Blame George R.R. Martin. It's his fault for embellishing his world with the kind of rich detail that makes you think everything is a hint or a knowing wink. Since people can adopt puppies and watch them die of old age between the release of each book, voracious fans have had no recourse but to fill those years by digging through existing material and continuing to fill out the world with their own ideas. Game of Thrones fan theories has now usurped pornography as the thing that takes up most of the internet. It's to the point where a lot of these theories are stale, or just accepted as fact. It's no longer controversial to say Ned Stark isn't Jon Snow's father, Tyrion is a Targaryen or Stannis Baratheon is secretly a praying mantis.

So instead of going over the more popular suppositions, we decided to dig up some of the more obscure fan theories that still have a hint of credibility. If you haven't read all of the books, this is spoiler country.



6. Cersei will be murdered by her own son

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There's a big moment in the fourth book, a Feast for Crows, that explains a ton about Cerse Lannister's motivations. It comes when Cersei remembers a day from her childhood, the day she employed the services of a not-at-all sketchy fortune teller called Maggy the Frog. When Cersei asked if she would one day be a queen, Maggy warbled through the phlegm in her throat: "Queen you shall be... until there comes another, younger and more beautiful..." *hocks loogie* "...to cast you down and take all that you hold dear." Since one of Maggy's other, very specific predictions came true, Cersei has been paranoid about this beautiful usurper for years. That's why she's been such a dick to Sansa Stark and Margery Tyrell.

But Maggy's most stirring wart-fueled prediction describes Cersei's death: "And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you." So she's got that goin' for her.

Most of the Maggy-related discussions center on just who the murderous "valonqar" will be. Cersei hates Tyrion's Emmy Award-winning guts, so she assumes that he's the one that plans to strangle her. She does have a good reason, beyond all the unfounded venom -- the word "valonqar" translates from Valyrian-Klingon to "little brother", which applies to Tyrion in more than one way. But it can't be that obvious, so the next in line is Jaime Lannister -- he's Cersei's twin, but technically born after her, hence "little brother." Jaime becoming the valonqar and killing Cersei would be a fitting end to a tumultuous relationship.

But wait, Maggy said that Cersei would be killed by "the valonqar," not "your valonqar." Which leaves the door wide open for...

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Yep, cute little Tommen. Adorable and innocent as he is, it's possible that the mounting pressure of the throne could drive him to inbred madness, causing him to snap and strangle his own mother. Then again, Maggy the Frog did reference Cersei's future children "Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds," indicating that she'll see her children die. And maybe she will. But by then it will be winter. It's very possible that her son's corpse will rise again as a white walker and put her in a permanent sleeper hold.


5. Azor Ahai is a Snow (no, not that one)undefined

Melisandre never shuts up about the Lord of Light, R'hllor. She's obsessed with the idea that R'hllor has reincarnated the great hero Azor Ahai in the form of Stannis Baratheon, and that he'll lead the fight against the darkness and save everyone from Tommen ice zombies. But many fans believe that Azor Ahai will turn out to be someone else entirely, like Jon Snow. His rumored lineage, prophetic dreams and the Azor-like sacrifices he's made make him a pretty decent candidate.

But they might have the wrong bastard.

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Ramsay Snow, illegitimate son of Roose "Nice Day for a Red Wedding" Bolton. This torture-loving prick came in second to Joffrey in Westeros' Next Top Sadist. Why even bother spending several books and TV seasons building him up by making him flay Theon Greyjoy? What's the endgame with the kind of merciless, unlovable henchman you see in a Saw movie? He could simply be a plot device to which "Reek" will test his mettle, but it would make way more sense if  Ramsay turned out to be Azor Ahai reborn.

At one point, Melisandre says she has visions of "snow," and if she thought that might mean Jon Snow she'd already have had his demon ghost babies by now; she's confused because she hasn't met the right Snow. Admit it, making you root for a shitheel like Ramsay sounds exactly like something George R. R. Martin would do.


4. Bran Stark ate Jojen Reed

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With Bran (and more importantly, Hodor) sitting out season five of the show, there's a lot of time for that plotline to stew. Man, stew sounds good right about now. What was it that Bran ate in the caves with the tree-guy in A Dance With Dragons? Here it is: "The red veins were only weirwood sap, he supposed, but in the torchlight they looked remarkably like blood. He dipped the spoon into the paste, then hesitated." Blood? Whose blood? Who would even have blood to spare?

