This Theory About the Return of Ned Stark Is Going to Blow Your ‘Game of Thrones’–Loving Mind

Hold on to your heads (ugh, sorry, Ned), because the Game of Thrones season eight trailer sparked some seriously insane theories.

Our favorite: Ned Stark is the one chasing his daughter Arya (looking terrified with her cheek covered in blood) through the crypts of Winterfell during the opening of the new GoT final season trailer, which debuted on Tuesday. Many Redditors guessed that her dead father, Ned, is the one running after, though we never see him.

“What?! How?! He’s dead!” you cry out into the cold, dark winter. (ICYMI: Ned was decapitated by Ser Illyn Payne on King Joffrey’s orders during season one.)

But you know who else is dead? White Walkers. And they’re doing just fine, thanks for asking. So there’s a chance it was Ned chasing Arya.

Here’s the evidence:

1. Arya’s voiceover.
“I know death. It’s got many faces. I look forward to seeing this one,” we hear Arya’s voice saying during the trailer’s opening scene of her running. Does she look forward to seeing her dad’s face again? Of course, in the scene it doesn’t look like she’s all that excited. TBH, she looks horribly frightened, like she’s just seen a ghost…the ghost of Ned?!

2. Why aren’t the bodies of dead kings in the North burned like all the other bodies?
Another big clue that dead Ned (and possibly other dead Stark nobles from the crypts) will be back again is that their bodies aren’t burned. Usually, when a person in the North dies, they have to burn the bodies in order to save them from being reanimated by the Night King in the form of more White Walkers. However, the Kings and Queens in the North aren’t burned, and instead lay buried in the crypts (Ned’s decapitated body was given back to his wife,Catelyn, while she was on the battlefield with her son Robb, then we believe it was sent back to Winterfell so Ned could be buried in the crypts).

If everyone knows dead bodies need to be burned so they don’t come back, and everyone in the crypts is still interred, then wouldn’t it be so very Game of Thrones of George R. R. Martin to bring back those dead bodies? Perhaps they aren’t going to come back as White Walkers, though. Maybe they’ll end up fighting the battle for the living (hopefully).

3. The Crypts have played a central role in the lead-up to the final season.
From the teaser trailer that shows Jon Snow, Arya and Sansa in front of their parents' statues in the crypts, we get a sense that these catacombs are important. They were also featured in the full-length trailer when Arya’s running away from something, and when Varys is shown sitting down in the crypts with the women and children (presumably during the Battle of Winterfell).

4. George R. R. Martin is a big fan of Lord of the Rings.
This evidence sounds random, but bear with us. Remember the Army of the Dead in The Return of the King? Martin has said before that he’s inspired by Lord of the Rings and its author, J. R. R. Tolkien. In an interview with PBS last year, Martin revealed that he loved reading Tolkien as a kid and that Jon Snow’s death was (sorta) inspired by Gandalf. What if the Army of the Dead also inspired the GoT author to bring back dead characters to fight in a great battle for all of Westeros?

So, perhaps the dead Starks will rise again. Perhaps they’ll fight for the living instead of the dead. Perhaps we need to lay off the coffee (and the Reddit threads).

Season eight of Game of Thrones airs every Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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Roberta Fiorito

Senior Editor, Branded Content + Cohost, Royally Obsessed Podcast

In her 8 years at Gallery Media Group, Roberta has written about fashion, beauty, news, trends and the royal family. She is currently Senior Editor of Branded Content at...
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