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Radical ASOIAF theories

Every fandom has its own set of activities. Fans of the Tolkein legendarium are perpetually trying to explain why the Eagles did not take the ring to Mount Doom, Potterheads have a propensity for consuming outrageous erotic fanfiction, Marvel fans keep finding problems in the DCEU, DCEU fans keep coming up with frivolous petitions, and Star Wars fans enjoy raging and ranting about the movies that they love so much.

Fans of ASOIAF or GoT spend the long gaps between seasons, and the even longer gaps between books by indulging in metadiscussions. This often involves coming up with equations that can make a quantum physicist blush, and not just because LHS does not quite add up to RHS. Out of respect to the wishes of GRRM, the most popular ASOIAF fan forum out there, Westeros.org does not tolerate fanfiction. The endless metadiscussion results in some weird and wonderful theories. The ones listed here are… extraordinary. The way ASOIAF fans handle the show and the books is to keep the metadiscussion for each separate, especially since the show and the books are so divergent. All the theories here are based on the books, and not the show. There are some other wacky ASOIAF/GoT theories listed by Cracked, Buzzfeed, and Screen Rant, which you should totally go check out. The ones at Tor, the science fiction and fantasy publisher, not the web anonymising service, are pretty crazy too. Varys is totally a merman. Ok, this is going to escalate really quickly. 

Valyria by Ted Nasmith

Time Travelling Baby Foetuses

Technically, the theory is known as D+D=T, which is more than a little weird if you know what the Ds and Ts stand for. According to the theory, Tyrion is the son of Dany and Khal Drogo. Something bizarre happened in the tent with Mirri Maz Duur. After the ritual, Dany had a stillborn who appeared dead for years. Flashback to the birth of Tyrion, his appearance was monstrous even as a baby. Even the show alludes to this fact. Dany’s stillborn had leathery wings and a tail. It appears that Mirri Maz Duur switched Joanna Lannister and Dany’s babies while they were still in the womb. The actual nature of the monstrosities of the two babies are not the same, Dany’s stillborn had reptilian characteristics, such as scales, while Tyrion had mammalian characteristics at birth, including a beard. Further evidence in support of the DDT theory is how closely Tyrion’s story tracks that of Oedipus. Both walk funny, are hated despite saving their people, are disowned by their fathers, and end up killing their fathers. If Tyrion marries Dany, the story will be complete. Check out the theory posted on Reddit by xyseth.

Tommen gets killed by his kittens

In the show, Tommen commits suicide after seeing the Great Sept of Baelor blow up with his wife inside it. In the books however, it is still an open question on how Tommen will eventually die. We know he is going to die because of the prophecy that the woods witch made to Cersei. Tommen has a food taster to check for poisons, but there is a known poison that can be administered through pets. Basilisk venom was mixed in a paste and fed to Weese’s spotted dog. The dog then went mad and killed its owner. Who else do we know that are good at using poisons? The Sand Snakes of course, who could use basilisk venom to poison Tommen’s cats. Tommen is known to sleep alone with his three kittens. More about how fans reacted to Ser Pounce the Kingslayer over at Reddit.

Euron Greyjoy circumnavigation theory

The Euron Greyjoy circumnavigation theory essentially posits that Euron Greyjoy has circumnavigated the world of Planetos. The problem here is that even in the World of Ice and Fire, GRRM has not revealed the entire extent of the landmasses in the world, or even if it is a globe. If it is similar to the Earth, then going in a straight line to the east of Asshai should get the seafarer back to Westeros, unless there is an undiscovered continent in the middle. This is possible if the supercontinent cycle on Planetos is in a state where all the continents are more or less one large landmass, similar to Pangea from Earth’s long history. Euron was banished from the Iron Islands by Balon for raping one of his brother’s salt wives, and during that period, he explored all of the known world. He has intimate knowledge of the sea routes to lands as distant as Asshai, and it is totally probable that he has sailed beyond. The Silence is one of the fastest ships known, so it is possible for Euron Greyjoy to have circumnavigated the world during the time he was banished. I cannot really find the source of this theory, but if anyone does hunt it down, please do let us know in the comments section.

The possible route that Euron Greyjoy took during his circumnavigation.

Mance Rayder is Rhaegar Targaryen

According to this theory, Rayder is actually Rhaegar in disguise. Both of them have a fondness for music, and play the harp. Rayder has indicated that he has gone beyond the wall several times. Rayder wears a cloak that is red and black – the Targaryen colours. Rayder in any case seems to know of customs and songs well beyond what is possible for wildlings, considering he sings Dornish songs at Winterfell. Another factor here is that the books does not mention or clarify what happens to Rhaegar’s body. This factor has resulted in other possible identities for Rhaegar, if he were still alive, such as the Elder Brother. The soldiers were apparently too busy looking for the rubies that studded his armour. Oh, and Melisandre wears a ruby to disguise her appearance, maybe Rhaegar/Rayder is using the same approach.


