WARNING: Spoilers for this Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones
Season 6 of HBO's Game of Thrones is firing on all cylinders, with Sunday’s episode finally revealing the fate of a beloved character not seen since the early days of Season 1.
Following the dramatic events of the previous episode, which saw Summer and Hodor (Kristian Nairn) give their lives to save Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Meera (Ellie Kendrick), the early minutes of the most recent episode saw the debut of an iconic book character: Coldhands. And the show didn’t waste any time by making the big reveal that Bran’s mysterious saviour was actually his missing uncle, Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle).
How many people screamed "I FREAKIN' KNEW IT!!!" at their TVs?
If you guys will recall, Ned Stark’s (Sean Bean) brother and former First Ranger of the Night’s Watch went missing at the start of the series after going on a ranging mission north of the Wall, never to be seen again. His nephew, Jon Snow (Kit Harington), even went in search of him, to no avail. When we see Benjen again, however, he has now become an undead human after he was killed by the White Walkers. His transformation into a Wight was stopped by the Children of the Forest who plunged a shard of Dragonglass into his heart.
Coldhands is a George R.R. Martin book character fans expected to see much, much sooner on the fantasy series, but I guess it's better late than never, right? And this is why I think there's a chance we'll see Lady Stoneheart on the show this season. After all, we now have two "resurrected" Starks (Jon being the other one) in our midst already, why not three? But I digress. Here's what Game of Thrones producer Bryan Cogsman told Entertainment Weekly about bringing back Benjen Stark.
“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.”
In Game of Thrones Season 6: Inside the Episode #6, showrunners (and producers) David Benioff and D.B. Weiss touched upon Benjen’s long-awaited return. “Benjen was so important in the early episodes,” Benioff said. “He’s an important character who just disappears. It’s one of the mysteries that’s been out there for several seasons, and we’ve been looking forward to bringing him back.”
With Weiss adding, “Coldhands/Benjen obviously had a lot to do with the Three-Eyed Raven over the past several years since his disappearance, and he’s got a bit of a window into Bran’s purpose.”
What did you guys think of the return of Benjen Stark as Coldhands?