Potential Spoiler Alert!!!
Enter a world of kings and knights and dragons. Chances are, this a series and show that hasn’t escaped your notice. Currently, there are five (of seven) books by George R.R. Martin out in print, and the wildly successful HBO series based on the books is in its fourth season, with almost unheard of HBO ratings. The series has become an international phenomenon and won countless awards. But along with a cleverly written mythology and world, lies mysteries to be pieced together, as we read and watch the events unfold. Fans of both mediums have tried to uncover the story before it is told fully. As a result, some amazing theories—both plausible and not so plausible—have managed to surface. The theories that follow do not contain spoilers beyond where the plot is show wise, but if you haven’t seen or read up to this point, then enter with caution!
Once again, if you haven't seen/read up until this point, do not read on!!
8 Tywin Lannister Knew About the Purple Wedding
Under normal circumstances, audiences would be loath to celebrate the murder of a character on screen or in text. However, when it came to Joffery Baratheon (who is quite possibly one of the vilest, most hated, abusive, egomaniacal pieces of work in the series), there was no small amount of cheering when the young King of Westeros finally died at his own wedding, having ingested a dangerous and toxic poison. While it was revealed to be the machinations of two cunning individuals, audiences and readers couldn’t help but wonder if Joffery’s grandfather, Tywin Lannister, had anything to do with it. Tywin is definitely not above murder at a wedding, having engineered the horrifying Red Wedding. Further, the Lion of Lannister is not exactly known for being loyal to anyone but himself. What does he get out of Joffery’s death: a better king. Now, make no mistake, Tywin doesn’t care much about the realm at large, but rather, he cares about which of his grandchildren will be pliant and malleable enough to listen to him. Joffery was incapable of listening to anyone, but his brother Tommen would be quite willing to listen to his grandfather in matters of state. So out with Joffery and in with Tommen!
7 Varys and Illyrio are Plotting the Overthrow of Westeros
When characters meet in dark corridors and whisper, chances are they are planning something nefarious. Readers and viewers have known that the spymaster, called the Spider, Varys, and everyone’s favorite trader from Pentos, Illyrio were plotting something since the first season/first book. But exactly what has yet to be revealed. In a series that revolves around the ever-changing power dynamics, it is not unreasonable that Varys and Illyrio have ambitions of their own. Varys claims he serves the realm and the realm alone (hence his survival through several regime changes) but by getting in bed with Illyrio, is he perhaps plotting to set up his own puppet king? Illyrio, who was closely allied with the exiled Targaryen monarchs, might have his own agenda about who sits upon the Iron Throne.
6 John Snow is The Prince That Was Promised
The religious world built in the Song of Ice and Fire series is rich and diverse—from the Old Gods, to the Seven, to the Lord of Light. One of the most intriguing prophecies was of the legendary figure Azor Ahai who defeated the White Walkers using the sword Lightbringer. It is said that someday, he will return to wield the sword once more and strike down the White Walkers. This soon-to-come figure is known as The Prince That Was Promised. Melisandre, the priestess of the Lord of Light (and an incredibly terrifying witch able to birth monstrous shadows) believes it to be Stannis Baratheon, but audiences don’t buy it. Stannis is a relatively weak ruler and nowhere near as important as say Jon Snow, a man who swore a vow to “be the fire that burns against the cold” when he joined the Night Watch, men sworn to guard against the Walkers. Who better to defeat the Walkers once and for all if not our favorite black clothed brother?
5 Eddard Stark is Alive
This one might be pure fantasy. It was one the most shocking moments in a series that loves to surprise and twist and turn. Audiences loved Ned Stark. He was honorable and kind and a fantastic Hand of the King. Ned cared more about the safety and honor of the realm than for political intrigue. So when he tried to expose Cersi’s deception about her children, and failed, Ned prepared to take the black and go up North to spend his days on the Wall. But, King Joffery was having none of that. Before anyone could react, Joffery ordered Ned’s head to be chopped off and placed on a spike. Fans were shocked. Surely, Ned was supposed to be the true hero of the story--he couldn't doe!
