- On this Sunday night's episode of Game of Thrones, the characters at Winterfell will finally face off against the Night King and the Army of the Dead.
- The characters have already established that the weakest among them will hide for safety in the tombs of Winterfell, which has many fans concerned that the Night King will raise the dead Starks and use them to attack those hiding in the crypts.
- One theory from a CUNY professor suggests that the dead Starks won't fight for the White Walkers if they're raised from the dead, however.
This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8.
This weekend, the Army of the Dead will descend on Winterfell for one of Game of Thrones' most highly-anticipated battle sequences ever. During the second episode of Season 8, the characters gathered in Winterfell prepared for the showdown and all pretty much agreed that death seemed likely.
At Winterfell, people have been divided into two groups: Those who will face the White Walkers and their zombie army head-on, and those who will be hiding in the safest place in Winterfell, the tunnel-y crypts beneath its ground.
Many fans have been quick to point out that, since the Night King's main power is the ability to raise the dead and control them as part of his massive, terrifying army, putting the weakest and most valuable players down in a cave of dead bodies might not actually be all that safe. One atypically optimist GOT fan theory, however, explains why those crypts might actually be the safest place in Winterfell after all.
Theory comes courtesy of Song of Ice and Fire blogger and CUNY professor Steven Attewell, who responded to a question about this very issue by writing, "I don’t think the Starks of ages past, so focused on the coming of winter, buried their dead with iron swords because they were stupid men."
Translation? The Starks, who have a stronger cultural memory of and belief in the White Walkers and the magic terrors beyond The Wall than anyone in Westeros, have been preparing for this battle for a long time—like, as far back as the tradition to bury their dead with iron swords, for example.
According to this theory, which is shared by many and elaborated on in several Reddit threads, the dead Starks will likely rise when the Night King comes to Winterfell, but they won't be attacking the Starks and their allies. They'll be helping them.
This theory is supported by evidence from the books, as well. As Redditor harpejjist pointed out, Jon Snow actually has a dream about Ned Stark coming back from the dead in A Game Of Thrones, the first book in the A Song Of Ice & Fire series. Here's the relevant passage from the book:
"Last night he had dreamt the Winterfell dream again. He was wandering the empty castle, searching for his father, descending into the crypts. Only this time the dream had gone further than before. In the dark he'd heard the scrape of stone on stone. When he turned he saw the vaults were opening, one after the other. As the dead kings came stumbling from their cold black graves, Jon had woken in pitch dark, his heart hammering."
Another popular part of the theory is that the dead Starks will answer only to their heirs—which would put a nice bow on the whole "there must always be a Stark at Winterfell" refrain.
Finally, if true, this could provide another major storytelling function in the series: Lyanna Stark would be able to confirm Jon's heritage, particularly to Daenerys, who (understandably) is a bit skeptical, considering the current source of the intel about his True Heir to the Iron Throne status is pretty much just a vision his little half brother had and a passage from a book that his BFF read one time.
We'll have to wait and see how the Battle of Winterfell plays out on Sunday night, but personally, we're hoping that at least some of this particular theory pans out.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.
Kayleigh Roberts is the weekend editor at Marie Claire, covering celebrity and entertainment news, from actual royals like Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle to Hollywood royalty, like Katie Holmes and Chrissy Teigen. She’s a Ravenclaw who would do great things in Slytherin. To learn more about her, google “Leslie Knope eating salad GIF.
Are Kevin Kreider and Kim Lee From 'Bling Empire' Together Now?
Sparks fly between the two cast members in the Netflix hit's second season.
By The Editors
SuChin Pak Is No Longer Settling for Your Definition of Courage
In an excerpt from a new book, the journalist details the racist incidents at MTV News that shaped her early career and how she's only recently been able to dismantle that trauma.
By Neha Prakash
Essie x Parade Is Here!
Cute underwear, meet cute nail polish.
By Julia Marzovilla
The 15 Best Comedy Movies on Hulu
For when you just need a good laugh.
By Megan DiTrolio
'Manifest' Season 4: Everything We Know
It's official: The once-canceled NBC show is returning for a final chapter (or two) on Netflix.
By Jenny Hollander
90 Movies You Have to Watch at Least Once in Your Life
The essentials. (Netflix password not included.)
By Bianca Rodriguez
The 79 Best '90s Movies That Are Modern Classics
Truly the golden age of cinema.
By Kayleigh Roberts
The 50 Best Feel-Good Movies to Curl Up With
PJs, a glass of wine, and these films.
By Katherine J Igoe
The 27 Best True Crime Shows to Binge-Watch
Real life can be a lot scarier than fiction.
By Cady Drell
The 51 Best Musical Movies to Get You Singing
All the dance numbers! All the show tunes!
By Amanda Mitchell
The 52 Best Comedy TV Shows Ever
The shows that will make you laugh until your face hurts.
By Kayleigh Roberts