George R.R. Martin may be keeping the release date of “The Winds of Winter” quiet, however that doesn’t mean he is keeping everything about the forthcoming installment secret. Since the rise of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and the surge in popularity, GRRM, who authored the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series, off which the show is based, has been a favorite media target. The author has been ridiculed for his slow pace of writing, criticized for his penchant of killing off fan favorite characters, and questioned on a seemingly endless number of possible theories to the ultimate ending of the series.

The previously secretive author confirmed in an August interview with The Telegraph that some of his fans are correctly predicting the end of the series, explaining, “So many readers were reading the books with so much attention that they were throwing up some theories and while some of those theories were amusing bulls -- and creative, some of the theories are right.” And now, GRRM has unknowingly taken on another popular fan theory and unceremoniously debunked it. Readers of GRRM’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” have believed that Coldhands, a character who Bran Stark meets in the true North, is actually Bran’s uncle and missing member of the Night’s Watch, Benjen Stark. The theory was seemingly solid, but GRRM has confirmed that Coldhands is not Benjen Stark. A reddit user discovered some handwritten notes on an original manuscript of “A Dance with Dragons” which is housed in the Cushing Library of Texas A&M. The margin notes were between Martin and his editor Anne Groell. In one note, Groell asks if Coldhands was Benjen, and Martin responded with a definitive, "No."

So who could Coldhands actually be? While GRRM will certainly not confirm, luckily for fans there are still several plausible theories to consider. There are tons of possible theories surrounding Coldhands and the story of his true identity, however, now that Benjen Stark has been debunked, there is still a recently proposed theory that fans still believe could be true! Admittedly, I whole-heartedly believed in the Benjen Stark theory, but my next best guess would be the Night’s King theory. The evidence fans have collected from GRRM indicates that Coldhands lived a long time ago, and was a brother of the Night’s Watch. Using these two facts as a basis, readers believe that the Night’s King, whose history is revealed through the bedtime stories of Old Nan, is the secret identity of Coldhands.

The Night’s King was alive during the Age of Heroes; he was named the 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Despite his vows, the Night’s King reportedly fell in love with a woman "with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars." In addition to her physical description resembling an “Other,” her actions do as well, the Night’s King loved her despite her skin being “cold as ice" and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well. The Night’s King falls from power after bringing his supposed corpse bride back to the Night Fort and declaring himself King and her Queen. He fell from power, however there has never been a direct passage describing his death, meaning that in terms of GRRM, he could still be alive. Fans believe that the Night’s King fell in love with a female wight, mated with her and was turned into a hybrid wight/human. His motivation for assisting Bran is still unclear, but it’s certainly a start.

What do you think of the Night’s King is Coldhands theory? Could it be true or do you think George R.R. Martin is set to debunk this one too? Comment below and let us know!