The Reddit board for the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series has been a hotbed of speculation over recent weeks, and this new post has been upvoted by 96% of readers.
User Smarf_Starkgaryen has devised an interesting theory involving Bran Stark, the heart tree and blood magic.
They write: “Bran has something up his sleeve and his plan isn’t to be just bait.
“During the battle of Winterfell he will conduct a sacrifice under the heart tree in order to do some blood magic.
“In the books there are many examples of sacrifices under heart trees and foreshadowing that Bran will do something related to blood magic.”
The writer points to quotes in George RR Martin’s texts – including, from A Dance with Dragons: “Northmen made blood sacrifices to their heart trees”, and “They hung their entrails in the branches of the heart tree, as an offering to the gods”.
In the same book, a passage on Bran’s visions reads: “A bearded man forced a captive down onto his knees before the heart tree… grabbed the captive by the hair, hooked the sickle around his throat, and slashed. … as his life flowed out of him in a red tide Brandon Stark could taste the blood.”
In a preview chapter from The Winds of Winter, a Theon excerpt reads: “Give him to Lord Eddard’s gods. … Give him to the tree. And suddenly there came a wild thumping, as the maester’s ravens hopped and flapped inside their cages… ‘The tree,’ one squawked, ‘the tree, the tree’ whilst the second screamed only ‘Theon, Theon, Theon.’ Theon Greyjoy smiled. They know my name.”
The theorist added: “In the show we haven’t seen the children of the forest or the old gods sacrificing except that the COTF used to tie people under heart trees and put dragon glass into their hearts.
“We are due for the 3rd ‘holy s**t moment’ that D&D got from Martin, and I think this is the 3rd moment. (First being Shireen’s burning, 2nd being Hodor).”
That’s a reference to an interview in 2016, in which it emerged that George RR Martin had shared three so-called “holy s**t” moments with the showrunners.
The third, David Benioff said at the time, is from the “very end” of the story – and is presumably still to come. So could this be it?
The Reddit user predicted: “Bran will warg into Theon and all the ironborn protecting him, say ‘What is dead May never die’ and then have them slit their own throats or kill each other to fuel Bran’s blood magic to be used during the battle of winterfell.”