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Aebram

The search goes on for the Hooded Man

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Good morrow to all! I thought I'd take a shot at unraveling this puzzle.  This is not a Theory as much as an analysis, a collecting and organizing  of facts from many different sources in one place ...  plus my own best guess.

I started writing down some notes after following a recent thread suggesting that the Hooded Man is Torren Liddle, the mountain clan leader.   I don't think that's correct.  I agree with Jon Suburbs' comment there, that the speaking style of the Hooded Man is a clue to who he is, or isn't.  Even though the HM only says three lines, they're all quite elegantly phrased.  It seems clear that he is well-educated.  He probably grew up in a castle where he was taught by a maester.  So he's highborn.   I don't think the mountain clans have maesters?  Torren's speaking style certainly is much different from that of anyone raised in a castle.

In rereading the text, I noticed quite a number of points that I hadn't seen mentioned in the Forum.  This is one of my favorite Mysteries. As a writer myself, I'm impressed by how much information about the HM George managed to pack into a short passage.

Then I did some more searching, both in the forum and the wider Web.  I've read many pages of posts ... not all of them.  There are a LOT of posts  about the HM, but after reading 30 or 40 pages of them, I find that they mostly revolve around the same handful of candidates (assuming we count "some random Northman" as one person).   However, there are a number of interesting clues scattered through various posts, some going back to at least 2012.  It turns out that most of the things I "discovered" had already been noticed by others ...  After so many years, does it seem like the good theories are all taken?

Still, there are probably other newcomers to this forum besides me who I haven't read all those old posts.  Bringing all the clues together in one place may be helpful.  And perhaps I have an original thought or two to contribute.

Let's review the text:

Quote

 

Outside the snow was coming down so heavily that Theon could not see more than three feet in front of him.  He found himself alone in a white wilderness, walls of snow looming up on either side of him chest-high.  When he raised his head, the snowflakes brushed his cheeks like cold soft kisses.  He could hear the sound of music from the hall behind him. A soft song now, and sad.  For a moment he felt almost at peace.

Farther on, he came upon a man striding in the opposite direction, a hooded cloak flapping behind him.  When they found themselves face-to-face, their eyes met briefly.

The man put a hand on his dagger.  "Theon Turncloak.  Theon Kinslayer."

"I'm not.  I never ...  I was Ironborn."

"False is all you were.  How is it you still breathe?"

"The Gods are not done with me," Theon answered, wondering if this could be the killer, the night walker who had stuffed Yellow Dick's cock into his mouth and pushed Roger Ryswell's groom off the battlements.  Oddly, he was not afraid.   He pulled the glove from his left hand.  "Lord Ramsay is not done with me."

The man looked, and laughed.  "I leave you to him, then."

Theon trudged through the storm ...

 

Besides his educated speaking style, what else have we learned?

The HM comes striding through a heavy snowstorm.  Theon "trudged," but the HM was "striding."  This suggests that he's physically healthy and strong, and possibly tall as well, since long legs make it easier to walk through deep snow.

Their eyes met.  Some posters have suggested that Theon recognized this man, but I don't think so.  This is a Theon POV chapter; so if he recognized the HM, I think the text would tell us.  It was night; there might have been no light except from a distant torch or lantern, and the HM was of course wearing a hood.  Maybe Theon couldn't see much besides the eyes.  Some have suggested that the hood was down, and Theon could see his face clearly.  The text is not specific; but the fact that the cloak is described as "hooded" seems like an indication that the HM was wearing the hood at the time.  Otherwise why mention it?  And if you're wearing a hooded cloak during a heavy snowstorm, wouldn't you have the hood on?

The HM clearly does recognize Theon.  He seems surprised to see Theon at Winterfell.  He didn't even know that Theon was still alive.  This suggests that he's been in some remote place where he didn't get the latest news of the realm, although the "kinslayer" reference suggests that he has heard (falsely) that Theon had Bran and Rickon killed.  

