ASOIAF Theories and Conspiracies
A Song of Ice and Fire – Most Popular Theories
A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) is a story rife with political intrigue, secrets upon secrets, and unpredictable characters. The author, George R. R. Martin, is clearly willing to sacrifice anything (or anyone) for the sake of the story and has, in fact, dropped hints and surprise twists early on in the series. Given these factors – not to mention the slow release of sequels – it comes as no surprise that several forums, blogs, and discussions have arisen regarding the numerous ASOIAF theories and conspiracies, ranging from mere guesses to carefully researched speculations to ludicrous, over-the-top ideas. Below are some of the most popular theories to date:
1. Who are Jon Snow’s parents?
Jon Snow is Eddard “Ned” Stark’s bastard son. Or is he? His physical attributes indicate that he does have Stark blood in him so one of his parents has to be a Stark. Given Ned’s staunch regard for honor, it seems highly unlikely that he would be unfaithful to his wife, who had just given him a son. The fact that he refuses to reveal the name of Jon’s mother adds fuel to the fire.
There was a rumor that Ashara Dayne, the lady of Starfall and Ned’s former love interest, was Jon’s mother. When confronted by his wife, Catelyn, Ned neither denied nor confirmed it as he coldly stated, “Never ask me about Jon. He is my blood and that is all you need to know.” While this further confirms that Jon does have Stark blood in him, it does not shed much light on the true identity of his mother.
Later in the story, Robert Baratheon will get Ned to claim that Willa, a wet nurse in House Dayne, is his bastard’s mother. This is further backed up by a conversation between Arya Stark and Edric Dayne. Many fans are hard-pressed to accept this match for two main reasons: the timing is not right for Ned to have had a prolonged visit in Dorne during the war and there is the nagging feeling that it is a red herring to keep readers from guessing the truth.
Among all the ASOIAF theories and conspiracies, the idea that Jon Snow’s parents are actually Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark is the most talked about and researched topic. It is a fact that Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna and spent some time with her. Lyanna dying with fever and blood around her may imply a birthing. During this time, she apparently forced Ned to promise her something which is yet unrevealed, but is apparently grave and big enough for Ned to recall it often during his final days. If this is true, then there is good reason for Ned to keep Jon’s parentage a secret. More importantly, such a twist would imply a tragic love story between Rhaegar and Lyanna, which seems to appeal greatly to the fans.
2. Who is Coldhands?
Samwell Tarly’s mysterious savior and Bran Stark’s guide up North refers to Sam as “brother”, indicating that he is a member of the Night’s Watch. The fact that he has black hands have led many to surmise that he may be the missing Benjen Stark, who was believed to be beset upon the Others. The one major strike against this theory is that Bran did not seem to recognize him as his uncle, though it is possible that his appearance had been greatly changed by the Others.
3. Sandor Clegane is alive
When Brienne and her group arrive at a monastery in Quiet Island, they come upon a gravedigger, a new brother whose build and injuries match Sandor’s. When Brienne asks the abbot if Sandor is dead, his reply is that “he is in peace”, which may have been meant to mislead the lady knight, as it could actually also mean that Sandor is alive and repenting for his past within the monastery. The presence of his horse on the Quiet Island strongly supports this theory.
There are many more ASOIAF theories and conspiracies up in the air. Is Varys a Targaryen? Is Robert Arynn Littlefinger’s son? What does A Song of Ice and Fire mean, exactly?
George R. R. Martin has admitted that he does not read message boards for fear that fans may have already guessed things that are yet to be revealed or worse, come up with better ideas than what he has in mind! In any case, delving into these theories is a good and entertaining way to pass the time while waiting for the Martin’s official revelations in the subsequent chapters of the ongoing series.