Game of Thrones is on a roll when it comes to dishing out big reveals, with last week’s episode giving us the heartbreaking truth about Hodor that author George R.R. Martin allegedly came up with back in 1991. It’s fitting then that this week’s episode, “Blood of my Blood,” immediately followed up the Hodor door scene with the dramatic entrance of a character book readers are already intimately familiar with. The difference is that Game of Thrones wasted no time in revealing said character’s true identity.
Yes, Ned Stark’s long-thought-dead brother Benjen showed up at the 11th hour to save Bran and Meera from a White Walker attack. Many viewers probably didn’t even recognize him at first, given that Benjen was a minor season one character who went missing about three episodes into that season and has never been seen again on the show until now. This is an exciting turn of events, but it likely left book readers scratching their heads.
In Martin’s novels, Benjen is known only as Coldhands, a mysterious figure who comes to Bran’s aid but has yet to reveal his true identity, even though he’s been around since the third book, A Storm of Swords. The prevailing theory has always been that Coldhands is Benjen, but Martin squashed this theory when he replied to his editor’s question about whether Coldhands is Benjen in the A Dance With Dragons manuscript with a firm “NO.”
Here’s what producer Bryan Cogman had to say about Benjen’s return:
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. [Via: Entertainment Weekly]
Does this mean that Martin was lying about Coldhands’ true identity or is this yet another case of the show going off in a much different direction from the source material? We’ll find out if and when Martin ever finishes his next book, The Winds of Winter.