More importantly, his reaction implies that he just arrived at Winterfell very recently.  How did he get in?  We know that castles in Westeros, as well as here on real-life Earth, often have a secret exit.  It's usually an underground tunnel that extends some distance from the castle, so that in the event of an attack, the inhabitants can escape through the tunnel and emerge outside the enemy forces.  An exit is also an entrance; and its location might be known to family members, friends, and close allies of House Stark.  Also, of course, Winterfell has those crypts, and possibly other hidden or long-forgotten passages.  It's been suggested that this was the real reason why Lady Dustin wanted to visit the crypts:  she knew that the secret tunnel connected to them, and she wanted to make sure that the access was not blocked.

At this time, Winterfell was occupied by forces of Houses Bolton, Manderly, and Frey, as well as some wedding guests and their own retainers.   So no one was likely to raise an alarm about seeing one more unfamiliar face around the castle.  The fact that the HM was striding, rather than creeping or sneaking, suggests that he didn't expect to be recognized.

The HM's attitude toward Theon seems somewhat superior or authoritative.  This suggests that he is someone who is accustomed to being in command of other men.

The HM reaches for his dagger after their eyes meet, not before.  Why would he do this?  I've thought of two possible explanations.

1.  He thinks that Theon might recognize him and alert others to his presence.  This would make sense if he's someone that Theon has met, but only occasionally: a friend or relative of House Stark who visited Winterfell a few times while Theon was there.  When he saw that Theon didn't recognize him, he no longer felt threatened.

2.  He reaches for his dagger out of simple anger towards the man that betrayed Robb and (supposedly) killed Bran and Rickon.  This would make sense if he's a relative, friend, or just a sympathizer to House Stark.

So to summarize what we know about the Hooded Man:
 - He is strong and healthy.
 - He's well-educated.
 - He's accustomed to command.
 - He's either a member of House Stark, or a trusted  friend or ally (since he knew about the secret entrance to the castle).
 - He just arrived at Winterfell quite recently.
 - Until he saw Theon, he didn't think there was anyone in the castle who would recognize him.
 - He knows Theon well enough to recognize him, but not well enough for Theon to recognize the HM.
 - Until this moment in the story, he didn't know that Theon was at Winterfell, or even that he was still alive.
 - He has heard (falsely) that Theon had Bran and Rickon killed, and may be angry about it -- not quite angry enough to kill him over it, but enough to reach for his dagger.

With all that in mind, who the heck is he?  Someone who knows the story better than me may be able to use these facts to narrow down the possibilities to a single character.  I'm not that good, but I think we can rule out the number of people.  For starters, the fact that the HM is highborn and educated rules out people such as Harwin, Davos, and Dagmer Cleftjaw.  They wouldn't speak as eloquently as the HM.  Well, maybe Davos would; but I think there are other facts that rule him out.

Some readers have suggested the "Durden" theory: that Theon is actually having a vision of some alternate or future version of himself.  This doesn't make sense to me.  Future-Theon would have all of real-Theon's memories; why would he be surprised to encounter himself anywhere?

There's a theory that the HM is a vision of Euron Greyjoy, projecting himself into Theon's mind via a glass candle.  This doesn't seem to fit the facts.  A projected vision wouldn't come striding through the snow.  Theon would hear someone call his name, and when he turned to look, it would just magically be there.  And the things the HM says and does, such as reaching for his dagger, don't seem to fit this scenario.  Euron's such a sadistic SOB, he'd probably throw back his hood and reveal himself, just to freak Theon out.

There's an intriguing theory at:

    https://cantuse.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/the-hooded-man-uncloaked/

-- that the HM is actually Mors Umber, and that he has killed Roger Ryswell and disguised himself as Roger using one of Melisandre's magic bracelets.  I see some problems with this.  It requires the bracelet to be a "plug-and-play" device, something that can be used by a person with no experience or training in the magical arts.  Remember this from ADWD 31 (Melisandre): 

Quote

Melisandre touched the ruby at her neck and spoke a word.  The sound echoed queerly from the corners of the room and twisted like a worm inside their ears.  The wildling heard one word, the crow another.  Neither was the word that left her lips.  The ruby on the wildling's wrist darkened, and the wisps of light and shadow around him writhed and faded.

 

This doesn't seem like a job for an amateur.

Also, since Umber and Ryswell are allies, I don't see Mors killing Roger just to advance his plan.  However, Cantuse does point out a lot of intriguing facts.  There definitely seems to be something fishy going on with Roger.  Perhaps he's involved in the murders at Winterfell.  (I'm not convinced that the spearwives did the killing. The dialog is ambiguous about this, and I don't see how it would advance their plan to rescue fArya. But that's a whole separate topic.)

