A popular fan theory on the identity of one of George R.R. Martin’s most mysterious A Song of Ice and Fire characters may have just been debunked — and by a simple trip to the library. Spoilers for the series, including possibly for unpublished material here!
Redditor _honeybird this week documented a trip to Texas A&M University’s Cushing Memorial Library, which has hosted a vast collection of Martin’s materials, including in-progress manuscripts and much more, since 1992. Apparently anyone can just go in and take a look, which seems incredible once you learn what the fan may have discovered, given how closely Martin normally guards his ASOIAF secrets.
This is my last spoiler warning!
Many fans believe that Coldhands, a masked figure who rides a large elk and appears to be mostly dead, is secretly the lost Stark uncle, Benjen. But in this manuscript of A Dance With Dragons, the ASOIAF book that came out in 2011, Martin’s editor (in green) poses a question in the margin: “Is this Benjen? I think it’s Benjen…” to which Martin replies, emphatically in red, “NO”.
There’s been plenty of speculation over the years regarding what Coldhands’ role in the series will ultimately be, especially now that the HBO show’s fourth season came and went without any sign of him. If he isn’t Benjen — and that’s certainly what this seems to suggest — then maybe it’s one of those mysteries that will simply never be answered.
The Redditor’s investigation turned up plenty more of note, so go read about it if you’re a fan.