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Oh, that's right. Though it happens differently in the books than the show, either way Jojen is more or less done by the time Bran meets the Greenseer. So why even feed him the remains, anyway? That seems grotesque and unnecessary. The Children of the Forest didn't have any GoGurt laying around?

Tree-guy explains the red paste: "This will help awaken your gifts and wed you to the trees." Okay, so fake yogurt in a tube might not do it. If they did want to activate Bran's power, maybe they could use the blood of someone who does (or did) have gifts. Jojen fits the bill, as he was shown to have the ability to see the future. I wonder if he knew he'd go great with crackers.


3. Daario Naharis is a Stark

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Identity is a common  theme in the World of Ice and Fire. Pretty much everyone has their own secret self -- Sansa has gone under a fake name for a while, just as Arya and the Hound roamed the countryside cosplaying as the father/daughter couple from Major Dad. Even Barristan Selmy went by Oldguy McCloakington for a while before he revealed himself to Daenerys. If a khaleesi can be fooled once, she could be again. And what better man to do it than her manfriend Daario Naharis?

Daario's swarthy mystique has intrigued many and aroused many more, inspiring tons of theories about his true identity. Many have said that he's Euron Greyjoy, the swashbuckling uncle of Theon. Euron doesn't look like he'll be in the TV show any time soon, but Daario is still the mix, which makes it look like there's a larger plan in store for him. Still, if we think Daario could be someone we know in disguise, it would have to be someone we haven't seen in a while...

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Remember that guy? Beginning of the very first book, seen for about three episodes in the TV show? Benjen Stark, brother of Ned and uncle to a gaggle of dead and/or scattered children. He went out ranging, but was never seen again. Did he lose his way in the wild? Did he get eaten by white walkers? Did he find a really sweet barcade and lost track of time and forgot to text everyone? Maybe, just maybe, he sailed around the world and changed his face to woo the Queen of Dragons. Some think this explains why they recast Daario in the TV show, because initially he looked too much like a surfer and not enough like a surly Stark. At some point George R. R. Martin isn't going to have any Starks left to kill, so he's going to have to bring one back.

(UPDATE: This was written back before Benjen's big reveal in season six of Game of Thrones. There's still hope in the books, however!)


2. Hodor

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Hodor Hodor Hodor, Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor -- Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor. "Hodor Hodor Hodor!" Hodor Hodor. Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor: Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor; Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor; Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor; Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor. Hodor? Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor.

Hodor...

Hodor Hodor, Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor. Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor -- Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor -- Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor, Hodor Hodor Hodor. Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor. Hodor, Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor. Hodor Hodor, Hodor, Hodor Hodor, Hodor, Hodor, Hodor, Hodor Hodor Hodor. Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor. Hodor! Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor. Hodor Hodor, Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor, Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor.

Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor


1. Jon Snow isn't a Targaryen, but he knows someone who isundefined

The most popular, most prevailing and all in all most likely fan theory is the one referred to as "L + R = J." Basically, Jon Snow's real mother is Ned's sister Lyanna Stark, and her father is Daenerys' older brother, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Since Robert Baratheon killed Rhaegar before he became king and would smash the shit out of any royal babies that would challenge his right to the throne, Lyanna made her brother pledge to keep Jon safe by claiming him as his own. That's what all the stuff about "Promise me, Ned" means. The theory has a lot of evidence, and fills in a lot of holes in the history of Jon Snow and Westeros at large.

Too bad it's wrong. There's a dark horse for Targaryenhood...

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Good ol' Samwell Tarly. Sam the Slayer, as he's called by his comrades and lovers.  He's about an unlikely a Targ as they get, but let's look at the details. People think that Daenerys' vision of "A blue flower growing from a chink in a wall of ice, filling the air with sweetness" implicates Jon Snow, but it could just as easily point to his brother of the Night's Watch. Sam's dad hates him and refuses to make him the heir, which could be the result of his unmanly love of books (which coincidentally, Rhaegar Targaryen also shares), but also could be because he wasn't born a Tarly.

Sam also has a lot in common with Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Like Samwise, Samwell is a loyal sidekick to the hero (Jon Snow), sort of goofy and unassuming but eventually proves himself with heroic acts (stabbing white walkers). And really, even J.R.R. Tolkien thinks that Samwise was the real hero of the LotR trilogy. Why couldn't Samwell be the same for A Song of Ice and Fire?

It might sound like a stretch, but put yourself in George R. R. Martin's fancy orthopedic shoes: If you were setting someone up to be an unlikely hero, would you make him the prettyboy action star? Or would you choose the chubby kid that looks like a younger version of you?