When a series becomes as popular as HBO’s Game of Thrones, it comes as no surprise that there would be a cloud of speculation surrounding the characters and the future of the show. Based on George R. R. Martin’s book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, the world of Seven Kingdoms created millions of fans even before the first season of the television series was created. While the book series has sold over 60 million copies worldwide and created an obsession for the characters all on its own, the television adaptation helped to introduce the story to a much larger audience.
Concluding its sixth season of the show, the series has continued to break records with the number of viewers and the obsession continues to grow. While most of the series is pretty spot-on with adhering to the original story-line from the books, there have been quite a few inconsistencies that have made die-hard fans delve further into the conspiracy theories surrounding its characters.
HBO has never been a stranger to changing up their television adaptations when based upon a book series, since they completely deviated from The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris for the True Blood series. Yet, Game of Thrones didn’t start altering the story-line until the series started catching up to the end of the book series. George R. R. Martin is notorious for working on his own timeline when it comes to his book releases, so there isn’t much to do but wait until he finally releases the next book in the series. Until then, HBO has created its own version of what happens next in Westeros and beyond.
Rather than answering all of the burning questions of its fans, it opened the door to even more conspiracy theories regarding the future of the series and the origin of its characters. Check out our list of the 15 most shocking conspiracy theories in Game of Thrones, and see all the different insights into the heroes and villains of the show.
15. Not Everyone Is Fooled By The Red Woman
When Melisandre first made her appearance on the Season 2 premiere, she was burning people alive because they worshipped Gods other than the Lord of Light. Yet she became extremely intriguing once she was able to withstand the poison from Maester Cressen and her red ruby necklace began to glow. It was the Season 6 premiere that caused the most intrigue, since it revealed her true age. She’s impossibly old and the necklace holds the key to giving off the illusion of youth and beauty.
One conspiracy theory is that those who are truly devoted to the Lord of Light can see beyond the illusions of the world. Stannis’s wife, Selyse, addressed this which many believe meant she could see Melisandre in her true form. In Season 4, the two had a conversation that led to her saying, “Most powders and potions are lies, deceptions to make men think they witnessed our lord’s power; once they step into the light, they’ll see the lie for what it was: a trick that led them to the truth. You don’t need powders and potions. You don’t need lies. You are strong enough to look into the Lord’s light and see his truth for yourself.”
14. The Umber Conspiracy
Not all of the conspiracy theories for Game of Thrones have come to fruition, with some being postponed to hopefully come to light later in the series and others being downright dismissed in a single episode. While the Umber Conspiracy didn’t turn out to be true, the details are worth deciphering since there are some inconsistencies that cause audiences to question how the Umbers could be on the side of the Boltons.
While the series has had many inconsistencies from George R. R. Martin’s, A Song of Ice and Fire, many fans find it hard to believe that the Umbers would take the side of the Boltons when the book series depicted Smalljon Umber fighting to the death to defend Robb Stark. So, when the Umbers showed up with a gift for Ramsay Bolton, people were skeptical as to how sincere he was in offering up Asha and Rickon. The Umber Conspiracy supposes that the Umbers never killed Shaggydog (which isn’t hard to believe since the head that was offered seemed a bit too small), and the offering of Rickon was a ruse to overthrow the Boltons. This wound up proving false in the end, and Rickon perished.
13. The Grand Northern Conspiracy
The Grand Northern Conspiracy supposes that all the Northern Houses are still loyal to House Stark. This is in part because of some of the inconsistencies with the book series, since some of the Northern Houses remained loyal to the bitter end. The conspiracy maintains that all the Northern Houses are simply biding their time until they can throw their full support towards a Stark, including Jon Snow. Right before the Red Wedding, there was a letter sent out by Robb. While the show depicts the letter was being written by his wife Talisa, some suppose the letter was written by Robb to the Lords of the Northern Houses.
As King of the North, he could free Jon of his vows to the Night’s Watch and become the heir to Winterfell in case he was killed in battle. The comment the old woman made to Sansa when she returned to Winterfell, “The North remembers,” is one aspect of the conspiracy. Yet, this conspiracy theory was shot down in the show when Snow and Sansa were denied support by most of the Northern Houses.
12. The Mad King Wasn’t So Mad After All
Taking a deeper look at the circumstances of his time, some wonder whether or not King Aerys had truly gone insane or he was just dealing with a rebellion. In the series, Jaime Lannister proclaimed, “He loved to watch people burn, the way their skin blackened and blistered and melted off their bones,” which makes it sound like he was demented, but it doesn’t sound any less humane than how the other characters choose to kill their enemies.
The Red Woman burns them alive, Daenerys gives them to her dragons, and Arya typically goes to town with knives and swords. So, if we can get beyond his use of wildfire, the question that remains is whether or not his suspicions were real about the other Houses conspiring against him. In actuality, there is a lot of evidence to support that many of the Houses were aligning themselves for a military alliance. Robert Baratheon betrothed to Lyanna Stark and the Eyrie being a foster home to bring in House Tully and Stark- this is actually quite rare. Typically, marriages were conducted between Houses and their bannermen, if not coordinated by the Throne.