Jojen’s death in the books, and what follows is a strange chapter full of symbolism and allusions to human sacrifice. Jojen dies, Bran eats a paste made by the children of the forest, and he gets the greensight. The theory (Reddit, Westeros) is really old, and claims that Bloodraven had Jojen killed, mashed into a paste along with weirwood pulp, and that allowed Bran to get his newfound powers. The problem here is not really the human sacrifice, or the cannibalism. There is plenty of cannibalism in ASOIAF, including the Wyman Manderly’s Frey Pies, Varamyr Sixskins feeding on human flesh while warged into a wolf, and Bran and company themselves eating human flesh courtesy of Coldhands. The problem is how Bran does not react at all to having just consumed Jojen, considering the extent of his newfound powers. This is one of those theories that started out as something that attracted ridicule and laughter, but found an increasing number of believers over the years.


RLJ has been around for so long, that it is almost considered canon. It was a big moment for fans in the show, when Jon was confirmed to be the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. The show hinted at this in the very first season itself, where RLJ was scrawled on the walls of Castle Black. David Benioff, a producer, director and writer of the shows sported a shirt that had RLJ on it during a promotional video. However in the books, the actual evidence for RLJ is pretty flimsy.

One of the problems is that the show tends to combine characters into one. Edric Storm has been absorbed into Gendry, Strong Belwas was fused into Daario Naharis and Euron has been merged with another crazy Greyjoy, Victarion. Perhaps the most extreme example are the seven sons of Davos who are combined into one in the show. Now it is possible in the show that Aegon Targaryen has been melded with either Dany or Jon. If it is Jon, then in the books, Aegon Targaryen could actually be the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. This leaves the question open about who is Jon’s father.

According to the theory, Ned Stark + Ashara Dayne = Jon Snow. It is totally possible because we do not know exactly what happened at the Tournament of Harrenhal, but Brandon Stark, Ned’s elder brother, did try to set him up with Ashara Dayne. It is possible that Jon was conceived during Robert’s Rebellion. One of the strongest pieces of evidence here is that Ned absolutely treats Jon as his own son, and they share a number of visible characteristics as well. It could be because of Lyanna Stark, but Jon does not show any Targaryen traits. Cersei notes that Jon looks very much like his father. Arya and Jon are considered to be the Stark children who most resemble Ned.

Also in A Game of Thrones, Eddard IX, is this:

Riding through the rainy night, Ned saw Jon Snow’s face in front of him, so like a younger version of his own. If the gods frowned so on bastards, he thought dully, why did they fill men with such lusts?

Again, this could be read in two ways, either Ned is talking about himself, or Rhaegar. Which is the more likely explanation? We leave that to you to decide. The videos below clearly outlines the theory, and provides plenty of evidence to support it as well. It gets increasingly convincing the more you watch it.

The Mountain can never remove his helmet

This is a theory based on the show that a reader of the magazine came up with, but equally applies to the books as well. According to the theory, Qyburn has become so advanced with his dark arts that he has actually removed Gregor Clegane’s skull, and had it sent to Dorne. Qyburn has carried out bizarre experiments with living humans, and nobody really knows what he does to the prisoners in his dungeons. It is not really easy to come across giant sized skulls, and it remains a mystery whose skull was sent to Dorne. Qyburn has apparently replaced the skull with the exoskeleton, one that can now never be removed. In the last few seasons, we have not seen The Mountain on screen without his helmet on. The approach is similar to what was done to humans in the Big Daddies from Bioshock. Interested readers can join in on the discussion in the Geek forums.


This theory is hard to talk about as it concerns one of the most heart-rending romances in the books, more so than the unrequited love of Ser Barristan Selmy towards Ashara Dayne, more than Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, or the sudden end to the budding love between Sansa Stark and the Hound. While both Bob and Ned were wards for Jon Arryn, it is totally possible that Bob fell in love with Ned. Bob makes Ned his hand, and even holds a grand tournament for him. There is speculation that the promise Lyanna made Ned give her was to end his relationship with Bob. Everyone knows Robert Baratheon loves Lyanna Stark, but the reason why may be because she looked so much like Ned. A marriage to Lyanna would also provide suitable cover for Bob and Ned to carry on with their hidden relationship. Read more over at the Eddard and Robert: A Tragic Love Story at the Westeros forums. Ok maybe some of the ASOIAF metadiscussion ventures into places where only Harry Potter fanfic dares to go.

Battle on the Pyke (Robert and Ned) by Lensar.