Some have suggested that the HM isn't anyone important, just some random Northman.  I don't think so because, in that case, there is no point to this whole scene.  It doesn't give us any insights into the story line or Theon's personality.  GRRM wouldn't waste paragraphs on this unless it was essential to the story in some way.

The dialogue, being so brief, doesn't give us many clues, but I did try to track down a few points. The sentence, "I leave you to him," seemed familiar, so I searched all five e-books for the words '-- leave you to --" to allow for variations.  It turns out that there are only a few occurrences:  two by Jon Snow, and one each by Jaime, Edmure, and sea-captain Moreo.

Could Jaime be the HM?  It's a stretch, but I suppose it's possible.  The last we heard of him, Brienne had lured him off somewhere, presumably to meet with Lady Stoneheart.  Perhaps LS sent Jaime to Winterfell to rescue "Arya," or to kill some of her enemies who were there.  He wouldn't know about the secret entrance to the castle, but LS would; she could have told him how to get in.  He had probably met Theon briefly when he came to Winterfell with King Robert in AGOT.  So there was some slight chance that Theon would recognize him.  

On the other hand, there are likely quite a few other people at Winterfell who would recognize Jaime.  So if he was the HM, he would probably be sneaking rather than striding.  At night, during a snowstorm, in a deserted part of the castle, he might have felt safe enough to stride.  But I think he's a long shot to be the HM.

The nickname "Theon Turncloak" is pretty common; just in ADWD, it appears 12 other times.  So that's not much help.

Some readers have suggested that the HM could be the Blackfish, and that was my own first hunch, just by intuition.  Admittedly, Winterfell is a loooong way from Riverrun.  But being a Tully, as well as Lady Stark's uncle, he probably has friends and allies throughout the Riverlands and the North, and possibly among the crannogmen too; so he would have help all along the way.  The biggest hole I see in this theory is, why would BF go there?  He probably has more important things to do in his home territories.  But he might go there to rescue his (supposed) niece, or to get revenge against Frey & Bolton for their treachery and murders.

Benjen Stark is a popular candidate for HM, and he does seem to check all the boxes.  He disappeared North of the Wall, but he could have returned South in secret.  He might have used the Black Gate, or the same caves that Gendel and Gorn used to raid the North.  Or maybe the Children of the Forest helped him, as Bran suggested, and showed him a route.

Some readers believe that the HM can't be Benjen, because Theon would have recognized him; but the timeline says otherwise.  The story doesn't tell us exactly when Benjen left Winterfell to join the Night's Watch.  But there's an SSM stating that he left shortly after Ned returned home from Robert's Rebellion.  Theon wasn't brought to WF until after Balon's rebellion, about 8 years later; Benjen was long gone by then.  It's possible that the only time Theon and Benjen were ever together was at the Starks' welcoming feast for King Robert. So as with Jaime, the two might have met, but only briefly.  There are other lords and ladies at Winterfell who may have met Ben at some time, but not recently, since he joined the Watch some 17 years before the events of ADWD.  So he could have been pretty confident that he wouldn't be recognized.

Some have said that Benjen wouldn't go to WF because he'd be deserting the Watch if he did that.  But not every black brother who journeys South of the Wall is a deserter.  They sometimes go South to fight wildling raiders, recruit new members, deliver important messages, etc.  And House Stark has always been a valuable supporter of the Watch.  Protecting or rescuing Starks, or Winterfell itself, might be considered legitimate NW business.  

Also, it's possible that the COTF brought Benjen up to speed (or he already knew) about the Others, the Long Night, prophecies, etc.  If, as some say, the words "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell" are more than a family tradition, Benjen's return there might have important metaphysical ramifications.

With all that in mind, I'd say that Benjen is the most likely person to be under that hood.  But admittedly, there are other possibilities, and I didn't find a smoking-gun proof.

 

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A very well-thought out and well-written thesis. 
I agree that it makes the most sense that Benjen is the hooded man, though I’d also believe that it was Galbart Glover, as someone suggested to me, once.

On a side note, wasn’t it revealed that Mance’s spearwives did most of the killings around the castle? The only one they outright denied was killing Little Walder, as far as I recall. 

