“Game of Thrones” episode 6 “Blood of My Blood” saw the return of Benjen Stark in the series. After rescuing Bran and Meera from the wights, many agreed that he is Coldhands from the novels. What similarities does the character have with Stark?
When Bran and Meera found out the identity of their savior, fans were shocked and pleased that apparently, their theories that Ned Stark’s brother is alive was proven to be correct. Additionally, he is revealed to be the identity of Coldhands in the novels but is he really?
The circumstances of his appearance in season six might be a telltale sign such as the hood and the pale white skin. Him also being in the Night’s Watch is also a hint, considering that the character from the novels is depicted to be wearing the black and gray uniform of the Watch.
Although their role might be similar, there are certain differences between the former First Ranger of the Night’s Watch and the mysterious figure Beyond the Wall. So before purist book readers accuse “Game of Thrones” of spoiling the novels let’s look at the facts.
After Benjen Stark revealed his identity to Bran and Meera, he told them the events that led to him come to their rescue. After he left with a ranging party way back in season one, they encountered a White Walker and were subsequently killed him being stabbed through the gut.
The Walker left him for dead but he survived long enough to be found by the Children of the Forest (presumably Leaf) and prevented the Walker’s magic from taking over. He later became of service to the Three-Eyed Raven who ordered him to rescue Bran and Meera.
Coldhands, on the other hand, is described as a frozen corpse, dead meat, dry blood, and smelled of rot. A sign that he was definitely resurrected long after he died.
Additionally, he is considered a wight since he was prevented from passing through the Wall as well as the lair of the The Last Greenseer beyond the Wall. He also refuses to show his face to Bran’s party.
He was in fact, confirmed dead and that it was revealed that “He died a long time ago” which makes Benjen Stark being him completely impossible as he is neither a wight nor missing for “a long time.”
And the final nail in the coffin? Author George R.R. Martin himself denies the theory that the First Ranger is the true identity of Coldhands.
By now it should be obvious that “Game of Thrones” is no longer following the books and although some plots may be adapted, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff can remake it as easy as chopping off Ned Stark’s head. So worry not novel purists, the series has not yet ruined your reading experience.