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Game of Thrones’ first teaser trailer for its eighth and final season—which features Jon Snow, Sansa, and Arya Stark in the crypts of Winterfell—thrilled fans who long believed that the mysterious crypts would play a significant role in the fantasy epic’s endgame.
Built below the oldest building in Winterfell, House Stark’s ancestral burial chambers comprises multiple underground levels and is larger than the castle itself. Said to be constructed by Brandon Stark AKA Bran the Builder who also built The Wall after The Long Night, many fans hence reckoned that Winterfell will have the same protection magic that keeps White Walkers and wights at bay a la The Wall—before the Night King and a resurrected Viserion brought it down, that is.
A dark and chilly space that Ned, Bran, and Rickon Stark had dreamed about, some fans are also certain that the crypts will be where Jon Snow AKA Aegon Targaryen will learn of his true parentage, just as the teaser trailer appears to be hinting.
What secrets could be hidden in the shadowy Winterfell crypts? Let’s check out the following fan theories and see.
1. Evidence of Jon Snow’s Lineage
The most popular fan theory about the crypts is that there will be evidence to prove Jon Snow is the legitimate son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen hidden by Ned within his sister’s tomb. Items may include Rhaegar’s harp, a wedding certificate or robe, a dragon egg, or Ser Arthur Dayne’s ancestral sword Dawn, which was used to protect baby Jon and his mother at the Tower of Joy.
Even though Ned is said to have returned Dawn to Arthur’s sister Ashara Dayne in the books, many believed Dawn could be the fabled Lightbringer that Jon is destined to use against the Night King. And have you ever noticed that the “O’s” in the Game of Thrones logo look like harps? Jon Snow has always been the key protagonist in the A Song of Ice and Fire saga and many are adamant that his biological father’s favorite musical instrument will materialized as proof.
2. Secret Tomb for Aegon Targaryen
Jon Snow has recurring nightmares about the crypts and hates entering it. In A Storm of Swords, he dreamed that the cold stone statues of the Kings of Winter chided him that he’s “no Stark” and just before he reached the crypts’ deepest level, he’d wake up in cold sweat.
That’s because he’s no Stark but a Targaryen and one fan theory—which I concurred with—figured that at the lowest level where the crypts are partly collapsed, there will be an empty vault reserved for one Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen, complete with a plaque revealing his parentage. This theory is quite plausible as Ned could have prepared it for his nephew in advance, in case no one else would do it. It adds more poignancy to the Season 1 scene where Bran and Rickon went to the crypts prior to receiving news of their father’s execution in King’s Landing, with Bran sensing that Ned wanted to reveal “something to do about Jon.”
3. A Stark Army of the Dead
The Night King and his minions are on their way to Winterfell, there’s no doubt about it. Some fans believed that the Night King will increase his army by raising the hundreds of buried Starks in the crypts. But what if they do arise but end up fighting for Jon Snow and company instead a la the Army of the Dead in The Lord of the Rings, the J. R.R. Tolkien fantasy saga which Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin is unabashedly a big fan of?
Winter (read: Night King) is here and the Kings of Winter are probably so-called because they were conquerors of Winter and Winterfell was where “winter fell,” hence the name. It’s not exactly far-fetched as Jon did dream in A Game of Thrones of “dead kings came stumbling from their cold black graves.” If it does come to pass, we are in for one blood-chilling battle between two armies of the dead with the living in the midst.
4. Stash of Dragon Eggs
First mentioned in The World of Ice & Fire, and again in Martin’s latest Targaryen tome, Fire & Blood, a court jester named Mushroom claimed that while Prince Jacaerys (nee Targaryen) was at Winterfell prior to the Dance of the Dragons civil war, his dragon Vermax laid a clutch of eggs in the Winterfell crypts.
The fool’s report was regarded as poppycock but GoT fandom’s dragon lovers are hoping that it would prove to be true because if they could be found, who’s better at nursing dragon eggs and “turning them from stone” than the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen herself, who we all know will be in Winterfell? It will be cool if there are indeed dragon eggs in the crypts but if “only death pays for life,” who does Dany needs to lose in order to bring more dragons to life? Seriously, I’d rather she focuses on the child which has been heavily foreshadowed that she will be carrying in Season 8.
5. Prison of The Night Queen
The Night King on the show is not quite the same as the Night’s King mentioned in the books who has a Night’s Queen. Still, some fan theories think that the Night King’s main purpose in venturing south is to rescue his Night Queen, who’s been kept imprisoned in the Winterfell crypts since they were defeated by a Stark King thousands of years ago. This is why the crypts are always cold despite the presence of natural hot springs that keep the walls of Winterfell warm. It is also the reason why the Kings of Winter and Lords of Winterfell statues have iron longswords across their laps as they “keep vengeful spirits within the crypt” because, according to Old Nan, the Others—White Walkers on the show—apparently fear iron.
6. Prison of The Great Other
Another theory, though, thinks that it is The Great Other who is imprisoned in the Winterfell crypts and the one causing the eternal chill in the crypts. Whereas the Night Queen has never been mentioned in the show, The Great Other—the nemesis of the God of Light, R’hllor—was mentioned in passing in Season 4. Regarded as “the Lord of Darkness, the Soul of Ice, the God of Night and Terror” by R’hllor followers such as Mellisandre and Thoros of Myr, this evil god is believed to be the one that the Night King is aiming to free. But just how a god can be imprisoned by humans is beyond belief because if the Starks are that powerful, shouldn’t they be lording over Westeros for centuries and not the Targaryens? Just a thought…
7. Secret Tunnel to White Harbor
When images of the Winterfell set in Belfast being set ablaze during filming for Season 8 emerged, many “leaked” scripts and plotline theories sprung up claiming that Winterfell will be burnt to the ground during The Great War in the final season. And for survivors, the only route of escape is through the crypts where there are tunnels leading safely all the way to White Harbor.
It’s reassuring to know that our heroes in Winterfell have an escape route if indeed the Stark family home was to fall. However, there’s no info anywhere stating such long tunnels exist under Winterfell. Coincidentally, a King Jon Stark did build a castle, Wolf’s Den, in White Harbor that has a secret long tunnel that connects to the new castle built by the later owners, House Manderly. Whether that tunnel runs all the way to Winterfell is however doubtful. Still, a cool theory nonetheless.
The final season of Game of Thrones premieres on April 14, 2019 on HBO.
* 'Game of Thrones': Who's Likely to Die in Season 8?
* ‘Game Of Thrones’: 5 Heroic Deeds Jaime Lannister May Achieve in Season 8
* 'Games Of Thrones': 10 Essential Reunions At Winterfell We'd Like To See In Season 8
* 'Game of Thrones' Season 8: Why Jon Snow May Use Greatsword Dawn to Slay the Night King