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I’d really like to believe that the answer to this is quite simpler. 
 

I believe the Hooded Man could be none other than Wyman Manderlys cousin, Ser Marlon Manderly- the captain of the House guard. 
Every person he has killed has made a huge step in the paranoia of the castle, which we know the Manderly’s are pushing towards.  I don’t believe Wyman is actually thinking he will get out of this situation alive, so long as he can wait out until Davos returns, OR do as much damage to the Frey-Bolton North as he can. Which to be honest, with the killing of Small Walder Frey- that sparked enough of a conversation to end in bloodshed. 
 

By what the OP has stated, I think it fits absolutely into the facts already presented. 
 

-The Hooded Man aka Marlon Manderly doesn’t begin his killings until after everyone is within the castle. There may be a timeline that even proves more about the Manderlys in general. 
 

-He is someone that when he needs to, can move about the castle: either proving an ability for stealth on a Faceless Man level, or that he is known about the castle anyway. 

-Small Walder even stated he was seeing someone in the Manderly camp about a gambling debt.  
 

-The cream of the crop: his interaction with Theon. He hates Theon, but he doesn’t automatically kill him. Although we KNOW this person is a fervent and staunch Stark loyalist.  However Marlon Manderly also probably knows that Theon did NOT actually kill the boys. I think this part is the largest piece of the puzzle,

because why would someone who clearly wants to create dissent and who is a loyalist to the Starks NOT KILL THE PERSON WHO BETRAYED THEM THE MOST. At this point Theon is more threat alive than anything else, his death would cause so much derision it should be motive enough for the HM to kill him on site. 
 

Unless he knew that Theon was paying dearly for sins that he only half did. 

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12 hours ago, Aebram said:

So to summarize what we know about the Hooded Man:

 - He is strong and healthy.
 - He's well-educated.
 - He's accustomed to command.
 - He's either a member of House Stark, or a trusted  friend or ally (since he knew about the secret entrance to the castle).
 - He just arrived at Winterfell quite recently.
 - Until he saw Theon, he didn't think there was anyone in the castle who would recognize him.
 - He knows Theon well enough to recognize him, but not well enough for Theon to recognize the HM.
 - Until this moment in the story, he didn't know that Theon was at Winterfell, or even that he was still alive.
 - He has heard (falsely) that Theon had Bran and Rickon killed, and may be angry about it -- not quite angry enough to kill him over it, but enough to reach for his dagger.

...

Some readers have suggested the "Durden" theory: that Theon is actually having a vision of some alternate or future version of himself.  This doesn't make sense to me.  Future-Theon would have all of real-Theon's memories; why would he be surprised to encounter himself anywhere?

That's not really an argument against Theon-Durden. The usual theory is that Durden is an alter-ego, born from the trauma he has been through splitting his mind. He's what Theon could have been or should have been (or would like to be but isn't, or at least doesn't realise he is). I immediately thought this was the case when I first read this passage, before encountering the 'theory' online, and am yet to be persuaded it's someone else.

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13 hours ago, Aebram said:

So to summarize what we know about the Hooded Man:
 - He is strong and healthy.
 - He's well-educated.
 - He's accustomed to command.
 - He's either a member of House Stark, or a trusted  friend or ally (since he knew about the secret entrance to the castle).
 - He just arrived at Winterfell quite recently.
 - Until he saw Theon, he didn't think there was anyone in the castle who would recognize him.
 - He knows Theon well enough to recognize him, but not well enough for Theon to recognize the HM.
 - Until this moment in the story, he didn't know that Theon was at Winterfell, or even that he was still alive.
 - He has heard (falsely) that Theon had Bran and Rickon killed, and may be angry about it -- not quite angry enough to kill him over it, but enough to reach for his dagger.

I always thought the hooded man was Robbet Glover.  Some thoughts:

  • We know he is working with Wyman and Davos to bring the Starks back and undermine Roose.
  • He has a reason to be in Winterfell, and it makes sense that he arrived quite recently. 
  • He is a second son, Theon has surely met him, but would likely have paid more attention to his older brother Galbart.
  • He fits all of the points from the OP except for the last one (since he knows Rickon is alive, and probably he suspects Bran lives too) but he would still probably angry about it

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1 hour ago, Paltogue said:

The usual theory is that Durden is an alter-ego, born from the trauma he has been through splitting his mind. He's what Theon could have been or should have been (or would like to be but isn't, or at least doesn't realise he is). I immediately thought this was the case when I first read this passage, before encountering the 'theory' online, and am yet to be persuaded it's someone else.

