faceless Men are a guild of assassins within the GOT universe, based in the city of Braavos but who are spread throughout both Westeros and Essos. They serve the Many-Faced God, or the god of death, and are highly praised for their assassination skills and their ability to change their appearance at will. One member known to belong to this order is Jaqen H’ghar, the man who trains Arya Stark to become one such assassin. Whether this is his real name, however, is unknown since all members need to relinquish their former identities and become, in a sense, “no one.”
Now, in the prologue of the Feast for Crows novel, we follow a student at the Citadel named Pate. He is a novice and in training to become a Maester, but also infatuated with a young maid at a local tavern. At one point he is introduced to an alchemist who offers him a gold coin in exchange for a master key, which opens all doors throughout the Citadel. Pate manages to take the key from one of the Archmaesters and gives it to the mysterious alchemist, in the hopes of using the money to buy the girl’s maidenhood. However, after the exchange, Pate dies. But before that happens, the hooded alchemist reveals his face.
Here, many fans believe this alchemist to be none other than Jaqen H’ghar. The reasons behind this theory lie with another description of the assassin, this time in the novel A Clash of Kings, where Jaqen changes his face in front of Arya. His new face is described word for word the same as the alchemist. Moreover, when the novice, Pate, asks this man who he is, the alchemist answers: “A stranger. No one. Truly.” The fan theory here is that Jaqen H’ghar has taken the face of the novice, and with the master key in hand, is looking either for a target to assassinate (maybe Samwell Tarly, but probably someone else). Another plausible reason would be that the Faceless Man is looking for a very old and unique tome locked beneath the huge library, called Blood and Fire or sometimes The Death of Dragons. What the book actually contains and what the Faceless Men want with it is still out of anyone’s reach at the moment, especially with such scarce information available. But given its title, we’ll let you speculate after reading this next entry…
9. The Maesters’ Plot
Sometimes referred to as “the knights of the mind,” the Maesters are an order of learned men, scholars and healers who act as advisors, doctors, and teachers to every noble house in Westeros. As young men, they renounce their names and family ties, move to Oldtown and begin their arduous training at the Citadel – the Maesters’ base of operations and largest library in the world. Once their training is complete, they are assigned to a ruling house; from the lowliest of minor nobles to the King on the Iron Throne himself. These Maesters are renowned for their belief in science and logical thinking, as well as for their mistrust and rejection of “the higher mysteries” (i.e. magic).
The theory behind their supposed grand plan comes about somewhat logically, given the tremendous power and influence the Order has over the entire realm. There are a lot of references in the books, too, which hint to this plan. Archmaester Marwyn – the one specialized in magic – told Samwell Tarly that the Maesters were actually behind Robert’s Rebellion, in their attempt to rid the world of magic and increase their own influence throughout the land. He may have also hinted at the idea that the Order was also behind the death of the dragons the last time around, by initiating the Dance of Dragons, a brutal civil war between Targaryen families, which ultimately led to the disappearance of almost all dragons from Westeros.
Given that the Maesters are also in charge of the Ravens, they are thus in charge of the flow of information throughout the Seven Kingdoms. They are the ones responsible for sending messages between different castles and cities, and are also the ones who read these messages to their lords. With this much power, it’s no surprise that they were able to start these conflicts for their own interests. Now, how exactly they aim to ultimately achieve their goal is hard to deduce, but it’s an almost certainty that they’re up to something.
8. Will Littlefinger Succeed?
Many of us have heard that George R.R Martin plans to give the books a bittersweet ending. But what could that mean, exactly? Well, according to how the story has unfolded so far, we can be almost certain that many of our favorite characters will find their end by the time all of this is over, and that we can, at best, hope for a silver lining. And that silver lining can come in the form of Littlefinger achieving his plans of ultimately ruling over Westeros. Petyr Baelish is not one of the better liked characters in the books or the show. And this is because, unlike many of the others, he makes use of intrigue, manipulation, misinformation, betrayal, and murder to achieve his goals.
Through these means he was able to singlehandedly, but indirectly, start the War of the Five Kings. He convinced Lysa Arryn to poison her husband and then blame it on the Lannisters, thus creating friction between them and the Starks. He indirectly blamed Tyrion Lannister for the attempted murder on Bran Stark. He helped Ned uncover the true lineage of Joffrey and his siblings, and then betrayed him. As Master of Coin under King Robert he systematically impoverished the Crown by borrowing heavily from the Iron Bank, all the while increasing his own wealth, power, and influence. And Littlefinger did all of these because, as he said, “Chaos is a ladder.”
In the war that followed he was awarded ownership of Harrenhal and thus, control over the Riverlands. With this new title he was able to marry Lysa Aryn, kill her, and then place her son – ruler of the Vale – under his control. None of these would have been possible if the realm was at peace. This is because Westeros is under a feudal system, and this form of government has little room for any social mobility. During feudal times, the social position you were born into pretty much ensured that you remained there for the rest of your life, regardless of any personal skills or merits. And since Littlefinger was from a small and unimportant noble family, he would never have been able to achieve the titles he did while the realm was at peace. This rigidity within the social structure is something that stood in Baelish’s way, and is something which he will most likely dismantle if he ever comes to power.
