Bran is back, and arguably better than ever, on Game of Thrones this season. And, his visions are shedding light on some significant Stark family history and even some Winterfell history, like the fact that Hodor was once named Wylis and could talk! We also saw, via Bran’s vision, in the episode 3 what really went down when Ned saved his sister Lyanna, and the role Howland Reed actually played. So, what else are we going to learn from Bran’s Game of Thrones visions — other than Jon Snow’s parentage? What about Benjen? Will we finally find out what happened to Benjen Stark?
Benjen is Ned’s younger brother, and he was seen briefly in Season 1 as a member of the Night’s Watch, he is the reason his nephew Jon Snow went to the Wall. But, after three episodes, Benjen went off ranging and was never seen again, leaving his outcome a mystery. The same fate is sealed for Benjen in the book series, though now that the HBO show has passed where the characters left off in A Dance with Dragons, who knows? We may finally learn what happened to Benjen Stark. And, Bran’s visions, which already featured a young Benjen with his siblings in Episode 2, could hold more answers about this lost Stark. I mean, we've already seen more about Lyanna after that initial vision, so we could see more about Benjen, too.
So, we know Benjen went north of the Wall, never to be seen again. This mystery has led to a flurry of speculation about what happened to him. Here are some of the best Benjen Stark theories online.
Benjen Is Coldhands
In the book series, Coldhands is thought to be a fallen brother of the Night’s Watch. He appears dead like a white walker but wears Night’s Watch clothing and mysteriously helps members of the Night’s Watch. You could see why fans would think Benjen is Coldhands, but according to the Latin Times, George R.R. Martin debunked this theory. According to the article: “A reddit user [honeybird] discovered some handwritten notes on an original manuscript of A Dance with Dragons which is housed in the Cushing Library of Texas A&M. The margin notes were between Martin and his editor Anne Groell. In one note, Groell asks if Coldhands was Benjen, and Martin responded with a definitive, ‘No.’” So, that settles that.
Benjen Is Daario Naharis
I know what you’re thinking — These are two different actors/That doesn’t even make sense. Before explaining the theory, I will say this does make more sense in the context of the books. However, people think Benjen may be Daario because of the recasting of Daario’s character to look more Stark like. The theory was well explained by YouTube user RedTeamReview, who, long story short, laid out how Benjen may know Jon Snow’s parentage and have an alliance with Varys that would lead him to support the Targaryens or a Targaryen/Stark. In the book, this also makes more sense because Daario is a Tyroshi, who in the books, dye their hair strange colors and dress in odd clothes. Pretending to be a Tyroshi would be a good disguise.
Benjen Is Dead
Maybe dude went north of the Wall and died. Maybe dude went north of the Wall and is alive, but didn’t do anything that important, so HBO is going to kill him off. Let me be clear, an HBO death may not mean death in the book series. The show has killed off a lot of characters that are still kickin’ in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Hello, Myrcella.
Benjen Is A Plot Device
Benjen was a plot device to get Jon Snow to the Wall. That’s it.
Did Benjen Know Something About R+L=J?
Here’s where Bran’s visions could come in, if Benjen knew about Jon Snow’s parentage or saw something as a child between Lyanna and Rhaegar this could lead to a lot of twists and surprises during season 6.
Wherever Benjen is now, or was as a boy, I hope his story is revealed at some point and via Bran's visions seems like the best way to make that happen.
Images: Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO, Macall B. Polay/courtesy of HBO, Giphy (3)