You all remember when Ned Stark was beheaded way back in Game of Thrones Season 1. But what if he didn’t actually die? Or what if he was beheaded and did die but came back to life? There are a number of fan theories out there that suggest that dear ol’ Ned is still alive.
And with Game of Thrones nearing its end (next season is its last!), now is certainly the time for Ned to come back — if that’s ever going to happen.
So let’s revisit a theory by AleksandrSnow, who posted “Ned Stark is alive?” to a Song of Ice and Fire forum back in 2013. And note, he focuses on the books, but of course there’s a lot of overlap with the show.
Here we go…AleksandrSnow posits that Varys is a master orchestrator who roped Tyrion and Jon Connington, and possibly Ser Barristan, Illyrio, and Littlefinger into his plans — and perhaps, Ned too.
(HEY, stay with us! If Ned’s “bastard” Jon Snow can come back to life, then this really isn’t the craziest thing in the world.)
ANYWAY, AleksandrSnow reminds us that when Ned (may or may not have) died, that happened through Arya’s point of view. And the way she saw it, “Ned is so beat up that he barely looks alive even before his death,” he writes. Then, “Sansa claims that his head above Maegor’s Holdfast looks weirdly unlike her father.” But he points out that she attributes that to the tarring process and decapitation.
Finally, he brings up that Catelyn claims that her husband’s bones appear like those of a smaller man. “Most people (myself included) took this as her grief showing her that everyone looks smaller as a pile of bones, but what if she was being literal,” AleksandrSnow theorized, which brings us to the possibility of Ned being alive.
Now for the evidence:
AleksandrSnow supports the theory by claiming that he thought Braavos swordsman/Arya’s water dancing teacher Syrio Forel to be a Faceless Man, which he believed to be the case since Arya met Jaqen H’ghar — who is also from Braavos. Then he says, “I think Varys has a special relationship with the Faceless Men from his time in the Free Cities.” Interesting… It all comes back to the Spider now, doesn’t it?
Here’s where it gets really juicy because, as AleksandrSnow puts it, Varys made a very interesting deal with Syrio.
So, what happened to the REAL Ned from there?
And here’s what could happen in those scenarios:
If Ned went to the Free Cities, AleksandrSnow believes that he could have traveled around as a page/coin maester/advisor/envoy to Illyrio — all while concealing his true identity and seeking the help of others in Varys and Illyrio’s plans.
And if Ned went to Greywater Watch, he could’ve hidden out with Howland — who’s son, by the way, is Jojen (who, of course, had ties to Bran).
Here’s how AleksandrSnow explains the latter: “When Jojen has a green dream pertaining to Bran, he has no clue what to make of it, but when he describes Winterfell, a place he has probably never seen before, and Bran, someone he has never met, Howland takes him to Ned, and Ned tells him everything he must do.”
“Take Bran to the Wall, where he will meet Coldhands, and he even tells him how to get to Winterfell, how to stay in Winterfell, how to get Bran to trust him, where to take Bran in case of emergency, and anything else he might need to know.”
If that last part is true, that could be interesting for Bran/The Three-Eyed Raven…
In any case, this is all pretty out there. And if any of this is what’s ahead, here’s hoping we find out in the upcoming episodes of Game of Thrones.