It has been a long, long time since the Stark family had any reason to hope. The last time they were truly happy was in the pilot when they were all still together in Winterfell, waiting for King Robert to arrive. However, a new theory suggests that things took a dark turn for them even back then when they seemed so happy — and as devastating as that thought might be, I gotta say, it's a compelling thought. One sharp-eyed Reddit user, Nanas_mic, realized something curious about that fateful scene at Winterfell in the pilot, when Robert greeted Ned's family: It seems that every Stark Robert touched has since died in the series. So, like, did Robert predict the Stark deaths in the pilot episode? My mind, it is blown.
Since it has been six years since the pilot aired, here is a quick refresher of the scene for you: Robert arrives and first embraces Ned, then he kisses Catelyn, ruffles Rickon's hair, and shakes Robb's hand. He greets Sansa, Arya, and Bran too, but doesn't touch them. Meanwhile, Jon is not allowed to stand with his family and is in the second row, far away from Robert. Is it a coincidence that the four Starks Robert touched are the four who have died? Maybe, but if it isn't a coincidence, then this could be a bad news, good news situation — because if Robert's curse was real, then Sansa, Arya, Jon, and Bran are safe. I don't know about you, but after watching little Rickon die at the hands of Ramsay, it would be a relief to know no more Stark deaths are coming.
Watch the scene again, and notice that in addition to the Starks he touches, he also tells Bran he will "be a soldier" one day. Maybe Robert's words were poisoned too, because it was not long after Robert's promise that Jaime shoved Bran out of a window, effectively paralyzing him from the waist down. I hate to say it, but Robert may have inadvertently been a one man Stark tragedy creating machine.
In truth, Robert's very presence is what pulled the otherwise strong family unit of the Starks apart. Had Robert never visited Winterfell to ask Ned to be his new Hand, Bran never would have been pushed from the window, Sansa and Arya would not have went to King's Landing, and Ned would likely still have his head. Robert was a literal curse on the Stark family, even if the touch of death theory proves to be wrong in the future.
Since it is too late to go back in time and warn Rickon and Robb to avoid Robert's cursed touch, the best fans can hope for is the four remaining Stark children will make it to the end. They have proven to be resilient so far. Even without the use of his legs, Bran has survived North of the Wall despite the constant threat of White Walkers — then, you've got Jon, who was brought back from the dead, Arya, who survived a brutal stabbing, and Sansa, who lived not only through Joffrey's reign, but also Ramsay's torture of her. The last four Starks standing — and yes, even if R + L = J, Jon is still a Stark by blood — have proven to be much harder to take down than Robb, Catelyn, Ned, and poor Rickon.
It's spooky to think the writers could have placed such a dark easter egg in the show's first episode. Four Starks may very well have been doomed from the start. Those are some seriously on-point plotting skills. Coincidence or a carefully scripted scene, it will now be impossible not to watch the series' first episode without cringing as Robert makes his way down the line of Starks who had no idea how soon winter would be coming for their family.
If Robert's Curse is true and it really did lead to the downfall of the Starks, though, don't worry: now that Jon and Sansa have retaken Winterfell, and Arya and Bran appear to each be heading home, the curse could finally be over. It's long past time for the Starks to rise again.
Images: HBO (5)