'Game of Thrones' Just Confirmed One Popular Stark Theory

The past, present and future of Westeros resides in House Stark's cold hands.
Courtesy of Helen Sloan/HBO

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from episode six of the sixth season of Game of Thrones, "Blood of My Blood."]

In George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, the novel series on which Game of Thrones is based, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) receives assistance in his travels beyond the Wall from a man called Coldhands — a hooded figure who resides somewhere between the realms of the dead and the living.

The character first appears in the books as Bran and his company work their way toward meeting the Three-Eyed Raven. His absence on the show during Bran's season four storyline left many fans wondering if Coldhands would ever appear at all — but finally, at long last, he did, and he came equipped with a familiar name: Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle), First Ranger of the Night's Watch and Bran's long-lost uncle.

Benjen's return in "Blood of My Blood," the sixth episode of the show's sixth season, comes right at the height of the howling winds of winter, as several Starks have started swarming together. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) reunited two episodes ago, with their combined eye toward rescuing their brother Rickon (Art Parkinson) and reclaiming their home at Winterfell. Bran was destined to return south at some point, and equally likely to join with his siblings, but his reunion with Benjen marks a different kind of homecoming for House Stark. It's the resurgence of an earlier generation, an older-school set of Starks that know a thing or two about the bitter cold ways of the world, right when the show's heroes need that perspective most.

Benjen, who now hovers somewhere between man and wight due to injuries sustained by White Walkers and magical healing enacted by the Children of the Forest, truly holds the future of Westeros in his cold hands. In "The Door," the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) tells Bran, "The time has come for you to become me." Benjen, a disciple of the Raven who seemingly knows a thing or two about his purpose, speaks about Bran as though he is the Raven reborn. Given the power levels the young Stark exhibited throughout season six, it's plain as day that Bran will play a key role in the war to come and may also play a role in wars already waged.

But Bran's uncle isn't the only older Stark whose hands viewers should focus on, even if everyone is understandably excited about the resolution of one of the show's longest-running mysteries. A closer look at Bran's visions at the start of the episode offers some interesting new insight into theories born in the past and crucial for the future. One of those visions was especially eye-catching: Mad King Aerys Targaryen (David Rintoul) commanding Jaime Lannister to "burn them all," only to die at the so-called Kingslayer's hands moments later. The Mad King's fluorescent green obsession was bound to draw the eye, but it lures viewers away from an even more important reveal about Bran's father.

In the vision, young Ned Stark (Robert Aramayo) once again stands at the Tower of Joy, asking about his sister. A split-second later, we see a blood-covered hand, seemingly belonging to Ned based on the coloring of the wristguard, hovering over a bloody belly. Is this Ned's sister Lyanna, sporting a surgical incision? If so, it further fuels the long-standing theory that Lyanna died at the Tower of Joy giving life to her secret Targaryen offspring, a man we all know as Jon Snow.

Fans were hoping, if not outright expecting, to see Jon's birth at the Tower of Joy scene earlier this season, and while it didn't come to pass, Bran's vision of what very well could be Lyanna's body suggests the reveal is on its way. In other words, it's not just House Stark's cold hands that filled this episode of Thrones with joy, but the bloody ones as well.

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