Who is Coldhands?
This is one of the many questions that fans of George RR Martin Song of Ice and Fire novels are still waiting to learn the answer.
Game Of Thrones, the HBO series based on the Ice and Fire books, revealed that his version of the character was actually Benjen Stark, but Martin has already confirmed his version of Coldhands is definitely not. So who is he?
A popular fan theory suggests that The Winds of Winter, the long-awaited sixth part of the Song of Ice and Fire books, will reveal that Martin’s version of Coldhands is, in fact, a legendary figure that fans have only heard of in the novels so far.
The theory – One of the main theories about Coldhands is that he is secretly the Night King. To be clear: we’re not talking about The Night King’s Game Of Thrones but rather the legendary King of the night written in Martin’s precedent Song of Ice and Fire novels, which is said to have lived thousands of years before the events of the series.
The theory holds that the Night King was cursed for spending the last thousands of years living as Coldhands Beyond the Wall as punishment for his alleged crimes. If that’s true, this could explain why Coldhands shares all of the physical traits of the White Walkers but hasn’t lost his mind and has become a seemingly stupid member of the undead army that grows beyond the Wall.
The Legend of the Night King – In the books, the Night King is said to be the 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch who slept with – and married – a creature many believe to be a female White Walker.
In doing so, he apparently lost his soul because of her. After their marriage, it is said that the Lord Commander declared himself the Night King and this creature his queen. The couple then ruled the Wall for 13 years, committing various unspoken atrocities and making human sacrifices to other White Walkers throughout this time.
It is also rumored that the Night King may have been a Stark, named Brandon. Combined, these details greatly separate the character from Game Of Thrones‘Night King, who ultimately turned out to be the very first White Walker.
Considering all of this, it seems legitimate that Coldhands is the Night King. After all, the character’s alleged marriage to a White Walker would explain why he has all the physical characteristics of an undead. And it’s certainly possible that the Night King was able to recover his own sanity after his union was finally torn apart and his reign was defeated.
It would also be in keeping with the Children of the Forest (and George RR Martin) methods of punishing a character like the Night King by forcing him to live forever as a conscious undead beyond the wall.
The Reverse Analysis – As is always the case with these Winter winds theories, there is no way to know if there is a kernel of truth until the book actually is, ultimately published. That said, this is an undeniably interesting theory and worth considering – even though Martin has already hinted that the Night King perished long ago in the books.
At the very least, it would be a much more interesting and unexpected resolution to Martin’s ongoing Coldhands mystery than Game Of Thrones‘Benjen Stark “twist” turned out to be. Plus, it would give Martin the chance to keep the Night King’s promise in a way the HBO series certainly didn’t.
The Winds of Winter will be published as soon as George RR Martin finishes writing it.