Crypts, Dark Family Secrets, & Ice Zombies – My Game of Thrones Tinfoil Theories

This week: Episode 2.

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms was a slow episode that will be remembered more fondly as time goes by. Reminiscent of the quiet moments leading up to Blackwater, complete with a melancholy song sung by Pod, it felt like a farewell. This may be the last time we see these characters alive and well. When it’s over, we will return to this episode to mourn, and remember them as they were.

It’s all going to go down from here. Next week, the White Walkers finally hit Winterfell, and I don’t expect the pace to slow until the end.

Like everyone else, I have some wild theories about what’s going to go down. Let’s put on our tinfoil hats and throw our bets!

SPOILER WARNING FOR THE WHOLE SHOW, THE BOOKS,
YOUR LIFE, AND YOUR MOM

Disclaimer: these theories are not wholly my own. I read a lot of forums that figure stuff out for me. This is my tinfoil Frankenstein.

They’re going to lose Winterfell.

No way around it. I fully expect them to get stomped and smothered in the next episode – a lot of secondary characters are going to die, anyone left alive is going to flee to the Iron Islands.

This is going to happen because the Night King frees the dead Starks from the crypts

Hi. Yes. Hello? Like 25% of this show has been harping about how the Starks collect their dead in tunnels under their sheds. The Night King raises the dead. How are none of them considering this angle?

Also if a Game of Thrones episode says 22 times that “there’s no safer place than..”, you can bet it’s going to be the most dangerous place immediately in the next episode.

It’s worth noting that the crypts are frequently described as freezing (remarked as strange, since Winterfell sits over hot-springs that warm the rest of the castle). The bodies are likely well-preserved, unless they’d already significantly decayed before reaching there – like Ned, who had gone down to the bones.

He may do this because Winterfell is actually really hard to capture

It’s been said that Winterfell could defend against 10,000 men with 500. In the books, it’s surrounded by a moat (wights can’t swim) sandwiched by two walls. Theon was only able to take it because he knew the castle well, he was a familiar face, and it was left mostly unattended. Every other battle we’ve seen there has taken place outside – we’ve never seen a successful siege.

That’s not to say the walkers couldn’t take it, but a much easier way to go about it would be to raise a bunch of dead Starks to take them out from the inside. Every person they kill is another in their army, and the death would spread like a disease.

But there’s more to it than that, because the dead Starks may not come back as wights.

They may come back as white walkers. Or something in between.

He was walking through the crypts beneath Winterfell, as he had walked a thousand times before. The Kings of Winter watched him pass with eyes of ice, and the direwolves at their feet turned their great stone heads and snarled. Last of all, he came to the tomb where his father slept, with Brandon and Lyanna beside him. “Promise me, Ned,” Lyanna’s statue whispered. She wore a garland of pale blue roses, and her eyes wept blood.

A Game of Thrones – Eddard XIII

A lot of hints have suggested that the Starks, as we know them, are not only related to the walkers, but descendants of them. In the books, they’re constantly referred to as different from most men, that ice runs in their veins, and they’re more resistant to the cold.

This would be fitting. There’s so much talk about how the Targaryens have dragon’s blood, why wouldn’t the Starks have the blood of the Others, if this is A Song of Ice and Fire?

The last the world’s seen of the white walkers was at the end of The Long Night. Stories of how the war ended depend on who you ask, but it’s interesting that it was at this tipping point that House Stark appeared.

Could House Stark have been founded on a marriage between man and walker? Was this house part of the truce that ended the conflict?


Consider, too, that ancient Starks were bloodthirsty conquerors that behaved much the way the walkers do. Their dominion over the north was contested for years before they took out their opponents and became the undisputed rulers of the north that they are now. Many of the bodies buried in the crypts are Kings of Winter, more akin to rulers like Joffrey or The Mad King than the docile Ned Stark we’re familiar with.

It makes sense that the walkers would want to insure they still had one foot in control of the north (there must always be a Stark in Winterfell). This could be in part because they will always feel that it’s their territory, or to have a ruler they can insure will hold the truce arrangements.