Littlefinger could act here as an agent of the “creative destruction” standard. This is a real economic principle which loosely follows the whole “out with the old, in with the new” idea. One such agent from our own history is Napoleon Bonaparte. In the wars of conquest he waged over much of Europe, he indeed brought on a lot of death and destruction, but from the ashes, many economic and social reforms began to surface which later evolved into the worldwide ideals of national sovereignty we know of today. Could this be the bittersweet ending Martin was talking about?
7. What’s Varys Up To?
The only one who can compare to Littlefinger in terms of intrigue is Varys. Also known as the Spider because of his web of spies, he was up until recently the Master of Whisperers to the realm. His rise to power and influence was quite extraordinary, starting off as an orphan boy left for dead after a sorcerer castrated him for a magical ritual. Then from a beggar he became a thief, and on to a successful information trafficker, all the way up to sit on the Westerosi Small Council. One fan theory surrounding Varys is that he’s actually of Targaryen/Blackfyre descent. This is why many believe he was castrated in the first place, since Blood Magic requires royal blood to work, and Varys shaves his head so as to not reveal his true lineage in the form of the Targaryen silver hair.
But the plot goes much deeper than that. We can’t really go into all the details here, but the gist of it is that Varys may have had a sister named Seera who had a son with Varys’ friend, Illyrio Mopatis, and who both are now training to one day become the King of Westeros. Another version is that Varys managed to switch babies just before the Lannister army sacked King’s Landing during Robert’s Rebellion, and this child to be the true heir of Rhaegar Targaryen, Aegon – the baby reportedly killed by the Mountain. Though he doesn’t appear in the show, this child makes some appearances in the books under the name of Young Griff. Plans to put him on the throne may have been taking place for a long while, but have been put on hold due to the many unforeseen circumstances happening since the start of the War of the Five Kings.
6. One of the Lannisters May be a Targaryen
Now that Jon Snow was revealed to actually be a Targaryen, it would seem a bit of a stretch on Martin’s part if it were revealed that yet another character is one as well. Nevertheless, the chances for one, if not all, of the three Lannisters (Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion) being the children of the Mad King, and thus Targaryens, are quite high. In the books it is explained that the Mad King lusted after Tywin Lannister’s wife, Joanna, and there is a possibility that he may have had his way with her on her wedding night. Ser Barristan Selmy, Kingsguard to Aerys at the time, also seems to corroborate this fact.
The exact details of their relationship are unknown, and this may not have been the only time this happened. This awkward love triangle is one of the main reasons for why King Aerys and Tywin Lannister hated each other so much in the first place. In any case, if the king did in fact force himself on Joanna on her wedding night, and she became pregnant as a result, then both Cersei and Jaime would be Targaryens. Further evidence to support this claim comes in the form of both of them having an incestuous relationship with each other, something common in the Targaryen lineage. Moreover, it would seem that Cersei is now following in her would-be father’s footsteps, as a mad ruler on the Iron Throne.
Now, even though Tyrion does best resemble Tywin when it comes to their political intelligence and levelheadedness, he does however have the biggest chance of being a Targaryen. For starters, his physical appearance in the books describes him as having pale-blonde hair and two different colored eyes. Moreover, Tywin constantly insinuated that he’s not actually his son. Tyrion also has bigger chances of being Targaryen from a plot point perspective, since he can be one of Daenerys’ dragon riders, as well as her half-brother (particularly after last season showed Tyrion interacting with her dragons, and them amazingly letting him get up close and personal).
5. Sansa for the Win!
It’s no secret that Martin borrowed heavily when from history when he wrote the A Song of Ice and Fire novels. He is also known for his many plot twists and unexpected endings he gives his novels. This is why many fans believe that Sansa Stark, and not Daenerys Targaryen, will be the one who will ultimately sit on the Iron Throne. We know that the plot is loosely based on the Wars of the Roses, a series of civil conflicts which took place over present-day England during the 15th century. And in the aftermath of these wars, the Tudors, an unlikely noble house, managed to take power in the end. Moreover, these fans see a strong correlation between Sansa and Queen Elizabeth I of England.
Their stories are somewhat similar in that, like Sansa, Elizabeth was an unlikely person to become ruler during her lifetime. Her mother was executed by her husband, King Henry VIII, on questionable charges of adultery and conspiracy, and thus Elizabeth, just like Sansa, grew up at court as a traitor’s daughter. Then, one noble by the name of Edward Seymour, like Littlefinger, took responsibility for Elizabeth, and there were even rumors of some sort of romantic entanglement between them at some point.