A lot of other readers have had the same reaction.  But it just doesn't seem to fit the facts.  If it's Durden, why would he be surprised to encounter Theon, or wonder how he still lives, or refer to himself as a kinslayer when he knows the truth, or reach for an imaginary dagger that he can't actually use?

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3 hours ago, OberynBlackfyre said:

I believe the Hooded Man could be none other than Wyman Manderlys cousin, Ser Marlon Manderly- the captain of the House guard

He does fit a lot of the facts, but not all.  I think that anyone who arrived at Winterfell before the wedding must know about Theon. There isn't much to do for fun in a half-ruined castle in Winter; so I expect that everyone has spent a lot of time just talking, exchanging news and gossip. And of course, Theon was part of the wedding ceremony.  So no one would be surprised to encounter him, or wonder how he still breathes.  The HM must be someone who arrived very recently.

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1 hour ago, Aebram said:

A lot of other readers have had the same reaction.  But it just doesn't seem to fit the facts.  If it's Durden, why would he be surprised to encounter Theon, or wonder how he still lives, or refer to himself as a kinslayer when he knows the truth, or reach for an imaginary dagger that he can't actually use?

I think of it as a sort 'You talkin' to me?' moment. This is the first time the alter-ego has been encountered (as far as we know), a kind of (re)awakening, so an element of surprise on both their parts (i.e. on some aspect of Theon's psyche) is not unexpected. It's kind of 'Oh, so you're (I'm) still alive are you (am I)? More's the pity. Is that really you (me)? I ought to kill you (myself) after everything you've (I've) done. But maybe I have a use for you (myself) yet' etc. etc. The kinslayer part probably refers to the killing of the miller's boy(s).

Edited by Paltogue

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Anyone considered that Rodrik Cassel fits those criteria and might not be dead?  

Quote

Ser Rodrik had lost his left arm at the elbow.

He was seen only from the top of the battlements and in torchlight.  

Quote

A torch was waved above the bodies, so the defenders upon the walls might see the faces of the dead.

He wears all the right stuff, minus the sword he can't now use.  

Quote

He wore ringmail, dagger, and longsword under a dark cloak with a hood he could pull up over his head.

Says practically the same thing to Theon earlier and even goes for his weapon in the same way.  

Quote

Ser Rodrik never gave him the chance to finish. "Viper," the knight declared, his face red with rage beneath those white whiskers. "I gave you the chance to save your men and die with some small shred of honor, Turncloak. I should have known that was too much to ask of a childkiller." His hand went to the hilt of his sword. "I ought cut you down here and now and put an end to your lies and deceits. By the gods, I should."

Even Ned has trouble recognizing him, when he isn't expecting to see him.  

Quote

Ned spun, knife in hand, as an old white-haired man hurried toward them. He was dressed in brown roughspun, and the soft flesh under his chin wobbled as he ran. "This is no business of yours," Ned began; then, suddenly, the recognition came. He lowered the dagger, astonished. "Ser Rodrik?"

Now about 10 months after being left for dead, Rodrik might be a bit leaner, maybe shaven, and trying to hide his identity.  Theon would likely have quite a bit of trouble recognizing him.  

The lack of arm might explain why he laughs at Theon's hand.   

Then considers his torture deserved for what he did to the Starks.  

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I find it hard to believe it's Benjen. If he's south of the Wall and founds about demise of his house, wouldn't he firstly want to ask Jon about stuff that concerns his brother's life?

Edited by Lady Winter Rose

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7 minutes ago, Lady Winter Rose said:

I find it hard to believe it's Benjen. If he's south of the Wall and founds about demise of his house, wouldn't he firstly want to ask Jon about stuff that concerns his brother's life?