Since that moment, fans have dreamed of Ned Stark returning, pointing out that Ned’s own daughter, Ayra, barely recognized Ned on the platform before he lost his head. Sadly, when you play the game of thrones, you win or die, and it doesn’t seem likely that Ned Stark will return from beyond the grave. But, you never know.
4 The Faceless Men Are Behind Everything
Valar Morghulis. All men must die is the credo by which the Faceless Men live. The Faceless men seem to hide in the shadows, entering the story only occasionally, which make it easier to overlook them. But that might be the whole point! There are theories that not only are the Faceless Men a death cult of highly trained assassins who can change their face at will, but also are secretly behind the major events in Westeros and are working to bring down the Wall and free the White Walkers, to bring the whole world to its knees. It’s a dark and very complicated plot but nothing is too extreme in this series. We should probably keep an eye on those Faceless Men.
3 Syrio Forel is Alive
Ayra’s “dancing” master quickly became a fan favorite in the first book/season. Syrio’s odd way of talking and teaching endeared him to the audience. Love for Syrio only increased when the Lannisters came to take Ayra away after Ned was betrayed and Syrio defended his pupil using only a wooden sword. As Ayra ran away, everyone assumed that Syrio had died valiantly. But, here’s the rub: no one saw him die. And in a series that does not shy away from the extreme and explicit, not seeing someone die is a red flag that the person may not be dead at all. After Ayra runs away and manages to escape King’s Landing, she meets Jaqen H’ghar, who almost instantly begins to look after the little lost girl. We later learn that he is a Faceless Man and skilled at swordplay and killing. And what do we know about Faceless Men? They can change their face. It didn’t take long for people to assume that Jaqen was Syrio and still looking after Ayra. Just so.
2 Tyrion is the Son of Joanna Lannister and the Mad King Aeyrs
Everyone’s favorite Imp has had a hard life. Tyrion’s mother died in childbirth, his father shunned and outright hated him, and his older siblings treat him with anything from indifference to contempt. And, in fact, the hatred displayed from his Lannister family has produced the theory that Tyrion isn’t a full Lannister, but rather the offspring of Joanna Lanniser and the last Targaryen king, the so-called Mad King Aeyrs. There are a few very intriguing ideas why this theory might be true. First, Tyrion has an almost bizarre obsession with dragons, going so far as to have dreams about them. And dragons, of course, are the sigil of House Targaryen. Second, his mismatched eyes seem to signal that he is not “pure” in his lineage. And third, there is a prophecy that the “dragon must have three heads;” consensus among fans is that one is obviously Dany, the second is most likely Jon Snow, so what about the third? Tyrion is given the same level of importance in the books and show, both chapter wise and character development wise. If, the ultimate end game of the series is the Targaryen’s coming back to rule with their dragons, then there needs to be three and just maybe our cunning dwarf is the third.
1 Jon Snow is the Son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen
The most popular theory among both the book lovers and the HBO lovers, this one isn’t so much a theory as so widely accepted that everyone is just waiting on confirmation. The mystery of Jon Snow’s parents is presented from the very start—everyone knows that Jon Snow is a bastard. But we are told John is Ned’s bastard, having been conceived during the war. But once the story unfolds, it is very hard to ever picture Ned Stark siring a bastard; Ned’s main characteristic is honor, and having an illegitimate child seems to fly in the face of everything Ned held dear. However, Jon is definitely “of the north” as we are told that he strongly resembles the Northern Stark clan. Who else is from the North? Ned’s sister, Lyanna, of course. Rhaegar Targaryen, the heir of Westeros, held Lyanna, widely regarded as a beauty, captive. When Ned finally found his sister, her final words were “Promise me, Ned” and then—lo—Ned Stark returned to Winterfell with a babe in arms. Coincidence? We think not.