4. Nobody is Azor Ahai
Azor Ahai is the name given to a mythical hero from the distant past that defeated the Others more than 8,000 years before the events taking place in the books and in the show. When things looked bleakest, this hero, wielding a sword of fire called Lightbringer, managed to gather humanity’s last pockets of resistance and unite them for a final stand against the forces of darkness, pushing the undead north, thus saving the world from destruction. Different prophecies talk about his return, depicting this person as having a set of definable characteristics; a Messiah if you will. Melisandre constantly talks about him, first believing the reincarnated Azor Ahai to be Stannis, and now Jon Snow. The show itself may have hinted to Jon Snow being this mythical Azor Ahai, while some fans believe it to be Daenerys. Some others have even gone as far as saying that Jorah Mormont is this alleged savior.
However, there’s a good chance that in fact nobody will be this promised hero, and the whole legend actually refers to a series of events that will bring the realms of Westeros and Essos to a whole new level of social and cultural enlightenment. Chances are that maybe not one, but many characters could act together as a “collective hero” to both save the world from the impending doom, and to herald it into a new age of development.
3. Euron vs Daenerys
With the end of the last season of the show, we’ve seen Daenerys finally sailing off for Westeros with her overwhelming forces to take back what’s rightfully hers. At first glance it would seem that there isn’t anything that could possibly stand in the way of achieving her goal with ease. After all, she has three dragons, the Dothraki Horde, the Unsullied, a tremendous fleet, as well as the Martells and Tyrells backing her. And now with Cersei on the Iron Throne, the Crown has never been more vulnerable. So, who’s to stop Daenerys from simply landing her ships in King’s Landing harbor and taking the throne for herself? Euron Greyjoy, that’s who!
The last we saw of Euron was when he became King of the Ironborn, and was ordering his men to build a fleet like no other before it. A thousand ships, specifically. Moreover, he’s currently hunting his niece and nephew, Theon and Yara Greyjoy, who are both with Daenerys. And even though the show makes no mention, Euron is said to have in his possession a suit of valyrian steel armor, as well as a Dragon Horn capable of putting dragons under his control. So, the fan prediction here is that Dany will have to face Euron and his forces before she sets foot in Westeros. And this clash will probably bring the Mother of Dragons to a more equal footing in regards to her adversaries than she currently is.
2. Varys is a Friggin’ Merman
This theory, believe it or not, does hold some water… at least in the books. While the series is, to a certain extent, historical in nature, the Game of Thrones universe is still a fantasy. We know that dragons, ice zombies, giants, and other mythical creatures do exist in this fantasy world, so why not mermen? Merlings, as they are called here, are a supposed race of aquatic beings with the upper body of that of a human and the lower half as a fish. People from Lannisport and Oldtown have claimed to have seen them. These beings are also credited for the oily black stone found in various places throughout the known world. The foundations of the Hightower, as well as the Ironborn throne, and not to mention the city of Asshai, are all made out of it.
One of the possible links between Varys and these Merlings is the fact that he doesn’t have a bed to sleep on. Instead, he has a stone slab, which is actually a trap door, which… nobody knows where it leads. Probably a fish tank. Furthermore, his smile is described as being “slimy” and his body shape reminds people of a fish. At some point in the books, Tyrion threatens Varys that he’ll have him thrown off a ship, at which point Varys replies, “You might be disappointed by the result… I keep on paddling.” His castration could also act as a cover story for why he has no sex drive, and he is often described by others as having a more of a gliding walk with no audible footsteps. This theory certainly doesn’t apply for the show since he’s clearly shown as walking on two legs, but the books have some details and events which could possibly hint to it.
1. Bran “the Builder” Stark
The biggest fan theory circulating at the moment is that Bran Stark is, in fact, the legendary Bran the Builder (not to be confused with Bob the Builder) who lived roughly 8,000 years ago and was the founder of House Stark. In light of the events which took place during the last season, we see Bran Stark being able to not only travel into the past and have visions of the future, but also influencing those events in a somewhat confusing space-time continuum overlap. When he and his fellow companions were fleeing the White Walkers from Blood Raven’s cave, Bran takes control of Hodor in order to hold them off, giving him and Meera Reed time to escape. But in doing so, he in fact transforms Hodor into the simpleminded person he turned out to be (if you haven’t seen the episode… it’s complicated, not to mention utterly heartbreaking). This has led many fans to believe that Bran has the power to travel into the past and influence events in both the present and the future.
This connection between Bran and Bran the Builder has actually been hinted at several times ever since season one in the show. If this turns out to be true, then Bran is responsible for the creation of the Wall, Hightower in Oldtown, Winterfell, and helped Durran with Storm’s End – the ancestral seat of House Baratheon. Legend has it that a boy helped Durran from the Age of Heroes build this ancient fortress; a boy who would later become Bran the Builder. The theory even goes as far as saying that Bran is also the Lord of Light himself, whispering to the priests and priestesses, like Melisandre, advice on how to stop the Others.
Given that we’ve only got 13 more episodes left of the show, we’ll find out soon enough just how credible any of these theories really are.