5 Fan Theories about A Song of Ice and Fire
As a kid, I was a massive fan of the fantasy genre. I refused to read any book that does not have magic, dragons or mystical objects in it. I devoured the whole Harry Potter series in less than two months, powering though them day and night, wrecking my eyesight in the process. I also spent a significant amount of time in the school library, hovering over the works of Tolkien and Gaiman. It was a crazy time indeed for my preteen self, fighting through cramps and tired eyes to get through my tenth reading of The Voyage of Dawn Treader. I even endured all four books from the Inheritance Cycle, and that series is the closest we could get to a male equivalent of Twilight. Good or bad, as long as it was fantasy, I would eat it up. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and my fantasy craze ended with the arrival of puberty and lip gloss.
Last year, my interest in fantasy was piqued once again, when an old friend of mine introduced me to A Song of Ice and Fire. I was skeptical at first, flicking through the pages of Game of Thrones and cringing at the name-typo abomination that is Joffrey. However, by the time I finished A Dance with Dragons, I was truly hungover from the richness of the story. I wanted more, so I ended up spending three weeks of my life (that I will never get back) reading post after post on asoiaf forums where fans of the series rage at each other and hold their own Miss World of Ice and Fire contest. There, I acquainted myself with various fan theories, and while some are absolutely crackpot, some are so well thought out that I could not help but think of the possibilities — possibilities that they might be true.
5. Jaime and Cersei are the children of Aerys “Mad King” Targaryen
In A Dance With Dragons, Ser Barristan and Daenerys had a little chat about the marriage of her parents. He revealed that the Mad King never loved his wife, instead lusting after the wife of his King’s Hand, Tywin Lannister. There was a long-standing tradition in Westeros where a noble could claim the right to spend the first night with the bride of his inferior, however this custom was banned ages ago as it was deemed barbaric. On the night of Tywin’s wedding, a drunken Aerys made a joke about claiming Joanna’s first night, much to the dismay of the guests. Inside, I really do believe that he was trying to be funny, though having a reputation as a psychopath must not have helped carry the message across. Now fast forward to the future, Ser Barristan alluded to the possibilities of what might have happened that night, creating another red herring in an already convoluted pool.
Let’s see the parallels between the Lannister twins and the Targaryen clan. To start off, there is the excessive sibling-loving, which Cersei, herself, justified as being ‘okay’, since the Targaryens had been fucking each other for all everyone could remember. If the Targaryens could stick it into each other, why could not Jaime stick it in her? However, it is important to note that this crazy talk might be due to her mental health going berserk, which is ironically another sign of having Targaryen genes. I mean, the house is well-known for producing psychotic broods. Another big parallel is Cersei’s fascination with fire. We see that from her demented captivation while watching the Tower of the Hand burned down. Of course, being a pyro fanatic is a common trait of the Targaryens.
However, this theory does have a massive downside: Tywin Lannister.
The relationship between the King and his Hand was known to be awfully volatile. Tywin never forgot the Mad King’s lustful jest about his beloved wife, and the former is famous of being extremely protective of his family. It would be almost impossible for Aerys to have gotten near Joanna in any sexual way possible. Though I am a big fan of this theory, it does sound quite crackpot. With the number of characters running around with mistaken identities, it seems unlikely for GRRM to reveal yet another plot twist, that really would contribute almost nothing to the overall storyline. The only input that this theory would give to the series, if it proves to be true, would be the ironic revelation of Tyrion as Tywin’s only heir and the rightful lord of Casterly Rock. The image of Tywin crawling out of his grave in shock over this discovery would indeed be a gratifying fan service.
4. Bran ate a paste made of Jojen Reed
I do not know if it is just me, but I feel that Bran is turning into the creepiest character in the series. He started off as the gallant, precious son of House Stark who spent most of his time climbing brittle-looking walls and fantasizing about becoming a knight. Just like any other rebellious tween, Bran completely ignored his mother when she told him to knock it off, and in the most predictable story twist, fell off the fucking wall. He survived only to live with having his legs (and possibly male parts) completely paralyzed.
Fast forward through all of his suicidal chapters, Bran is now the runaway heir of the seat of House Stark. He was driven out of Winterfell by his family’s once trusted compadre, Theon Greyjoy, and decided to venture North of the Wall. Accompanied by a direwolf, an oaf, a zombie, a scrawny prophet and his hot pubescent sister who Bran dreams of boning, this band of outsiders travel to search for the Three-Eyed Crow. During this perilous journey, Bran began developing supernatural powers, such as warging, where he can jump into another living being’s consciousness and control them. But that is not the creepy part. Starving in the freezing cold, he also started developing a taste for human flesh, which he hunted by warging into his direwolf, Summer.
Against all odds, Bran succeeded in finding the Three-Eyed Crow and became his student. The Three-Eyed Crow teaches him about warging and greenseeing, the two gifts that Bran apparently possesses. It was then that Bran was fed a mysterious weirwood paste, which awakened his greenseeing abilities. The paste itself was described as being bone white in color and lined with red veins which looked remarkably like blood. After, when Bran looked for his friends, Jojen and Meera were missing.