If you think that’s far-fetched, consider the original story of the Night’s King – a much different character in the books than the show:

The original story was that a Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch married a white walker, and it was implied they had children. They ruled the north for a number of years, submitting sacrifices to the white walkers just as Craster was doing with all his male sons. They were ultimately overthrown by Brandon Stark – the Breaker.

A woman was his downfall; a woman glimpsed from atop the Wall, with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars. Fearing nothing, he chased her and caught her and loved her, though her skin was cold as ice, and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well. He brought her back to the Nightfort and proclaimed her a queen and himself her king, and with strange sorceries he bound his Sworn Brothers to his will.

A Storm of Swords – VVI Bran
Night’s King by Oriana Wiesner

Rumors were that the Night’s King was a Stark, brother to Brandon the Breaker, but no one can be sure because Brandon saw to it that the Night King’s name would never be remembered.

After his fall, when it was found he had been sacrificing to the Others, all records of Night’s King had been destroyed, his very name forbidden.

“Some say he was a Bolton,” Old Nan would always end. “Some say a Magnar out of Skagos, some say Umber, Flint, or Norrey. Some would have you think he was a Woodfoot, from them who ruled Bear Island before the ironmen came. He never was. He was a Stark, the brother of the man who brought him down.” She always pinched Bran on the nose then, he would never forget it. “He was a Stark of Winterfell, and who can say? Mayhaps his name was Brandon. Mayhaps he slept in this very bed in this very room.”

A Storm of Swords – VVI Bran

While the character has changed in the show, it’s likely that the history is the same, perhaps by a character with a different name. The child sacrifice is key.

What would Brandon Stark have done with a child rescued from being sacrificed? Would he have killed it? Given it over?

Or would he have taken it and raised it as his own, just as Ned Stark had done with Jon Snow, or Samwell Tarly has done with Gilly’s baby (who was meant the same fate)?

To answer this, we must decipher why Brandon was called “The Breaker” – what did he break?

Every legendary character has a title and a story behind the title. Was Brandon called the Breaker because he overthrew the Night’s King?

Or was he called the Breaker because he broke an agreement between the white walkers and the world of man?

The sacrifices could have been what drove Brandon the Breaker to fight the Night’s King in the first place – in which case, it would make sense that he would take a found child and raise it as his own, just as Ned and Samwell have done.

So, even if the Starks weren’t founded on a marriage agreement with the walkers, this introduces a second way that white walker blood could have come into the family line.

The sacrifices were continued north of the wall regardless, until they weren’t.

The details here are admittedly scant. We only know that the sacrifices continued because Craster was making them until he was killed. His last son – Gilly’s child – was saved from sacrifice, and it wasn’t until this happened that the white walkers began their march. The most important thing to be gleaned here is that the bloodline is not specific as to what children are given to the walkers.

Whoever continued the sacrifices between the fall of the Night’s King and Craster, we’ll probably never know.

Regardless, it’s safe to say that any agreement between man and the white walkers has been forgotten. Just as the name of the Night’s King had been forgotten, thanks to Brandon the Breaker.

But the north remembers.

Oh boy, do they remember.

The white walkers haven’t forgotten the agreement, and they haven’t forgotten that they consider “the north” their own. If they consider the north their own, and if their truce has been made with the Starks – who possibly share their blood, then surely they consider the dead in the crypts their own as well.

So what’s up with the Starks and their crypts?

People die in Westeros all the time – no other family but the Starks are so insistent on retrieving the bodies of their own to bury in the crypts. There was an entire subplot in the earlier seasons revolving around getting Ned’s bones back.

The bodies are placed with iron swords to “keep vengeful spirits within their tombs”.

This can easily be dismissed as ancient tradition, but what if it’s not? We currently assume that the crypts are safe, because they’ll have some magical woo-woo that will keep the walkers out – like the wall.

But what if the crypts are actually intended to keep something contained?