11. Jon Snow Is “The Prince Who Was Promised”
Melisandre previously proclaimed Stannis Baratheon as “The Prince Who Was Promised,” who is the Chosen One by the Lord of Light. Yet both the book series and the television adaptation dispute this claim, since there was no heat emanating from the flaming sword and of course, he died in the Game of Thrones series. This gives further claim that in actuality, Jon Snow is the true Warrior of Light. The prophecy states he will be “reborn amidst salt and smoke,” which coincides with Snow’s rebirth through the Lord of Light. Also, Season 5 concluded with Jon Snow bleeding out onto the ground, and many felt that the blood stain actually created a picture.
While many think of it like the Rorschach test that allows viewers to see whatever they subconsciously hope for, others think the stain depicts a flaming sword being raised up from the ashes. Melisandre actually referred to Snow as “The Prince Who Was Promised,” but Ser Davos was quick to reply, “Forgive me, my lady, I thought that was Stannis?”
10. R + L = J
This conspiracy theory has a bit of a runaround in the details, but there is some significant evidence to support its claim that Jon Snow is actually a Targaryen. While he may not have the typical silver hair and purple eyes, it’s known that Rhaegar Targaryen had taken his liberties with Ned Stark’s sister, Lyanna. When Ned Stark and Howland Reed come to rescue Lyanna, it is said that she was found in a “bed of blood,” and subsequently died. This is interesting since Targaryens are known for having troublesome births, and it’s not unheard of for a woman to die in childbirth.
Also, Arya Stark is said to look like her aunt Lyanna, and Jon Snow is said to look more like Arya than anyone else in House Stark. Adding to the intrigue, it’s interesting that Snow’s Direwolf has white hair in contrast to the rest of the pack. This would coincide with the silver-haired theme of the Targaryens, and may have a connection since Ghost is thought of as the spirit animal of Jon Snow.
9. Oberyn Martell Poisoned Tywin
All the characters from Dorne seem to have a propensity for using poison, from Ellaria Sand poisoning Myrcella to Tyene Sand poisoning Bronn. Oberyn Martell, known as the Red Viper, actually used poison on his spear during his battle with The Mountain. Since not all poisons are the same, one conspiracy theory on why Tyrion found his father sitting on the toilet was due to being poisoned. Oberyn created a bond with Tyrion, and became his champion for more reasons than just wanting to get the truth about Elia’s death out of The Mountain. Since he blamed The Mountain and Tywin Lannister, it would stand to reason that he would poison both of them, and not just one. Although he wouldn’t exactly have Tywin die from a poisoned spear, he could have easily poisoned him in another way with a different type of poison.
Widow’s Blood is described in the book series as, “shutting down a man’s bladder and bowels, until he drowns in his own poisons.” If Tyrion hadn’t killed his father on the toilet, fans wonder how much longer Tywin would have lived, and whether or not Oberyn was responsible for his bowel-moving problems.
8. Arya Had A Plan
When Arya began her journey in Bravos, it seemed there was already someone in training to become a Faceless Man. Called “The Waif,” she seemed to be around the same age as Arya, but definitely had more experience in killing and manipulation. Throughout her training, it seemed that Arya was always driven more by emotion than the cunning exhibited by The Waif. So, when she chose to defy The Many-Faced God, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that it would be The Waif that would be the one to become Arya’s assassin. However, many of the details surrounding their confrontation has caused conspiracy theorists to wonder whether or not the whole thing was set up by Arya.
First, there was a scene that showed Arya uncovering her sword, Needle, which was the sword ultimately used to kill The Waif. Also, Arya seemed extremely conspicuous when she was standing on the bridge, and she sure did leave a lot of blood tracks leading The Waif into the room where she was hiding. Perhaps Arya had been holding back the whole time because she knew that she would ultimately have to battle The Waif in the end.
7. Bran Could Have Influenced More Of The Past
One of the most interesting aspects of Bran’s character is his ability to travel back in time. While The Three-Eyed Raven would have him believe that the “past is already written,” certain aspects of the flashback scenes make fans wonder whether or not he can change things that have already happened. Yet the episode involving Hodor proved that not only can he travel to the past, but he can have influence over different individuals.
One conspiracy theory about Bran’s ability is that he was the one inside of The Mad King’s head, and that is where the “voices” came from. Much of the conflict that is happening revolves around Prince Rhaegar spurning his wife Elia from Dorne, and kidnapping Lyanna Stark who was betrothed to Robert Baratheon. It could be that Bran returns to the past to try and stop the Targaryens from this blunder, but hasn’t yet fully mastered the ability of time travel and influence. One clue to this is how The Mad King kept repeating the same thing right before his death, “Burn them all!” Many think this is similar to the “Hold the door” incident, and might be a prelude to the war to come.
