(Note: Spoilers from A Song of Ice and Fire series are found within this essay.)
George R.R. Martin is the latest author who has been bombarded constantly with questions and assumptions as to when his next novel—notice I did NOT say publication—will be released. Most have us have experienced the long waiting period when it comes to the next in a series; movies and television shows traditionally top that list. However, with the previous successes of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, as well as other literature series, and movies series such as Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, A Song of Ice and Fire is now one of the hottest items in the publishing and entertainment industries.
What does this mean? Obviously, fans are driving the author crazy asking about possible release dates and/or sample chapters. And, while he has provided us with some of the latter, he is officially fed up with questions surrounding the former. It has gotten to the point where other authors—such as Neil Gaiman—have had to make public statements defending the extremely busy writer. Between working on a T.V. adaptation and writing novels for his other series, Martin has been able to work on Winds of Winter like we all want him to. Yes, I want it to be released within the next year, but I would prefer if the novel were good rather than rushed.
Although George R.R. Martin has been working on his latest novel, he has not left his readers with nothing to satisfy their fascination with his fantasy world. He has published several novellas and short stories about Westeros. Most of us have read about Sir Duncan the Tall and recently, about ‘The Dance of the Dragons’ war. Some of us have even gone far as to listen to podcasts whom discuss everything related to these stories, just to receive a better understanding of them (A Podcast of Ice and Fire and Cast of Thrones are excellent ones!). At the same time, Martin is giving us more insight into the history of his world, and possibly giving out hints about some of the characters in the main series.
There are several theories about the characters within the plot of the series—besides Jon Snow’s mother and the Tyrell Conspiracy—and many of them have yet to be mentioned thoroughly. One popular theory is that Mad King Aerys did bed Joanna Lannister at some point and he might be the father of Tyrion (a few fans believed he might have fathered the twins as opposed to Tyrion) because the Mad King was always infatuated with Tywin’s wife. This is one of many reasons Tywin never liked Tyrion. Is there a chance that Tyrion is a ‘secret Targaryen’? He might not be the only one. There is a theory about the Blackfyres—the bastard line of the Targaryens—who ended up starting the “Golden Company” in Essos (across the Narrow Sea), and which one of the ‘Great Bastards’ might be (is) the “Three-Eyed Raven” who is mentoring Brandon Stark in the ‘Land of Always Winter.’
Let’s look into the stories of Dunk and Egg (The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, The Mystery Knight). Sir Duncan the Tall (Dunk) meets a young Aegon Targaryen (Egg) and the two of them travel Westeros together as knight and squire. Since Aegon Targaryen looks like a traditional Targaryen—white blond hair and violet eyes—he shaves his head so no one will recognize him. One of his older brothers (Daeron?) does not have this problem because he looks more like the Martells—dark hair and dark eyes—so he can travel throughout the kingdom unrecognized. This leads me to a theory about Varys. His motives for supporting the Targaryens are unknown, he keeps his head shaved, and he tells everyone that he supports ‘the realm’ and not any particular House (I doubt the last one). Is it possible that Varys is descended from the Targaryens, the Blackfyres, or maybe even another House of Valyria (i.e. Velaryon)? It would explain his appearance. We don’t even know the color of his eyes, and I don’t think he has eyebrows (read up on the Mona Lisa for an explanation). Who exactly is Varys?
This leads into the popular theory surrounding Sir Duncan the Tall. According to the history of Westeros and of the Targaryens, Aegon V and Sir Duncan the Tall died in a fire at Summerhall. However, it is believed that the two decided to leave the ‘royal life’ and return to their simple life of traveling up-and-down the continent like they used to. This would explain Brienne of Tarth and her origins. For instance, a shield matching the description of the one used by Duncan the Tall is located in the armory of House Tarth and Martin has said that there is one living descendant of the famous Kingsguard who would be featured in A Feast for Crows. Just like how dwarfism is found within the Targaryens, high height (not giant like the Cleganes) is found within the descendants of Dunk.
I have a few theories of my own surrounding Martin’s fantasy series (some of which A Podcast of Ice and Fire mentioned in one of their episodes—thank you!). One, after reading the events of “The Dance of Dragons” from The Princess and the Queen, I am convinced that there are more dragon eggs hidden across Westeros and Essos. This is proven when one of the dragons and its rider leave Westeros for ‘unknown lands,’ and that there may or may not be a dragon’s egg in the House of Black and White, which would explain how Jaqen H’ghar ended up meeting Arya Stark, and who may or may not have killed Balon Greyjoy on orders. In addition, the story was written to give fans an idea as to how the future war will be fought once the dragons (and their dragonriders) make their way to Westeros.
Two, the Citadel and the Faith were responsible for the death of the dragons during “The Dance of Dragons.” Remember the scene with the mob? There is an unidentified man who preached to and convinced the crowd to kill the dragons while they were in the pit. Plus, a maester tells Samwell Tarly (in A Feast for Crows) that the maesters were responsible for the death of the dragons over one hundred years ago. So, you have the return of dragons in one continent and a group of people who do not want them to return in another continent. Why else would the author mention the extinction of the dragons in one novella and then hint at what might have caused that extinction in one of the novels?
My third theory is that if this series does reflect the ‘War of the Roses’—as mentioned by George R.R. Martin and defended by yours truly—then, whom is Daenerys Targaryen going to marry in the end? Daenerys is the only known surviving member of the Targaryen dynasty, but she also must marry in order to continue that dynasty. It makes sense for her to marry another Targaryen, but which one? As of right now there are three possible candidates: Jon Snow (if he is proven not to be the son of Ned Stark), Tyrion Lannister (if he is the son of the Mad King), and Stannis Baratheon (he is descended from the Targaryens). Yes, Aegon Targaryen could be the ‘lost son’ of Rhaegar, but then there are theories that he might be a Blackfyre. So, yes there might actually be four candidates for ‘husband/king.’ These four men may or may not have the ‘blood of the dragon’ but we have two more novels (and four more television seasons) before we get the answer to that question. Unless, there are more Valyrian Houses, this is what I am standing by.
These are both the obvious and the not so obvious theories surrounding what could happen in the later novels and what have been taken from all of the tales released by George R.R. Martin. There are some theories that other readers have all agreed upon, and there are others that might be more of a thought than a theory. Harry Potter fans correctly guessed some of the theories and hints found within the series, so it has been done before. However, please note that the author already confirmed some of these theories as truth. There is more than enough proof within the stories that some theories are more than just a theory. There are still many unanswered questions that await answers, and only George R.R. Martin, David Benioff, and D.B. Weiss know them. I welcome any comments and any rebuttals to what I have mentioned.