Warning: The following post is dark and full of spoilers.
Game of Thrones has attracted an incredible fan base over the years, one that's managed to keep the suspense alive even during the long waits between seasons, and even longer wait between books.
You often hear about the weird and wonderful theories that fans concoct, to try and predict the ending to this epic series. So here are a few that turned out to be pretty spot on.
There's going to be an ice dragon
This is a bit of a half theory: Many fans theorised that there might be an ice dragon slumbering or simply preserved within the Wall itself. The dragon was supposedly waiting to be awoken by the Horn of Winter, which in turn would bring the Wall down, unleashing the White Walkers upon the rest of Westeros. While (so far anyway) no evidence has been presented proving that a dragon is within the Wall, the Night King has acquired Viserion, one of the three dragons Daenerys reared from eggs. Using a rather lethal looking javelin of ice, the Night King took down Viserion with a single hit, pulled the body up from beneath the lake and resurrected him with his freakish powers.
Although this isn't quite what the fans theorised, it's certainly given us a similar result.
Jon comes back to life.
This was one of the key points where the HBO's show overtook the books, and suddenly everyone who poured over the novels were in the same boat at the rest of the world. Towards the end of the end of Martin's A Dance With Dragons we're left with a nail biting cliff-hanger, as Jon Snow is stabbed to death repeatedly by his fellow brothers of the Night's Watch. As he lays in the snow dying, fans of the books were clearly distraught - this was a major character (one that no one expected to be culled by Martin's pen), surely this wasn't the end of the line for the bastard of Winterfell?
Fortunately, it wasn't the end, as the TV series revealed - Jon was brought back to life by the Red Woman Melisandre, and continues to fight another day. In fact, after his little swim in the frozen lake, it almost feels like Jon is the most indestructible character of the lot.
Theon has his penis removed
One of the more gruesome plot points that is left unanswered in the books so far - the status of of Theon Greyjoy's private parts. In A Dance With Dragons we're introduced to Reek, the foul smelling and totally beaten manservant / plaything of Ramsay Snow. It emerges that this poor creature is indeed Theon Greyjoy, former resident of the Iron Islands and Winterfell.
In the books we hear of plenty of horrible forms of torture, including the flaying of the skin that House Bolton is famous for - but Martin only vaguely hints at the true extent of the pain Theon has had to go through.
In the TV series however, it is proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Theon is a eunuch, and even has his parts sent off to his family members as a taunt.
Another half win for the theorists - although the results in the TV show were similar, the methodology was somewhat different.
In a Dance with Dragons, a large lord named Wyman Manderly, whose family has been loyal to House Stark a number of years, travels to Winterfell for Ramsay Bolton's wedding. In the books, Ramsay doesn't marry Sansa, instead he marries a girl passed off to be the long lost Arya Stark. In the books Manderly allows three Frey men to live with him, while his daughter remains a captive of the Lannisters. When Manderly arrives at the feast he claims these three Freys had travelled ahead of him, and should have arrived earlier. Their absence immediately raises Roose Bolton's suspicions, but there is no proof either way.
During the wedding feast, Manderly offers up three huge pies and encourages the lords and ladies to wash them down with "Arbor gold and savour every bite". The running fan theory was that the free missing Freys were cooked into said pies, but it was never fully confirmed. This was reinforced in people's minds when Manderly requests "The Rat Cook" be sung during the feast - a tale of a Night's Watch cook who baked the King's son into a pie and fed it to him.
Manderly doesn't cook the Freys into pies in the TV show, it's Arya stark who gets to dish up some just desserts for the Red Wedding. She manages to kill both Lothar and Black Walder, and serve them up in a pie to their father, Walder senior, before revealing herself to be a Stark and slitting his throat.
Uncle Benjen is Coldhands
Benjen of course disappeared very early on in both the books and the TV show, scouting beyond the wall as part of the Night's Watch. One of the most popular theories of the time was that he was the mysterious Coldhands, who helps Bran during his expedition beyond the Wall to become the three-eyed raven. George RR Martin has reportedly shot down the theory that Benjen is Coldhands, but it seemed to make total sense to the HBO show runners.
Benjen appears in season six and reveals he was killed by White Walkers and brought back to life by the Children of the Forest.
This is the big one. The one we've all been waiting for. Fans have believed for a long time that Ned Stark was not Jon's father. The theory goes that Lyanna (Ned's sister) secretly had a child with Rhaegar Targaryen, and gave the boy to Ned to raise as his ownon her deathbed. This would make Jon half Stark, half Targaryen.
After years of speculation online the show has finally confirmed that in a sense, where Bran travels back in time to the exact moment and witnesses the whole thing. Admittedly the father of the baby isn't totally confirmed, but there are additional pieces of evidence that seems to prove this theory.
These include the familiarity of the dragon Drogon with Jon on Dragonstone - he allows Jon to touch him and looks deep into his eyes. And references to a secret marriage between Rhaegar Targaryen and a mystery woman in Dorne, as raised by Gilly while she learns to read the texts Sam Tarly is transcribing at the Citadel.