I was one of those people who waited until after watching The Lord of Rings before trying to read it. Roughly a fourth of the way through The Fellowship of the Ring, I decided that the most profound difference between the books and the films was that if you took the number of speaking roles in Peter Jackson’s adaptation and multiplied them by 10, you would have a near enough number of how many characters are in J.R.R. Tolkein’s magnum opus. Almost a decade later, I began reading A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin – the “American Tolkein,” per Time magazine – in between seasons one and two of its hit HBO adaptation, Game of Thrones. I loved the show and I really liked Martin’s books, but they had the same issue that the LotR books have: characters from the adaptation times 10 equals the number of book characters.
I have now been reading ASoIaF on and off for at least seven years. As of this writing, I have three chapters left in A Feast for Crows. I should be finished with A Dance with Dragons by no later than 2023. My attention span has gotten considerably worse as I’ve gotten older and finishing books has become a chore, even when they are good. Sometimes I’ll set something down for so long that I’ll forget what’s going on in the story and have to start over; such was the case when I read Kevin Smith and Phil Hester’s Green Arrow run (Smith’s comic book dialogue is as dense as his film dialogue). But the sheer bulk of Martin’s tomes makes that strategy impractical. If I started from scratch every time I lapsed on an ASoIaF entry, then I wouldn’t finish any of them. A Wiki of Ice and Fire is an absolute godsend for the uneven reader who can’t remember this or that character or event.
I’m not a big fan theory guy; not in the sense that I don’t like them, rather I’m just not very good at coming up with my own. And a lot of that comes from me being unable to pick up on obvious clues. I was pretty certain that Harry Potter was not a Horcrux, even as many other fans figured out he was immediately after finishing the chapter that introduced the concept. But over the course of my attentive GoT watching and sporadic ASoIaF reading, I managed to come up with some theories of my own. I’m not sure if “theory” is the right word; maybe “prediction” is closer to the mark? Idle speculation? Stuff I wanted to happen? Whatever they are, I invite you to laugh at them with me.
1. I thought Ramsay Bolton would turn himself into the Night’s King I’m leading off with this one because it’s a doozy; my only huge, go-for-broke crackpot theory I conceived for this series. You have to hear me out on this one because A) I built it off of information from the books that ultimately didn’t make it into the show and B) I came up with it in between seasons three and four. There is a Night’s King in ASoIaF but he’s a different character than the Night King (that spelling difference is important) on GoT. The Night’s King was the 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch who fell in love with a woman whose description matches that of a White Walker (“with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars”) and the hookup turned him evil and crazy. He ruled over the Watch from the Nightfort and committed numerous atrocities during his tenure as Lord Commander before he was defeated by a coalition of northmen and free folk. I had no reason to think this would happen; it just sounded cool to me and Ramsay was certainly crazy enough to take a White Walker as a lover. But alas, this was not to be, as the legend of the Night’s King didn’t make it into GoT, even though Bran, Jojen, Meera, Sam and Gilly were right there in the Nightfort at the end of season three. I doubt this will happen in the books at this point but it would be awesome.
I thought Asha/Yara Greyjoy and Jon Snow would hook up This was my only ship of the series and like the above, I had no reason to think this would happen. It struck me as a cute and incest free pairing and such pairings became distressingly rare as the show went on. I thought Yara and Theon would help Jon defeat Night’s King/Ramsay and in the process she and Jon would develop feelings for watch other. I’m shocked I didn’t write fanfic of this.
3. I thought Jon would become King-Beyond-the-Wall Jon does go back to the Wall at the end of GoT, but he merely rejoins the Night’s Watch. I predicted he’d be a king, just not of the Seven Kingdoms. I didn’t think Daenerys would die (and certainly not by Jon’s hand) but rather they’d jointly rule Westeros with Jon taking all of the territory north of the Wall. I even thought Yara would join him (the Iron Islands would be decimated by the White Walkers in this scenario). Tormund would of course be his Hand.
4. I thought the Night King put a backup copy of himself in Bran As you can no doubt tell, this is the only recent one I came up with. I thoroughly enjoyed the often hard to see spectacle of “The Long Night,” but I was still disappointed in how the Night King got demoted to a Disc One Final Boss. That was way too easy, I thought. Surely that can’t be it for the massive existential threat this series has been building up to since literally the first scene of the first goddamned episode? Then I remembered when the Night King touched Bran while he was warging in season six. He turned Bran into a Horcrux! I theorized. The Night King has a back up plan! As it turned out he did not and Bran became king of Westeros. I really over thought this one.
I don’t think I’ve ever put so much mental effort into being so wrong. I totally called it on the Iron Throne getting destroyed though.