6. The Dragon Has Three Heads
Game of Thrones has a thing for groups of three, but nothing shows that more than how the series deals with the Targaryen lineage and its connection to dragons. Aegon Targaryen conquered Westeros with his two sisters and their three dragons, the Targaryen sigil features a three-headed dragon, and Daenerys hatched three dragon eggs: Rhaegal, Drogon, and Viserion. There was also a prophecy stating, “the dragon has three heads,” which alludes to the riders of her other dragons. While she will be mounted on one, conspiracy theories are running wild on who will be mounted on the other two.
The conspiracy surmises that Daenerys, Jon Snow, and Tyrion Lannister will be the dragon riders, and it’s interesting how many similarities the characters all have. All of them are outcasts, all of them have unlikely allies, and all of them have tragic love stories in their past. Both Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister have their own merits on what makes them worthy of riding a dragon, and fans are hoping it’s a conspiracy theory that will end up proving true.
5. Jaime and Cersei Are Targaryens
The Mad King often took “unwonted liberties” with Joanna Lanister, and the medieval-style of the show doesn’t exactly talk about any sort of birth control methods. So, one of the conspiracy theories involving Jaime and Cersei Lannister is that they are actually part Targaryen. This might explain Cersei’s long-flowing golden hair that is truly similar to Daenerys, as well as the whole incest thing between her and her brother. The Targaryens have wed brother and sister for hundreds of years, and the pair have referenced this numerous times on the show.
Also, the book series has a conversation between Jaime and his aunt where she says, “Tyrion is Tywin’s son, not you. I said so once to your father’s face, and he would not speak to me for half a year. Men are such thundering great fools. Even the sort who come along once in a thousand years.” Adding fuel to the fire, it’s interesting that Tyrion is very much like Tywin in his ability to manipulate and strategize. This is in direct contrast with Cersei and Jaime who often react to things in a Targaryen-like manner with fury and emotion.
4. Sansa Is Pregnant
It seems inconceivable that Sansa wouldn’t be with child, since she had been repeatedly raped by Ramsay Bolton. The show seems to try and explain this in a conversation he had with his father, when he seems bewildered at how Roose Bolton was able to get Walda pregnant. He also doesn’t have any bastards of his own, even though he seemed to be having regular sex with a variety of women, including the kennel master’s daughter. The show makes it seem like he somehow isn’t performing correctly in a manner that would result in a child or that he was shooting blanks.
Yet there is a scene with Sansa escaping Winterfell, where she seemed to have a baby bump under her clothing. Adding to the conspiracy that she is having Ramsay Bolton’s child, Sansa has a conversation with Littlefinger where she says, “I can still feel it. I don’t mean in my tender heart, it still pains me so. I can still feel what he did in my body, standing here right now.” Is she talking about the growing baby inside of her?
3. Jon Snow and Meera Reed Are Twins
The mystery behind the mother of Jon Snow in the HBO series has led many to speculate on whether or not he truly is the son of Eddard Stark. While he has quite a different look than any of the other Stark children, there is a character on the show that looks very similar. Meera Reed not only features the same dark and curly hair, but she has the same drive and fierce spirit as well. The flashback scene where Bran traveled back in time to see his father and Howland Reed fight to rescue his sister Lyanna, there is screaming that can be heard from the tower. Some surmise that Lyanna had actually given birth to twins, and Stark and Reed chose to each take one baby to keep safe. The resemblance is uncanny, and the conspiracy theory is made even more believable since Meera continues to help serve House Stark.
2. Hodor “The Great Other”
Game of Thrones has a definite good vs. evil theme, even though it can be a little difficult to decipher who is fighting for the side of good. While the Lord of Light is fighting to rid the world of the White Walkers, the whole sacrificing kids and burning people alive thing isn’t exactly typical of “good guy” behavior. Just as the side of “Good” has its champion, fans wonder who will take the place as the “Evil” counterpart for the series. The series tried to explain the reason why Walder took the name of “Hodor” by saying that he was actually saying, “Hold the door.”
However, one conspiracy theory is that Hodor is actually the name of “The Great Other,” or the God of Cold. Since Hodor had amazing strength and had been repeatedly touched by magic through Bran’s warging ability, fans wonder what will become of him now. Some say that he will be turned to the dark side by the cold demons he was fighting to protect Bran from, which would create an incredible force to be reckoned with in his new cold state.
1. Tyrion Lannister Is A Targaryen
George R. R. Martin’s book, The World of Ice & Fire, revealed that The Mad King would take “unwonted liberties” with Tyrion’s mother, Joanna Lannister. The timeline actually matches up where Tyrion could have been sired from one of the occasions Joanna was with The Mad King. Also, Joanna died in childbirth, which coincides with the Targaryen babies being more difficult to birth. While the HBO series show that Tyrion obviously looks different from his siblings due to dwarfism, the book series describes him by saying “One green eye and one black one peered out from under a lank of hair so blonde it seemed white.”
Besides the unique eye color, silver-like hair, and possibility regarding the timeline between his mother and the Targaryen King, it’s interesting that Tyrion was not attacked by the dragons when he set them free. While the dragons were in captivity, the only human interaction they had was when they were being fed- so it seems strange that they wouldn’t attack Tyrion when approached. Many say that the reason is because they could tell he had Targaryen blood.