The dragon eggs at Winterfell

Winterfell is known to remain warm throughout winter, even the long ones. The reason for this is that Winterfell was built over natural hot springs, which keeps the castle naturally warm. In The World of Ice and Fire, a funny dwarf fool in the Targaryen courts, Mushroom claims that Vermax laid a clutch of dragons at Winterfell. This is a paragraph from the World book:

We can dismiss Mushroom’s claim in his Testimony that the dragon Vermax left a clutch of eggs somewhere in the depths of Winterfell’s crypts, where the waters of the hot springs run close to the walls, while his rider treated with Cregan Stark at the start of the Dance of the Dragons. As Archmaester Gyldayn notes in his fragmentary history, there is no record that Vermax ever laid so much as a single egg, suggesting the dragon was male. The belief that dragons could change sex at need is erroneous, according to Maester Anson’s Truth, rooted in a misunderstanding of the esoteric metaphor that Barth preferred when discussing the higher mysteries.

Now this is complicated, and a theory, because an unreliable narrator, the in-universe author of the book, Maester Yandel, is talking about another unreliable narrator, Mushroom. There is other evidence in the series to suggest that dragons can in fact, switch between genders and are hermaphrodites. In any case, GRRM has hinted, via via unreliable narrators, that there may be dragon eggs at Winterfell. This is where things get interesting, we may be seeing more dragons hatching towards the end of the books. Dragons are known to hatch within fires, where other humans have died. Leaked videos posted by The Watchers on the Wall shows Winterfell in flames in the latest season. Readers can read more about Vermax in The Rogue Prince, and the Princess and the Queen, which are novellas not part of the main series of books, but are set in the same universe.

Targaryen genetics

Throughout history, Targaryens have seen a waxing and waning in their fortunes. This is in many ways related to how many dragons they can control, and how many dragons are available. At times dragons don’t hatch, and the existing dragons go out of control. Turns out that with just a few assumptions, it is possible to explain the entire history of the Targaryen dynasty, as well as the events during the Dance of Dragons. According to the theory, the dragon related abilities are in a gene linked to the X chromosome. A single copy is enough to ride a dragon, while two copies are required to hatch a dragon. This indicates that only women can hatch dragon eggs. Even if Targaryen male babies with an egg in their cribs managed to hatch them, it was because of a proximity to a Targaryen woman with two Dragon X genes. Check out the theory by Preston Jacobs in the YouTube videos below.

There is a velociraptor in Braavos

This is not really a theory, and it actually comes from another discussion which is itself not a theory. The incident is known as “lemongate” (Reddit, Westeros), which was a controversial exploration into the appropriate weather conditions for lemons to grow. The particular question popped up because Dany remembers seeing a lemon tree outside Braavos, but lemons should not grow in the cold, foggy climate. A heated argument ensued, which resulted in all threads related to the topic being blocked, and a fan clearing out the implications with GRRM through a personal message on Livejournal, only deepened the mystery. Anyway, in all the discussions about the climatic conditions in Braavos, the Sealord’s menagerie and the life forms contained within cropped up, and that had one startling revelation. There is a velociraptor in Braavos. In A Game of Thrones, Arya IV, there is a paragraph that goes:

Hear me. The ships of Braavos sail as far as the winds blow, to lands strange and wonderful, and when they return their captains fetch queer animals to the Sealord’s menagerie. Such animals as you have never seen, striped horses, great spotted things with necks as long as stilts, hairy mouse-pigs as big as cows, stinging manticores, tigers that carry their cubs in a pouch, terrible walking lizards with scythes for claws. Syrio Forel has seen these things.

Let’s just say the common theme here is that the Sealord’s menagerie has a number of animals that are analogous to prehistoric extinct beasts on Earth. The animals seem to be quaggas (as against zebras), paraceratherien, ground sloths, giant scorpions, tasmanian tigers… and what can only be a velociraptors or therizinosaurs. The fandom promptly christened the velociraptor “Blue” after the Jurassic Park movies.   

The Hound and the Mountain are brothers

According to this theory, Sandor Clegane and Gregor Clegane are brothers. One piece of evidence in support of this theory is that both of them share the last name of Clegane, but it is equally possible that this could be because they are married. Another piece of evidence is that they have both kidnapped Arya at some point of time, and maybe the reason that they did this was that they shared common DNA. The clinching evidence is provided by Arya herself, in A Storm of Swords, Arya IX. Gregor is coming up with creative ways in which to kill his brother:

It wasn’t the first time he had talked of killing the Mountain. “But he’s your brother,” Arya said dubiously.

This well argued crackpot theory actually illustrates the leaps of logic and irrational approaches used to “prove” some other really strange theories.


Aditya Madanapalle

Aditya Madanapalle

An avid reader of the magazine, who ended up working at Digit after studying journalism, game design and ancient runes. When not egging on arguments in the Digit forum, can be found playing with LEGO sets meant for 9 to 14-year-olds.