Jojen is a greenseer. He can see the time of his death and it is told that lately he had been feeling extremely ill and depressed. Could it be that Jojen might have seen his end as the weirwood paste? Parallel it to Bran’s new fondness of human parts as food source, it would not be surprising if that was the case. But until GRRM decided to get his writing hat on and finish The Winds of Winter, we would never know.
3. Young Griff is the descendant of House Blackfyre
Fans of the series will be familiar with the tale of Gregor Clegane’s brutality when he killed the infant Aegon Targaryen. It is often recounted by various characters in the books that The Mountain murdered the infant by dashing his head against the wall, leaving an unrecognizable bloody pulp of bone, gore and hanks of fair hair. It was a widely-known whisper that Gregor himself had confirmed to be true. Therefore, when a blue-haired teenage hipster named Young Griff claimed to be the young prince in A Dance with Dragons, numerous theories started to go around like wildfire.
The theory that many have subscribed to is that this new ‘Aegon’ is not actually the son of Rhaegar Targaryen, instead being a descendant of the semi-extinct House Blackfyre. A brief history of the house tells the story of Daemon Blackfyre, the legitimized bastard son of King Aegon IV, who named the house after the legendary sword his father had bestowed him. When Aegon IV passed, Daemon started a rebellion to overthrow his half-brother, Daeron II, off the Iron Throne based on the rumors that the new king was not the son of Aegon IV. A civil war tore Westeros apart, which resulted in the death of Daemon and a body count of more than ten thousand. In years to come, two more rebellions were sparked by the exiled members of House Blackfyre, but it ended when the last male heir of the house was slain by Ser Barristan. However, the status of the female Blackfyre line remains unknown, many believing that there are still some living in Essos, which creates a strong possibility that Young Griff might be its descendant.
The explanation that is given in the books is that Varys had swapped the infant Aegon with a tanner’s son for a jug of Arbor Gold. The real Aegon was spirited away to safety while the poor man’s baby got savagely killed by Gregor Clegane. However it is important to note that in a series full of unreliable narrators, Varys is probably the last person to be trusted. Various fan theories indicate that Varys might be a Blackfyre descendant himself and that he is the brother of Serra, a Lysene prostitute with silver-streaked hair who was married to Illyrio Mopatis, and Aegon is in fact Illyrio’s son with Serra. Though it might be painful to think of the grossly gargantuan Illyrio as a breeder, we see that Tyrion was given elaborate boy’s garb when he stayed at Illyrio’s manse. The clothes that might have once belonged to Young Griff.
Additionally, this theory is supported by Quaithe’s warning to Daenerys to beware of ‘the mummer’s dragon’. This can be interpreted as Aegon being a fake, or the fact that Varys was a mummer and master actor in his youth. Either way, if Aegon and Varys turn out to be Blackfyre descendants, it would actually give Varys a better motif for his various slimy acts in trying to wreck havoc between the lords of the Seven Kingdoms, which is to exact vengeance for his fallen house.
Also, let’s be honest, baby swapping is an extremely lazy explanation.
2. Jon is the son of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark
Jon Snow was introduced to the series as the pretty-boy bastard of the honorable Ned Stark. Lord Stark was so honorable that it was a big surprise for everyone when he came back after war with a bastard son in tow. Various rumors about the identity of Jon’s mother swirl around the Stark stronghold, but none could be proven true. In A Game of Thrones, before departing for King’s Landing, Ned promised Jon that he would tell him the truth about his parentage, sparking numerous questions from fans. Parentage? Wait, what? However, in the true tradition of money-grubbing business, Ned got his head chopped off before revealing this information, spawning four and possibly two to ten more books for fans to nitpick on.
The most popular theory of Jon’s parentage would be R + L = J. If you do not know what that means, let me give you a little back story.
Ned’s father, Lord Rickard Stark fathered four children: Brandon, Eddard, Lyanna and Benjen. In her youth, Lyanna is described as being beautiful and high-spirited. She was betrothed to Robert Baratheon, who was deeply infatuated with her, but it was clear that she did not reciprocate his feelings. During the Tourney of Harrenhal, another man fell in love with the her. After winning the tournament, Prince Rhaegar caused a deadly controversy by passing his own wife to crown Lyanna as the Queen of Love and Beauty. Some time after, she was kidnapped from Winterfell by the prince and his knights. Brandon Stark, upon hearing about his sister’s abduction, marched to King’s Landing to retrieve her. Instead, he was captured by the Mad King and charged with treason. To save his son, Lord Rickard demanded trial by combat, which Aerys approved. He was then roasted alive in his armor, since the Targaryen King chose fire to be his champion. Soon after, Brandon was strangled to death while trying to save his father. These unfortunate chain of events sparked the War of the Usurpers that would end the Targaryen reign.
