The Latest ‘Game of Thrones’ Fan Theory Is Good News For the Starks
What is Game of Thrones without fan theories? Now that the show is heading in completely unknown territory for both book and show fans, theorizing is more vital (and more exciting) than ever. After just three episodes into Season 6, there’s plenty left up to speculation. From a crazy theory about Bran and the Mad King to one about the return of a long-unseen character, here are the best theories to come out of Sunday night’s episode “Oathbreaker.”
(Full spoilers for the show and books follow)
The Rickon Ruse Theory
Last night’s episode gave us the bittersweet return of Rickon Stark and Osha, who we haven’t seen since they parted ways with Bran at the end of Season 3. Smalljon Umber presented Ramsay with the two in place of an oath pledging allegiance to House Bolton. As much as the scene seems to put Rickon and Osha in danger, some fans are theorizing that House Umber’s intentions are not what they seem. Could bringing Rickon back to Winterfell be an elaborate ruse to take out Ramsay for good? Let’s explore.
The fan theory, which popped up on reddit Sunday night, speculates the Umbers are faking their allegiance to the Boltons and plotting to restore Winterfell to House Starks. It all relates to the Great Northern Conspiracy, a seven-part theory about Stark loyalists in the North seeking to overthrow the Boltons and make Jon Snow their king. The theory suggests that Smalljon is using Rickon as bait to lure Jon Snow from The Wall to rescue his half brother, and thus leading Ramsay and the Bolton army out of Winterfell into the battlefield. Then while Rickon is safe inside the walls of Winterfell (hopefully not yet killed by Ramsay), the Bolton army will be met in the North by Jon and the Wildlings and get cornered on the south end by the Umbers, who will turn on them.
It’s a great plan to take the Boltons out and put the Starks back in power. Some fans speculate House Umber is taking on the role of the Manderlys in the books, a family still loyal to the Starks who present the Boltons with a fake head – sadly, Rickon actor Art Parkinson confirmed to Huffington Post that Shaggydog is indeed dead (RIP buddy). Even so, the Umbers plot could still make sense, especially since they have little reason to side with the Boltons. It’s possible Rickon is oblivious to the whole plan too, and that the Umbers kept Osha alive to help protect the boy from Bolton guards. If Smalljon hates Wildlings so much, why not kill her? It may be wishful thinking, but it could be the series’ plan to lead into the upcoming Battle of the Bastards in Episode 9.
The Bran and Mad King Theory
Sunday night’s episode showed Bran traveling back in time once again with the Three-Eyed Raven. After watching his father fight Arthur Dayne outside the Tower of Joy (and learn the truth of Dayne’s defeat), Bran called out to his father. The young Ned quickly stopped and turned around after Bran shouted, hinting at the possibility that people may be able to hear Bran’s presence. The Three-Eyed Raven told the Stark boy, “The past is already written. The ink is dry.” While many took this to believe that Bran has no power over changing the past or future, those words are open to interpretation. What if the past was already written by Bran’s Greensight?
This theory suggests that Bran could be the reason King Aerys II Targaryen turned into the Mad King. I’ll let you read it in full:
From S6E3, Bran realizes that others can hear him during the visions from the past, but doesn’t understand that they cannot fully understand him.
He attempts to reason with King Aerys when shown a vision of him.
The King only hears whispers, and is driven mad by it.
Bran tries to fix this, however makes it worse.
Mad King Aerys burns Bran’s grandfather alive while Bran frantically tries to stop him.
All he hears is whispers.
Bran sets the events of the show in motion.
I admit, this is way out there. I doubt Bran’s “whispers” alone could drive the King mad, but what if it was actually the Three-Eyed Raven who did so? Another theory branching off this one suggests the Three-Eyed Raven may have attempted to warn the King Aerys II about what would come in the future. These “whispers” could have driven the King mad, and thus led to the rebellion. One interesting thing fans picked up on was the Mad King’s well known final words, “Burn them all.” Could the Three-Eyed Raven have been warning Aerys about the White Walkers, telling him to burn all the dead bodies to prevent a White Walker army? Aerys may have been partially driven mad by the phrase, leading to the carnage of his reign. This might also be why Max von Sydow’s Raven is constantly warning Bran about spending too much time in his visions, perhaps hoping to save Bran from making the same mistakes he did by attempting to change the past.
Actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright did say Bran was a lot like Doctor Who this season in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Opening up the possibility of time travel paradoxes in the Thrones universe seems too far of a sci-fi stretch for the show, but there is a chance Bran has more power than the Three-Eyed Raven is letting on. Whether any of these theories hold true or not, we know Bran is bound to visit the Mad King in a vision at some point this season, as hinted at in a trailer.
The Bran and Hodor Theory
We’re getting into even more ridiculous territory here, but why not have a little fun? The previous Bran theory inspired some fans to go even further with the possibility of Bran influencing the past in regards to Hodor. After we met young Hodor, neé Wyllis, last week we learned he used to be a stable boy who was friends with Lyanna Stark. So how did Hodor get his name and lose his ability to say any other words?
There’s a couple of theories about this (a popular one about Hodor being a warg), but this one suggests Bran goes back in time and sees Wyllis get kicked in the head by a horse. In an effort to save him, Bran shouts out his name, “Hodor,” as he knows him in present time, and it’s the last word Wyllis hears before losing his ability to speak. Silly? Totally, but Hodor’s name origins are anyone’s best guess.