That's a fair point.  Benjen has been missing for so long, we really have no idea what he's up to at this point.  Personally, I think he's the one who buried that cache of dragonglass at the Fist of the First Men.  We know that it had been buried recently, and it was wrapped in a black cloak.  But the dragonglass itself suggests that the Children of the Forest are involved.  So some greenseer may have given Ben information that shaped his decision about what to do next.  

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On 10/12/2019 at 3:16 AM, Aebram said:

I started writing down some notes after following a recent thread suggesting that the Hooded Man is Torren Liddle, the mountain clan leader.   I don't think that's correct.  I agree with Jon Suburbs' comment there, that the speaking style of the Hooded Man is a clue to who he is, or isn't.  Even though the HM only says three lines, they're all quite elegantly phrased.  It seems clear that he is well-educated.  He probably grew up in a castle where he was taught by a maester.  So he's highborn.   I don't think the mountain clans have maesters?  Torren's speaking style certainly is much different from that of anyone raised in a castle.

We don't know for sure that the mountain clans don't have maesters. Aemon sends ravens to the mountain clans asking for help before Mance and the wildlings arrive.This cannot happen unless there are ravens trained to fly to the holdfasts concerned, which likely means there are maesters there to receive them or at least people who can read the messages, which in turn means people educated by maesters.

I don't think it's correct to say people raised in castles only speak received English. Would that apply to GreatJon Umber?

 

Edited by redriver

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19 hours ago, Aebram said:

He's either a member of House Stark, or a trusted  friend or ally (since he knew about the secret entrance to the castle).

What secret entrance?  Is it the one that Theon did not use to sneak into the castle instead of going over the walls (which even he admits was quite risky)?  Or perhaps it is the one that Ser Rodrik did not use to take the castle back from Theon.  Or the one that Maester Luwin did not use to sneak Bran, Rickon and the Reeds out of the castle.  Because if that's the one you are referring to, I doubt it exists.  Keeping knowledge of it from Theon makes sense, but if the Master-at-arms and castle's Maester don't know about it, then I am hard pressed to imagine who would.

19 hours ago, Aebram said:

He just arrived at Winterfell quite recently.
 - Until he saw Theon, he didn't think there was anyone in the castle who would recognize him.
 - He knows Theon well enough to recognize him, but not well enough for Theon to recognize the HM.
 - Until this moment in the story, he didn't know that Theon was at Winterfell, or even that he was still alive.

I think his comment "How is it that you still live?" is more of a rhetorical question than actual surprise.  In which case, there is no reason to think that he hasn't been there for some time.  Given the large number of men in the castle, he could have come in with one of the visiting lords' retinues.  I think Manderly in particular had a lot of men with him.  And  unless his appearance is quite distinctive, he wouldn't necessarily be recognized.  By the way, as to Benjen, he spent several weeks at Winterfell; he escorted Jon to the Wall and left at the same time as the King's party.  Theon would have seen quite a bit of him.

As to recognizing Theon, Theon visited most of the castles as Ned's ward.  I expect that there are quite a few people who would recognize him.

As a side note, I have no idea who the Hooded Man is, or even if he is important. 

Edited by Nevets

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19 hours ago, Aebram said:

Outside the snow was coming down so heavily that Theon could not see more than three feet in front of him.  He found himself alone in a white wilderness, walls of snow looming up on either side of him chest-high.  When he raised his head, the snowflakes brushed his cheeks like cold soft kisses.  He could hear the sound of music from the hall behind him. A soft song now, and sad.  For a moment he felt almost at peace.

This quote reminds me that the arrival of Theon and his Ironborn at Winterfell was described in terms of he sea overtopping the walls. Readers saw the "sea" as metaphorical and dream-like, part of the Bran's dream. But what if the metaphor continues with the deep snow? Is Theon swimming or treading water as he finds himself chest-deep in snow?

Theon has undergone the ritual of the drowned god - with a recent refresher from his uncle Aeron Greyjoy. "What's dead can never die" is the ritual phrase for followers of the drowned god, so Theon may have a sort of immunity to the deep snow that stands in for the rising tide swallowing up Winterfell.

Who does Theon encounter in this metaphorical sea? Not a mortal human but someone who is able to stride through the deep snow. What if the hooded man is the Winterfell equivalent of the Shrouded Lord? What if the drowned god and the shrouded lord are the same deity, and Theon is able to survive an encounter with him because he has undergone the drowning and resuscitation ritual?

