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Game of Theories: Evil Daenerys, The Arya Situation, The Fall of The Wall

Written by Bill Bodkin, Kimberlee Rossi-Fuchs, and Matthew Kelly


Game of Theories: Evil Daenerys, The Arya Situation, The Fall of The Wall

Welcome to Game of Theories. In this column Pop-Break’s Grand Maester Matthew Kelly combs the message boards, Reddit threads, and podcasts and posits the wildest or most logical show theories that series reviewers Bill Bodkin and Lady Kimberlee Rossi-Fuchs most engage.

Arya/Waif Face Off

This theory posits that the scene with Arya being stabbed by the Waif is misleading and everyone in that scene could be pretty much anyone else.

  • Evidence For:
    • When Waif killed Arya, she stabbed Arya in a different way than directed by Jaqen.
    • Arya has seen the old lady mask before.
    • Arya doesn’t traditionally walk like that.
    • Arya didn’t have Needle on her person.
    • If Arya were being followed by assassins, she probably wouldn’t stroll around and and let people approach her.
  • Evidence Against:
    • If Arya or the Waif were wearing each other’s faces, they would have needed to get them from the other one.
    • It looked like Arya really got stabbed and she didn’t remove her face when she was out of view of the Waif.
    • When the Waif was following Arya around at the place, she didn’t use a face to spy on her. The Waif doesn’t use faces very often.
Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO
Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO

Bill’s Thoughts: There’s something extremely fishy about the entire Arya sequence. When we last saw her, she had found Needle, and was holding it, guarding herself in the dark against whomever may be coming for her. The next episode, she’s walking around like nothing is wrong and not a care in the world, and with no weapon on her person. Also, she was way too trusting of the old woman (The Waif in disguise) when she knows that The Faceless assassins are coming for her.

My theory — maybe it’s one of the theater troupe, possibly the actress she saved — maybe wearing an Arya mask. That could explain the non-chalantness of the character, and the extreme reaction to being stabbed.

Kimberlee’s Thoughts: It was very uncharacteristic of the typically cagey Arya to let her guard down like that, especially since she knew Jaqen and the Waif would be out to get her after she rejected her mission. I agree that it’s much more likely there’s some scheming afoot here, be it a set-up on Arya’s part to set the stage for an attack she’s planning or something a bit more trippy. There’s another theory going around that Arya and the Waif are the same person AKA Tyler Durden and that the Waif’s brutal assault on Arya represents the Stark girl’s finally becoming “No One.” Ultimately, Arya’s going to be sticking around for a while so, while it’ll be very interesting to see what happens next, I’m not at all concerned for her safety.

Legless Rickon

This theory posits that Rickon will lose a leg in an upcoming episode of the show.

  • Evidence For:
    • When Arya is being trained by the Waif, she gets beat up while reciting the names of her brothers. Every time she names a new brother, the scene is intercut with a shot of Waif hitting Arya in the spot where that brother was injured. After invoking Rickon, Waif sweets Arya’s right leg.

  • Evidence Against: 
      1. None. This theory is perfect.

Bill’s Thoughts: Wait, Ramsay Bolton does something fucked to one of his captors? This theory would not surprise me.

Kimberlee’s Thoughts: Ugh, I certainly hope this doesn’t come to pass. Is there anyone in the audience clamoring for more of Ramsay’s patented brand of bug-eyed, giggly torture porn? Rickon has always been the most underdeveloped Stark child character-wise (his most defining trait to this point is that he enjoys walnuts) and I’m hoping that’s because George R.R. Martin has some cool reveal planned for him (perhaps he’s impervious to wildfire or somehow cures greyscale with walnuts or something) and not because he’s to ultimately serve as yet more grist for the Bolton mutilation mill.

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

Fall of the Wall

This theory posits that the Wall will be destroyed by the end of the season.

