Winter is coming, but unfortunately we're going to have to wait a while for our next hit of Westeros madness. Season 7 of Game of Thrones won't premiere for months, and we're still waiting for George R.R. Martin to finish The Winds of Winter (if he doesn't drop the book in a Beyoncé-style surprise release, he's missing a huge opportunity). So what's a rabid Song of Ice and Fire fan to do while we wait? Well, we could get on with our lives and read other fantasy books... or we could sit around concocting fan theories. So here are some of the weirdest, wildest, most plausible ASOIAF fan theories to date.
Now, I'm not talking about your vanilla, run-of-the-mill theories, like Jon Snow being the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. If you don't already know that Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, you might want to take this time to go and read the five existing Song of Ice and Fire books. I'll wait. Ready? OK.
These theories are a little more out there, and some of them might be a bit of a stretch—but some of them also might be totally brilliant. Because the one thing we know about George R.R. Martin is that he can always surprise us (that, and kill off our favorite characters in interesting ways). Spoilers ahead:
1. Tyrion is a Targaryen
Here's a short cut to coming up with your very own ASOIAF theory: pick a character (any character) and claim that they're secretly a Targaryen. But the idea that Tyrion is a low-key Targaryen holds a little more water than you might think. The Mad King Aerys openly lusted after Joanna Lannister, after all—what if he actually impregnated her, and Tyrion is his secret son? Tywin would be pretty relieved.
2. Jon is actually Aerys’ son
Poor Jon Snow. So confused. OK, I know that we all know that Jon is secretly a Targaryen... but what if Rhaegar still isn't his biological daddy? What if nasty King Aerys also went after Lyanna Stark, and Prince Rhaegar locked her away to protect her from his father? It's a stretch, but that would make Jon, Tyrion, and Dany a trio of weird, dysfunctional siblings. Aww.
3. Bran ate Jojen
The TV show kills off Jojen Reed onscreen. But in the books, Jojen makes it to the Three-Eyed Crow along with Bran, Meera, and Hodor... and then Jojen just kind of disappears. And Bran is fed a bloody-tasting paste to activate his Greenseer powers. So poor, psychic Jojen, who always knew how he was going to die, might have sacrificed himself to give Bran his powers. The Old Gods don't mess around.
4. Jon and Meera are twins
...and they're both secret Targaryens! Well, maybe. What if Lyanna had twins, a boy and a girl, and Ned took the boy (Jon) and entrusted the girl (Meera) to his BFF Howland Reed? Howland was there at the time... but it seems like a pretty big stretch. And a very Star Wars twist.
5. There are dragons under Winterfell
Are the Winterfell hot springs caused by secret dragons? Bran does see a weird, "winged snake" rise up from the flames when Ramsay torches Winterfell, but he's looking through Summer's eyes, so who knows what that really means. There is a legend in the North that Winterfell sits on a clutch of dragon eggs, from Good Queen Alysanne Targaryen’s dragons in the distant past. Or maybe Jon Snow is a metaphorical dragon at Winterfell, because he's a secret Targaryen??
6. Ned’s not dead
I mean... he is dead. Ned is dead. But this theory posits that Ned, like his son Bran, has warg abilities. Did he warg into Ser Ilyn Payne just before he was executed? Probably not... but we can dream.
7. The cat that Arya chases is a Targaryen
Guys... maybe cool it on the Targaryen theories? I mean, sure, the mean old black cat that Arya chases around the Red Keep is very probably Balerion, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen's little black kitten. But the theory that Princess Rhaenys warged into the kitten just before her death seems like... a lot.
8. A second moon caused the Doom of Valyria
OK, but listen: there's that whole myth in Essos that the world once had two moons, right? In the story, the second moon got too close to the sun and cracked open, releasing dragons on the world. Sure. But what if the world really did have two moons many centuries ago, and the second moon really was destroyed by a passing asteroid or something. The debris from the second moon rained down on Old Valyria, causing the mysterious, cataclysmic Doom of Valyria. And, AND, if this planet originally had two moons, but now only has one, it would destabilize the planet's orbit to some degree... causing the seasons to be thrown out of whack. Hence why Westeros has ridiculously long seasons, but still has the concept of a calendar year from a distant past in which seasons were normal. You're welcome.
9. Aegon Targaryen is a fake
In the TV adaptation, Varys is Team Daenerys all the way, and Aegon isn't even a character. But in the books, Varys supposedly helped save baby Aegon Targaryen (legitimate son of Prince Rhaegar) and spirit him away to Essos, to be groomed for a future take over. What if this Aegon is not a secret Targaryen, though? He might be the son of Illyrio Mopatis and his late wife, who was said to have the signature white-blonde hair of the Targaryens.
10. Jaime is the Valonqar
As a kid, little Cersei Lannister went to hear her fortune from a witch called Maggy the Frog. Maggy told her that she'd become queen, but that she'd one day be replaced by a younger and more beautiful queen (definitely Daenerys, but Cersei clearly thinks it's Margaery Tyrell). Maggy also says that "the valonqar" will wrap his hands around her neck and choke her to death. "Valonqar" means younger brother in High Valyrian, hence Cersei being shady around Tyrion all the time... but it could also be her slightly younger twin brother (and lover) Jaime, using his one hand and the hand-chain worn by the Hand of the King to strangle her.
11. Quaithe is a time-traveling future Dany
Remember Quaithe? The weird lady in the wooden mask who loves to say cryptic things to Daenerys? So far, most of her strange prophecies and warnings have come true. But why does she wear that mask? Could she be a future Daenerys who's time traveled back to warn her about things? Probably not, because then she'd be a lot clearer. But who knows.
12. Mirri Maz Duur’s prophecy is coming true
Oh, Dany. People love to spit prophecies at her. Mirri Maz Duur was that witchy women who caused the stillbirth of Daenerys and Drogo's son, and who Daenerys burned at the stake. Mirri Maz Duur promised that Drogo will return to Dany, "When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east. When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child." Well (in the books), Quentyn Martell, heir to Dorne and represented by a sun sigil, travels from the west to the east and dies. The Dothraki Sea dries up in a drought. And Dany has some kind of uterine bleeding. Does that mean that we can expect a new Targaryen baby, or a return of Drogo in some form?
13. Bran drove the Mad King mad
We don't yet know the full extent of Bran's powers. This theory goes that Bran goes back in time (or something) and tries to reason with King Aerys, but the Mad King doesn't understand what's happening and instead goes insane. The whole "burn them all" thing could have been Bran trying to explain that the army of the dead must be burned. But that means that Bran started this whole mess by himself. Nice going, Bran.
14. The Dragon has three heads
The Targaryen sigil is a three-headed dragon, and it seems like the world is going to need a "Three-Headed Dragon" (or rather, a trinity of rulers) to save humanity from the Others. That's what dream Rhaegar and those Warlocks seem to think, anyway. Dany must be one of them... girl's the mother of dragons, what more do you need? But who will be her two consorts? Jon Snow, secret son of Rhaegar, after he's brought back to life? Tyrion? Aegon? Bran? Who knows... we're just going to have to wait for that next book to find out.
Images: HBO, Giphy (14)