Because the shrouded lord uses a kiss to infect a person with greyscale, it's interesting that Theon compares the snowflakes on his cheeks to the sensation of being kissed. We also know that the Lightning Lord bestowed the breath of life on Catelyn / Lady Stoneheart with a kiss.

Or maybe the encounter with the hooded man is a separate "immunity" ritual, giving Theon even better immortality than he already had: he was immune to drowning; now he is also immune to freezing.

Fwiw, I think the reference to Theon as a kinslayer does not refer to the widespread belief that he killed Bran and Rickon. I think he must have killed someone in his own family to have earned this label from the hooded man. But I don't know which kin he would have killed, unless he was related to Todric or Ralf Kenning.

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7 hours ago, Nevets said:

As to recognizing Theon, Theon visited most of the castles as Ned's ward.  I expect that there are quite a few people who would recognize him.

As a side note, I have no idea who the Hooded Man is, or even if he is important. 

I'd agree with your first point.It rules out the likes of Rodrick Cassells who trained Theon at arms for nigh on ten years.

On the second, it's set up as a mystery and therefore must have some importance or why waste words?Its importance may be limited to the narrative surrounding Winterfell at the moment however.

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On 10/12/2019 at 4:16 AM, Aebram said:

Outside the snow was coming down so heavily that Theon could not see more than three feet in front of him.  He found himself alone in a white wilderness, walls of snow looming up on either side of him chest-high.  When he raised his head, the snowflakes brushed his cheeks like cold soft kisses.  He could hear the sound of music from the hall behind him. A soft song now, and sad.  For a moment he felt almost at peace.

Farther on, he came upon a man striding in the opposite direction, a hooded cloak flapping behind him.  When they found themselves face-to-face, their eyes met briefly.

The man put a hand on his dagger.  "Theon Turncloak.  Theon Kinslayer."

"I'm not.  I never ...  I was Ironborn."

"False is all you were.  How is it you still breathe?"

"The Gods are not done with me," Theon answered, wondering if this could be the killer, the night walker who had stuffed Yellow Dick's cock into his mouth and pushed Roger Ryswell's groom off the battlements.  Oddly, he was not afraid.   He pulled the glove from his left hand.  "Lord Ramsay is not done with me." 

The man looked, and laughed.  "I leave you to him, then."

Theon trudged through the storm ...

 

One thing to note, Hooded Man hates Theon, but he's unwilling to kill him after Theon makes almostphilosophical statement *God's are not done with me, neither is Lord Ramsay*, and has sense for irony, so we can exclude vengeful lot and people with character whose don't match HM's, like Ser Rodrick.

 

It could be Benjen

Edited by Lady Winter Rose

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On 10/12/2019 at 11:16 AM, Paltogue said:

That's not really an argument against Theon-Durden. The usual theory is that Durden is an alter-ego, born from the trauma he has been through splitting his mind. He's what Theon could have been or should have been (or would like to be but isn't, or at least doesn't realise he is). I immediately thought this was the case when I first read this passage, before encountering the 'theory' online, and am yet to be persuaded it's someone else.

Just so. 

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We see Theon surrounded by the snow, being 'kissed by snowflakes' - or 'Winter's advances' if you like. The HM says nothing that ANY northman wouldn't say. I suspect he is just a personification of 'the North', an everyman figure. For now, the North has 'accepted' Bolton rule, so would leave Theon to Ramsay in that sense.

Perhaps we've all been overthinking this? :dunno:

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3 hours ago, Rufus Snow said:

We see Theon surrounded by the snow, being 'kissed by snowflakes' - or 'Winter's advances' if you like. The HM says nothing that ANY northman wouldn't say. I suspect he is just a personification of 'the North', an everyman figure. For now, the North has 'accepted' Bolton rule, so would leave Theon to Ramsay in that sense.

Perhaps we've all been overthinking this? :dunno:

This and Theon Durden would be exercises in trolling his readers by the author ,to me.

I would like to think he doesn't do that.

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On 10/12/2019 at 6:47 PM, Nevets said:

think his comment "How is it that you still live?" is more of a rhetorical question than actual surprise. 

Yes! Yeeees! 

I wholeheartedly agree with this. It’s how I've always read the exchange. 

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