Game of Thrones has gone on a tear confirming and dispelling major theories that George R.R. Martin’s readers have scrutinized for years, with Sunday’s “Blood of My Blood” seemingly spoiling yet another book twist. Like last week’s Hodor reveal, however, a new featurette sees showrunners officially handing a cold twist to that major Stark return.

You’re warned of full spoilers through Sunday’s latest Game of Thrones, as well the published volumes of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, but while “Blood of My Blood” may not have said the name aloud, the post-episode featurette saw showrunner Dan Weiss confirming that Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle) was indeed the show’s take on “Coldhands.”


For those unfamiliar with the books, “Coldhands” first appeared in A Storm of Swords to Sam and Gilly; a masked and seemingly-undead brother of the Night’s Watch riding an elk, who escorted the pair to Castle Black. Coldhands would also eventually escort Bran’s group to the Three-Eyed Raven, a development that was notably left out of the HBO adaptation.

By contrast, Benjen Stark appeared in Game of Thrones’ pilot much as he had in the books, taking Jon Snow to the Wall and subsequently disappearing after a mission up north, a mystery neither medium had solved before Sunday’s “Blood of My Blood.” Many a fan had already theorized that Benjen Stark could one day be revealed as Coldhands, though George R.R. Martin had seemingly once dispelled the notion in a comment to his editor.

As we learned with Hodor, even a partial truth to HBO’s version of events could unfurl very differently in Martin’s books, while also worth noting is that Hodor’s name supposedly represented one of three major twists Martin allowed showrunners to use early. The first reportedly arrived with Shireen’s fiery end, while a third is said to be reserved for the saga’s ending, casting further doubt that Benjen and Coldhands will share an identity in Martin’s books.

In any case, it’s certainly a big reveal for a season full of them, but how might Game of Thrones use Benjen’s return in the final episodes of Season 6, or beyond? Watch the latest trailers below.