We have two Starks that have died within the realm of the walker’s power – Jon Snow, and Benjen Stark. Both of these men came back, not quite as wights, not quite as walkers, but something… else. Something in between. Something that remembers, which could be what the northern saying is referring to.

We’re led to believe that Melisandre brought Jon back, but how do we know that wasn’t just a coincidence in timing? He didn’t immediately spring up. In fact, she thought she’d failed. What if she did? What if she had nothing to do with it?

Benjen resisted the thrall of the walkers because the children of the forest drove a piece of dragonglass into his chest. But he rose remembering, not as a mindless wight as others have.

Jon Snow is half Targaryen, with the blood of a dragon in his veins. Could that have the same effect as the dragonglass?

What of the other dead Starks? What will they do, if raised by the walkers with no dragon’s blood or glass to subdue them? If they’re raised, who will they fight for?

Perhaps the ancient Starks always knew that they would be raised, and that’s why they began their tradition of keeping them all in one place. Maybe they kept the bodies of their own safe and preserved for the day that the white walkers would return to take back the north. This could have been a thing that early Starks wanted.

It could even be part of the agreement, as a payment in case the truce to sacrifice children was broken. If man did not hold up their end of the agreement to provide the walkers with children to convert, then the walkers would come to take back the Kings of Winter, their kin, and begin another Long Night.

And what if there’s something else in the crypt that belongs to the walkers…?

Again, I refer to the original story of the Lord Commander that married a white walker woman. We have yet to see a single woman marching in their ranks – what if there was only ever one?

Without her, it would make sense that they would need children offered for them to reproduce. Is it possible that the Night Queen is buried somewhere deep within the crypts?

Perhaps she was held as hostage by the First Men. Or, maybe, this was but an earlier cycle of a familiar story we already know – the story of a princess who falls in love with the wrong man and starts a war based on misunderstanding, like Lyanna and Rhaegar.

Maybe the truce wasn’t between man and walker, but between the walkers and their Queen who wanted to leave.

The Night’s Queen by Sandra Winther

So, anyway, back to the present and what’s going to happen moving forward.

Let’s not forget about Cersei.

We didn’t see her at all in episode 2. At all. I highly doubt we won’t hear from her for a second episode in a row. Will she be stupid enough to send her fancy new army to squish the Starks, further feeding the undead army and driving their defeat?

Or will they simply be laying in wait for anyone who tries to escape?

Someone will be turned to white walker.

I’m 100% sure of it, and if it doesn’t happen, tables will be flipped.

I don’t know when, I don’t know who, but I would be shocked if we don’t see a major character turned before the show is over. My bet is currently on Jon, who will try to kill the Night King himself and fail miserably.

While the dragon’s blood may have prevented him from falling to their call when he was raised, I doubt that it will prevent him from being turned if touched directly. He will need to be killed, and I bet Dany will be the one to do it.

This would fulfill the prophecy that Azor Ahai (who I think is Dany) must kill the one they love to bring about the endless summer.

But, still, if the walkers are after a Night’s Queen, maybe it will be Daenerys after all.

The walkers will make it as far as King’s Landing.

This will be the final showdown, and they will overrun the city. My thoughts here aren’t fully fleshed out, but I expect:

  • Bronn will down the ice dragon with the dragonkiller.
  • Bran is going to do some crazy wargy shit, and I totally want him to warg into The Mountain who is the most Hodor-esque character we’ve got.
  • Wargy shit + something something = Going back in time to cause The Mad King screaming, “Burn them all!”. The current relevance will be the use of the remaining wildfyre in King’s Landing to wipe out the white walkers, but also destroying most of the city in the process.
  • Jamie, of course, will kill Cersei.
  • Danaerys will finally take the throne, but she’ll take it alone. The only thing she’ll have to remember Jon is the baby she’s carrying in her belly.

And she will be the Queen of Ashes.


I fully expect to change my mind about all of this in another week, but this is what I’m thinking now! Look forward to returning next week to gloat about how wrong I got everything.

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