Who will win the game of thrones? BORING. Let’s wonder about something more fun, like whether dragon poop will be essential to winning the fight against the Others.
Game of Thrones returns this Sunday to begin its long drive to an icy-fiery conclusion and while there is plenty of crazy on the way, we’re feeling the need to go deeper, to really fan the flame of our love for George R. R. Martin’s series and explore the really crazy theories that probably aren’t true…but maybe should be?
Anyway, we promised you dragon poop, so let’s get started.
Brief note of seriousness: This post will include spoilers for Game of Thrones seasons 1-6 and A Song of Ice and Fire books 1-5.
Theory #1: “Dragonglass” is actually just concentrated dragon poop.
The theory: About midway through the series our sweet-faced hero Samwell Tarly stabs an Other (icy, unrelenting zombies) with a dragonglass dagger and it frickin’ evaporates, putting truth to the tale that dragonglass has magical properties against whatever deathly power is animating and suffusing the Others.
Series canon states that dragonglass is actually just obsidian-with-magical-properties, but fan theory goes further and states that, hey, you know what gives that obsidian its magical properties? Maybe those fiery magical things that are (probably) also super effective against Others: dragons. Since dragon biology is super weird and full of question marks, it’s not hard to imagine a dragon’s digestive system functioning much like a kiln, compressing and firing its waste into what is basically obsidian. This fan theory has been around for a while, but Reddit user The_Others_Take_Ya gave it new life a few years back by assembling an impressively researched collection of detail from the books that could confirm such a theory.
Why the theory is right: Honestly, if you read that Reddit post there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence to support this! Pooping stones isn’t uncommon for animals (some birds ingest them on purpose in order to aid digestion) and while you need molten rock to produce obsidian, if any animal is going to have that inside of them then it would be a dragon.
The symbolic paralleling is strong in regards to the worldbuilding in the story, too. Fire against ice = Dragons against Others, so it’s not a stretch for that formula to encompass everything that a dragon produces. (Although: What would an Other produce that could evaporate a dragon?)
More to the point: It doesn’t matter if this theory is wrong or right. It wouldn’t affect the story either way, which makes it a perfect fan theory. It adds some color to the world, as well, by allowing the reader to replace the word “dragonglass” with “poop”. There’s a
dragonglass poop candle at the Citadel in Oldtown. Long ago, dragonglass poop daggers were gifted to the Night’s Watch by the Children of the Forest. Samwell stabbed that Other with dragonglass poop.
Why the theory is wrong: It’s probably not wrong? Until GRRM comes out and says so.
Theory #2: Ned Stark is alive (thanks to Jaqen H’ghar and/or Syrio) but doesn’t want to do anything?
The theory: Ned Stark lives! Jaqen H’ghar was in the Red Keep’s prison at the same time as Ned and Varys made a deal with Ned to have Jaqen swap Ned’s face onto a nameless prisoner (OR a Syrio-who-was-actually-captured-offscreen if you want to start bundling these theories) and fake Ned got killed while real Ned, um… Esquire has a concise round-up of this theory here.
Why the theory is right: Because Ned making a surprise return would make A Song of Ice and Fire REALLY crazy and this is a series known for its genuinely stunning surprises. Ned coming back is the last thing fans would genuinely expect. And with the Starks (seemingly) finally reuniting, what better time for Ned to return?
Also, the mechanics of Ned’s secret rescue are fairly sound, involving abilities we have seen in the series before. And were Ned’s survival to be revealed in a future book/season, then we’d get to anticipate just where and how he’ll show up. What would Ned be best suited to do with Westeros in its current Cersei-controlled state?
Why the theory is wrong: It would drain the tension out of the story and confuse the emotional arcs of a lot of the series’ characters. It also just doesn’t seem like Martin’s style, Lady Stoneheart not withstanding. Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire is essentially a period-drama-with-dragons, but it’s also an insightful commentary on the tropes of high fantasy; tropes that George R. R. Martin, a master of the sci-fi and fantasy genres, has proven adept at manipulating over the course of his career. The stunning return of a prominent hero is one such trope, and while Martin could bring Ned back as a way of commenting on that particular plot device, but he could also just use Lady Stoneheart for the same purpose.
Plus, bringing Ned back would invalidate the growth of a majority of the characters that Martin has painstakingly depicted over the course of decades. The loss of Ned defines the Starks: It has tossed Sansa from predator to predator, matured Jon, turned Arya into a murderer, and completely shattered their family. Ned’s return would drain the importance of those personal journeys, and that would drain a tremendous amount of tension out of the story itself.
Also, it would just be a nightmare to explain to the viewer/reader. Why the complicated face-swapping to save Ned? For what purpose? And where has he been this whole time? Ned’s return wouldn’t add anything to the story of Game of Thrones/ASOIAF, it would just produce another complicated mystery at a point where the series is answering questions and narrowing to a close.
Theory #3: All of George R. R. Martin’s stories, including ASOIAF, take place in a single universe
The theory: Much like Asimov and Heinlein and Brandon Sanderson, all of the novels and short stories and wild worlds that GRRM has written all take place in a single universe. Making it potentially possible for them to crossover or otherwise affect each other. In fan circles this is known as the “Thousand Worlds” theory. A reader by the name of Preston Jacobs put together an amazing video (with supporting documentation) back in 2015 that explains it:
Why the theory is right: Because it’s fun. And sneaky. And we appreciate the amount of theorycrafting that went into creating this kind of fun with one of our favorite book series. Also it allows us to make jokes like “Ned Stark died on the way back to his home planet”.
Why the theory is wrong: GRRM says. Although you should still watch the above video as the majority of it accurately describes the interconnected nature of a lot of Martin’s older sci-fi works, and is wonderfully informative.
Theory #4: Jon Snow and Meera Reed are Targaryen twinsies!
The theory: Since both Ned Stark and Howland Reed were present at the Tower of Joy when Lyanna gave birth to her super-secret-Targaryen-child…maybe she gave birth to twins? The theory operates off of the “Sibling Christmas present” rule: If Ned gets a Targaryen then Howland has to get one, too. This means the dragon does have three heads: Daenerys, Jon, and Meera. Also it explains why Meera is still alive beyond the whole “well SOMEONE needs to drag Bran through the snow” thing.
Why this theory is right: As the theory points out, Jon and Meera are actually the same age. And, at least in the TV show, they kind of look a lot like each other. Also, Bran’s world-spanning warg abilities are obviously going to make him a key participant in whatever ultimate fight occurs between humanity and the Others, and it may be that Meera will be there to defend or encourage him during a critical moment, making her presence critical even though her affect on the Westeros political stage is minor. In essence, even the non-noteworthy Targaryens are needed to fight back The Long Night.
Why this theory is wrong: We’ve now seen what happened in the Tower of Joy and, unless Bran’s vision forgot to pan to the right, there was only one baby.
Theory #5: Varys is Secretly a Merman
The theory: One time Varys said “The storms come and go, the waves crash overhead, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling.” Also how does he get everywhere so quickly and sneakily? MERMAN.
Why this theory is right: Because we have never read a truth brighter than this; it is the god-touched filament that anchors our souls.
Why this theory is wrong: Pffffff. Varys is a merman and nothing is wrong.
Wow, Game of Thrones/ASOIAF and crazy theories just go together, don’t they? Like peanut butter and jelly. (Remember how last season Arya was secretly dead the whole time?) Here are a few more theories, if you’re still in a playful mood, including a fairly convincing one about how Tyrion could technically be a Targaryen. Enjoy!