For the rest of his life, Robert believed that Rhaegar had snatched Lyanna and raped her. However, many fans believe that the two were actually in love. When Ned went to the Tower of Joy to rescue his sister, he found her on her deathbed, with blood all over her lower body. She begged him to promise her something, to which he complied. The memory of the encounter continued to haunt Ned until his death, but its content remains concealed.
Drawing from the timeline of Robert’s Rebellion’s, which lasted for almost a year, it is safe to assume that Lyanna might have conceived from Rhaegar. Her baby could possibly be the boy who we know as Jon Snow, and Ned might have promised to keep her child away from harm by pretending to be his father, since Robert would have killed Jon straightaway if he ever found out about his parentage. This fan theory has become so deep-rooted with the fans, that it is almost canon.
Personally, I find it quite ironic that in a sprawling epic that combines elements of fantasy, politics and history flawlessly, our most urgent interest is to find out the two people who fucked and produced Jon Snow.
1. Jon will lead an army of White Walkers against Daenerys and her dragons
In Jon’s last chapter in A Dance with Dragons, he was stabbed repeatedly by his brothers’ of the Night’s Watch. It remains ambiguous whether he survived the assault or not, but it can be assumed that he was indeed killed. However, having survived this long in the series, fans think it unlikely for Jon to remain dead. His character arc is not yet finished and many believe that he will return.
Since Stannis Baratheon stationed his army at the Wall, Melisandre had developed a particular interest (or disdain) for the young Lord Commander. While she was looking into her flames and asked to see Azor Ahai, she saw Jon’s face instead, surrounded by skulls. There is a huge divide in how this information is interpreted. While many think that Jon might be Azor Ahai, others believe that Melisandre’s vision shows Jon defeating the legendary hero.
Based on ancient texts from Asshai, Azor Ahai is a legendary hero who defeated the Others (aka White Walkers) by wielding a sword of fire. The red priestess believes Stannis to be Azor Ahai, but evidences from the books point to another person: Daenerys Targaryen. In A Feast for Crows, Maester Aemon’s explains that there was a slight error in the translation of the Azor Ahai prophecy. Everyone has been looking for a male Azor Ahai, but since the prophecy was made by dragons, who are neither male or female, Azor Ahai’s embodiment might not necessarily be that of a man. He believed that Daenerys possesses all the qualities of the ancient hero. First, she was born in Dragonstone, a castle perched on a volcanic island in the sea. Later, she survived the fire of Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre which triggered her three dragon eggs to hatch. The following morning, a Red Comet appeared in the sky, possibly marking the birth of Daenerys as Azor Ahai.
From that theory, we can surmise that while Daenerys is fire, Jon will be the ice. In A Dance with Dragons, Jon found himself repeatedly remembering Old Nan’s fairy tale about the Ice Dragon, which breathes freezing air instead of fire. Though Old Nan’s stories are often ridiculous, they almost always turn out to have some truth. The Ice Dragon is thought to be very powerful that its breath can kill three fire-breathing dragons in one go and the area where it landed will forever remain frozen and barren. It is unknown whether the Ice Dragon had ever existed in the Song of Ice and Fire world, but if it actually did and is actually still alive, what better place to hide a gigantic lizard than inside the Wall? The structure has remained solid for centuries, allegedly through the use of spells, and it has been established that dragons are extremely magical creatures. Jon thinking of the Ice Dragon is no co-incident. Fan theories explain that he will be reborn from the cold of the Wall’s icy crypt, where bodies of dead Night’s Watch brothers are stored, and go on to find the enchanted Horn of Winter to bring the Ice Dragon back to life. By bringing the dragon back to life, he will also seize command of the White Walker army.
I subscribe to the notion that it is Daenerys who will bring destruction upon Westeros, not the White Walkers. GRRM himself has pointed out that they are deeply misunderstood creatures, possibly alluding to the prospective qualities of Daenerys’ destruction theory. It seems that her impending arrival to Westeros might have caused the White Walkers to rise again to protect their land. Also, if we assume that R + L = J is canon, the possible final battle between Daenerys and Jon will somewhat mirror the familial civil war between the Targaryens and the Blackfyres, which occured generations before. To conclude, this theory points out that Jon will fulfill the prophecy of The Prince that was Promised, by using ice, and save Westeros from Daenerys’ fiery annihilation. It will be one epic battle.
Except, if Aegon ends up winning the Iron Throne, in which case the series will turn into a big blob of cheese. Or a bar of soap.
This article merely skims through a few interesting fan theories that have the likelihood of being canon. The world of Ice and Fire is truly one of the most gripping fantasy universe gracing the contemporary bookshelf. With its intensely ‘real’ characters, it is unsurprising to see how much time and effort devoted fans have put into forming these detailed theories. In reality, there are a plethora of other fascinating theories on various internet forums that fans can indulge on while waiting for the upcoming The Winds of Winter. They will definitely keep you interested in the series, even though it may take years for the next book to be released.
Source: Monika Ponjavić
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