  • Evidence For
    • Bran may hold the brand necessary to destroy the Wall magically and is on the way.
    • Sam holds a horn that, in the books, may or may not be able to destroy the wall and he probably doesn’t know what it does yet.
    • The final episode of this season is called “The Winds of Winter.”
  • Evidence Against:
    • Destroying the Wall this early in the show would be a big step for the show to take this soon.
    • We have little to no reason to believe the horn works or that the Wall is magical.

Bill’s Thoughts: The Fall of the Wall, not the Battle of the Bastards, would have to be the big action sequence for the season. I mean…it’s THE WALL. Something absolutely epic and disastrous, and most importantly, something that would take a large part of an episode, would need to happen. With a handful of episodes left, a battle for The North, Cersei’s trial, and so much more bound to happen this season…I just can’t see it happening.

Kimberlee’s Thoughts: Timewise (and budget-wise with the Battle of the Bastards still on the horizon) I don’t see how that could possibly happen this season. However, I think we will see the Wall crumble eventually and fairly soon. The Wall no longer exists primarily to keep the Wildlings out, it’s now merely the symbolic line in the sand between the old world and the new, the living and the dead. We’ve already seen how unstoppable the Night King’s forces are and, as such, know the Wall won’t protect the realm much longer.


Benj-edict Arnold:

This theory posits that Benjen Stark is actually working for the White Walkers

  • Evidence For:
    • Benjen’s return is mighty convenient.
    • Benjen was turning into a wight before he was brought back to life. That may with the White Walkers sway over his mind.
    • The wights were hot on Meera’s tracks but then slowed down long enough
    • According to an early manuscript of one of the ASOIAF books, Benjen is not Cold Hands.
  • Evidence Against:
    1. It would be a huge switch from the usual use of the character.
    2. The Night King could potentially bring Bran over the Wall himself.

Bill Thoughts: It’s assumed amongst most readers of the book that Benjen Stark is Cold Hands, who is a major good guy in the books. While there may be some unintended psychic connection, I can’t see the Benjen/Cold Hands character taking such a dramatic turn from his role in the books.

Kimberlee’s Thoughts: I agree with Bill and don’t see this happening as all. Besides, we haven’t seen an evil Stark yet. We’ve seen the Starks be foolish, misguided, and naive on countless frustrating occasions, but they’re always inherently decent and on the side of good.

Danerys in The Book of the Stranger
Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO


This theory posits that Danerys is the true villain of Game of Thrones.

  • Evidence For:
    • She is related to the Mad King and thus has a genetic predisposition towards madness.
    • Her speech at the end of Blood of my Blood
  • Evidence Against:
    • The show has built her up to be a hero since its inception.

Bill’s Thoughts: I’m going to quote BD Wong from Jurassic World: “A mouse sees a cat as a monster.” This theory is all a matter of perspective. Dany has been a “big bad” to the people of Westeros since Season 1. If she wasn’t Varys wouldn’t have dispatched Jorah to kill her. The return of “The Dragon Queen” has sent shivers up everyone’s spines, so yes she is a villain to certain characters. However, since the first episode of the series, The White Walkers have been the absolute big evil in the series.

Kimberlee’s Thoughts: Narratively, the idea of Evil Dany is incredibly rich and provocative. We’ve rooted for her since the beginning, as her motivations and heart are seemingly pure and her motivations just. Yet she’s certainly had her moments of icy imperiousness, which may be suggesting a turn to the dark side as a result of her ever-growing power, abandoning her ideals as she learns she’s best at conquering, like a Westerosi Michael Corleone. If that’s the path Martin has intended for her character all along, it’s a brilliant choice and Dany is then almost akin to Milton’s Satan in that we’ve garnered some real sympathy for the devil in all the years of rooting for her character, making the audience feel implicit in her fall from grace. Ultimately though, I don’t think that’s where her story is going. Martin just isn’t that subversive in his character creation – he lets us know where our sympathies should lie and he hasn’t really given any textual indication that Dany’s headed down a dark path and I don’t think Benioff and Weiss would deviate so sharply from Martin’s end game.

Stay tuned for Pop-Break’s review of tonight’s Game of Thrones “No One.”

Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, HBO shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- Anchored in Asbury, TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.

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