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FutureStarrWhat Happened to Uncle Benjen in Game of Thrones?
Fans have long sought to discover what happened to Jon Snow's long-lost uncle, Benjen Stark. After all, he was Ned's hero - The First Ranger of Night's Watch.
In Game of Thrones Season 6, Benjen returns in partially wight form to aid Bran and Meera escape wights in Weirwood Tree Cave. He tells them that he was attacked by White Walkers and transformed into a wight before the Children of the Forest stopped him by thrusting dragonglass into his heart.
On the very first episode of Game of Thrones, Benjen Stark embarked on a quest to locate his missing men and was tragically stabbed by a White Walker's ice sword. Luckily, Children of the Forest intervened and thrust a shard of dragonglass into his heart - this same method they used when creating their original White Walker! It's truly amazing that they were able to save Benjen from certain death.
What happened to him after that remains uncertain. The Night's Watch saved him, but his horse returned without him and two of the men who went with him turned into wights.
Though the show did provide answers to some of the mysteries raised in the first book, there remain unsolved mysteries regarding Benjen's resurrection. One question that remains open is whether or not it was due to The Three-Eyed Raven's power.
Though this theory could fit within the show's narrative, it doesn't quite add up. We know that The Three-Eyed Raven was trying to teach Bran Stark how to survive outside of The Wall, yet it remains uncertain if he also assigned Benjen with this task.
Yet again, it's possible that Bran might have sent Benjen to Jon's rescue as a Raven must do in order to give Bran the chance of surviving. After all, Bran possesses Raven powers and knows exactly what's happening.
So it's possible the old Raven helped Benjen unlock his mystical abilities to enable him to come to Jon's rescue. This would make sense, considering Benjen is part of Ned Stark's family and Jon Snow is Ned's youngest brother.
At present, there is still no definitive proof that Coldhands is Benjen Stark and we doubt we will ever receive an authoritative resolution to this mystery. All that can be done is wait and hope the show explains what happened to him eventually.
Lord Eddard's younger brother, Benjen Stark, joined the Night's Watch after the war. A gifted fighter and one of Westeros' most trusted rangers, Benjen had earned himself a place of honor within their ranks.
He joined the Night's Watch out of a belief that no man is more worthy of his place in this world than those who wield the sword.
Throughout his tenure in the Wilds, he earned a place of honor among members of the Watch. He put duty before everything else and always faced battles with a smile on his face.
After Robert's Rebellion ended, Benjen joined the Night's Watch and took his vows before the Heart tree near Castle Black. He went to Winterfell where he assisted Jon Snow and Bran Stark during their escape from King's Landing; however, he never returned home.
As Season 4 began, fans were deeply worried about Benjen's disappearance. They couldn't understand why he seemed so inaccessible even after leaving the Wall in pursuit of Ser Waymar Royce.
After his disappearance, it's still uncertain what happened to Benjen. Some fan theories have suggested he went north of the Wall and was killed by White Walkers. Conversely, some believe the Children of the Forest saved him by placing a piece of dragonglass in his chest to prevent him from becoming another White Walker.
Benjen's story is far from over. He appears in multiple episodes later, saving another of Ned's sons from certain death by dragging them back to the Wall on his ranging horse.
He appears to have saved Jon Snow once again during Season 7, when the Starks were encircled by wights. Then, he rode in with his chain of fire to free Jon and the group from harm's way.
There remain many unsolved mysteries regarding Benjen in the books, but most have been answered by George R. R. Martin who recently released a new book to tackle this mystery.
One theory that has some support is that Benjen turned into Coldhands, a ghostly figure aligned with the Three-Eyed Raven. This seems reasonable enough and doesn't conflict with any other events in the series or novels. Additionally, his appearance in A Storm of Swords added further support to this fan theory, as did his return in Season 6.
Back in Season 1 of Game of Thrones, Benjen Stark ventured beyond the Wall to hunt. When he returned home, he carried many scars but also suffered from White Walkers stabbing him in the heart. Consequently, he spent much of his non-lives protecting those who had ventured beyond Westeros' walls.
In the series' Season 6 finale, Benjen came to help save Jon Snow. In a parallel to Jon's tale, he too was resurrected from the dead by The Children of the Forest; they pierced him with dragonglass (similar to how they created the first White Walker ever), stopping his transformation into a wight and returning him to human form.
Benjen hasn't been seen on the show since he dropped Bran and Meera off at the Wall in Season 6, yet some fans are speculating that he may still be alive. Some have even compared him to Coldhands - a character who helped Sam Tarly and Bran Stark along their journeys - who assisted both characters throughout their adventures.
Years ago, fans believed Coldhands to be Benjen's replacement. After all, the elk-riding Night's Watch ranger had only recently been revived by the three-eyed crow and displayed great courage when out in the wild.
But this was just a theory and has yet to be confirmed by George R. R. Martin himself.
We have come closest to official confirmation in 2015 with the editor of GRRM's note. In this document, Martin wrote that Coldhands is not Benjen Stark -- at least not the same person.
Benjen Stark is an intriguing character who we haven't seen much of on the show, so it could be possible that he may return in the future. He's a powerful warrior who could prove useful in Westeros' fight for survival.
Some fans have even compared Benjen to the mysterious Coldhands, who helped Sam Tarly and Bran Stark escape the wilderness in A Storm of Swords. Both characters appear to be kindhearted souls who enjoy riding elks. Unfortunately, until someone acquires an original manuscript for Winds of Winter someday, we won't know for certain if Benjen is really Coldhands.
Benjen Stark played an influential role in Jon Snow's early years. As Ned's youngest son, he was the first member of Night's Watch to persuade Jon that becoming a ranger was an honorable thing to do.
He led Jon on his first ranging expedition, but when they stopped for a break North of the Wall, he vanished. No trace was left behind and neither did either of his two Rangers (Othor Flowers and Jafer Flower).
Later, a band of wights charged into Three-Eyed Raven's cave, seemingly intent on taking out the old man. But then Benjen came riding in, spitting fire to destroy the wights with ease.
Benjen has proven his worth on the show many times, most recently helping Bran get through The Wall in Season 6. But what of his mysterious past?
In the books, we don't know much about Benjen's death. We do know he was stabbed with an ice sword from the White Walkers but it was actually Children of the Forest who forced a piece of dragonglass into his heart to stop him from becoming a wight - something Bran saw happen to The Night King during one of his visions, so it seems likely this was also the case for Benjen.
During the battle beyond the Wall, it appeared that he sacrificed himself to save his nephew - but is this really true? Wights swamped him as he rode away but it appears that he wasn't actually killed.
It's worth noting that Benjen in the TV Series has an intimate connection to the Three-Eyed Raven. He reportedly had a role in her resurrection, suggesting his reappearance could have been part of Bran's master plan.
The most likely explanation is that Bran, who understands how to use his Raven abilities, used them to "contract" Benjen. Much like how the original Three-Eyed Raven summoned him, Bran's innate power might have allowed him to lure Benjen to Westeros for help.