For as often as Game of Thrones fans have questioned whether Season 6 may indeed spoil George R.R. Martin’s unpublished books, a major twist from Sunday’s “Blood of My Blood” may have answered a literary mystery sixteen years in the making. Now, writer Bryan Cogman opens up to explain that significant Sunday return, touching on whether or not to expect the same twist in The Winds of Winter or beyond.

Keep in mind full spoilers through the latest Game of Thrones Season 6 installment, as well potentially unpublished material of George R.R. Martin, but if the internet hadn’t already spoiled as much, “Blood of My Blood” seemingly confirmed a long-held fan theory that the books’ “Coldhands” would emerge as an undead Benjen Stark, a character mysteriously vanished from the early days of both TV and written word. The latest HBO hour saw a similarly-garbed figure rescuing Bran and Meera after Hodor’s sacrifice, before unmasking as an undead Benjen, something George R.R. Martin had previously debunked.

Whether or not Martin will reveal Coldhands and Benjen’s fate identically in the books, Entertainment Weekly spoke to “Blood of My Blood” writer Bryan Cogman of the big Stark reunion, tiptoeing around whether or not readers could expect the same reveal:

It’s hard for me to talk about Benjen’s return without getting into the nitty gritty of the adaptation process. But, yeah, season 6 is rife with Stark reunions! That’s another thing that’s been very heartening to track with the fans. The show is so sprawling and there are so many threads, but – at it’s heart – it’s largely about this good family that was torn apart. So seeing some of them connect again (Jon and Sansa; Benjen and Bran) was very satisfying to write and to shoot. And it was great to have [actor] Joe Mawle back with us – it must have been a trip for him to step back into the character after so long – but he’s also decidedly not the Benjen of season 1. So that was fun to explore.

Along those same lines, actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright spoke to HBO’s decision to hold back “Coldhands” appearance to a point where his identity mattered, rather than spoil things early on:

I think it’s much cooler to have him show up now instead of guiding Bran to the cave, because Bran already had Jojen and Meera for that. Instead he’s there to help pick up the pieces when their safe haven is destroyed and to give Bran to have that family connection again [after Hodor dies].

Time will tell how Benjen/Coldhands’ return factors into the remainder of Season 6 and beyond, but are book readers in for a more satisfying reveal of either character? What other big twists might Game of Thrones reveal, or circle back to?

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