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BlueEyedCrow

The Hooded Man new (?) theory...(possible spoilers)

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**SPOILERS**

This is probably one of the favorite mysteries of these forums. There always seems to be a post trending about the hooded man. Guesses have included Benjen, Blackfish, Theon Durden, Glover, a ghost from the crypts, etc...

I have read game of thrones twice now and now im listening to it on audio book on my long drive to school/work.

My new theory, and I'm not really sure if it has or has not been thought of before (probably has), is that the hooded man is the crypt statue carver. This is a person who knew the Starks well. Let us assume he carved the statues for Rickard, Brandon, Lyanna, and lastly Ned. He would have known all about Theon, but Theon would not have given a stone-carver a second glance, which would explain Theon not recognizing him. The stoen carver would know all the in and outs of, at minimum the crpyts, if not all Winterfell. He would know if there was a passage into, or out of, Winterfell via the crypts.

Also, all the talk of ghosts in the crypts could very well be him. Logically, this makes more sense to me than any of the other theories. Previously, I supported Tyler Durden, which still could be true. The stone-carver, in my opinion, makes mroe sense than Blackfish, Glover, and Benjen for sure.

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But when did he enter Winterfell? And how?

Edit: I just realized you said something about secret ways. That could be the how but the when and the why are not clear to me

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I can see where you are coming from... someone who would know Theon's face, who Theon would not recognize, etc. However, I always felt like the hooded man made a vague threat to Theon. I don't recall the text, but he said something about leaving him to Ramsey, as if to say; 'if it weren't for your worse fate, I would see to your end now.' Thats something I would expect of, say Harwin or the Blackfish, but not something I would expect from any 'small folk', such as a stone carver.

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Well, if he is someone he should be, well, someone. I don't think the answer to the mystery could be "the guy who carves the WF statues who has never ever been mentioned".

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Interesting... I wondered a while back who was in charge of sculpting the Stark figures but never thought he could be the HM... I think it's a little far fetched, but who knows ?

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OP and everyone who has posted or will read this topic, I know I have a long post below, but I put a lot effort into researching this topic to provide direct quotes, text and map references from the books, and I very much hope you guys will take the time to read what I've put together below and share what you think. :blush:

My goal for this post is to provide an opportunity for us to delve into further debate on the identity of the elusive Hooded Man in Winterfell. Most post first includes the full interaction between the Hooded Man (HM) and Theon from the book so it can be analyzed and then lists my opinions on the likelihood of several HM identity options based on the facts and dialogue I've uncovered from the books.

A Dance with Dragons - A Ghost in Winterfell/Theon Pages 611-612:

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 Turncloack. 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."

My Thoughts on the Hooded Man Identity Theories:

*Because Theon wonders if the HM is the killer in Winterfell when he speaks with him and GRRM took the time to include that in Theon's thoughts, I cannot seem to decide if the HM is also the killer. Therefore, I've included the murders as evidence for/against certain people being the HM.*

1) Benjen Stark - I've seen this theory quite a few times, and if anyone has read my posts, they will know I usually say that I won't knock any theory until it has been officially disproved by the text, but this has always been one of the ones I find least likely. Like many finds, I've held onto hope that Benjen is either alive or we will at least find his body to know what happened to him, but my caveat about him being the hooded man is that I don't see how, if Benjen has been north of the Wall and unseen by anyone to our knowledge, how would he be so up-to-date on current issues to be able to call Theon a Turncloack and Kinslayer? I can agree that of all the suspects, a direct, blood member of the Stark family could be one of the most likely to consider Theon a Kinslayer since he was raised with the children. Another thing I have against this, why would Benjen have gone south of the Wall to kill a few random people allied with the Boltons instead of going for Ramsay, Roose or Lady Dustin and also instead of going to the Wall. If he knows what happened in Winterfell, wouldn't he also know what has happened at the Wall with the Wildling attacks and that the bastard nephew he was fond of, Jon Snow, is now a very young Lord Commander who would need him? Benjen would definitely know of the Others threat if he was beyond the Wall for an extended period of time, and as a Brother of the Night's Watch, I would think he'd feel his duty was there.

2) Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully - Based strictly upon the dialogue between the HM and Theon, I could see the Blackfish as a HM possibility because of the things the Blackfish says during his parlay with Jamie in AFfC. When Jamie offers him to take the black with Jon Snow as Lord Commander, the Blackfish says, "Did your father arrange for that as well? Catelyn never trusted the boy, as I recall, no more than she ever trusted Theon Greyjoy. It would seem she was right about them both." Form this, I could see the Blackfish referring to Theon as Theon Turncloack and Theon Kinslayer. However, while it is very hard to determine where the timeline between AFfC and ADwD mesh, the textual evidence I've found makes it seem extremely unlikely for the Blackfish to reach Winterfell in time to be the HW. The ADwD A Ghost in Winterfell chapter (pages 605-617) where the killings in Winterfell begin to happen and the HM meets Theon is a little more than halfway through ADwD. It is not until Jamie Lannister's final AFfC chapter (pages 942-958) which is also the second to the last chapter of AFfC, that he discovers the Blackfish escaped Riverrun. Jamie's next and only chapter, which is in ADwD (pages 632-646), appears two chapters after the ADwD A Ghost in Winterfell chapter.

In AFfC through Edmure, Jamie discovers the Blackfish swam under Riverrun's Water Gate after dark it the evening before Riverrun was to surrender, and it was not until morning time around 36 hours after he had escaped that Jamie even is informed he is missing. Jamie even thinks, "By now, the Blackfish could be ten leagues downstream."

I've looked at the maps in the books/on the Wiki (anyone with the map book, please help out), and it looks as though if the Blackfish swam through the Water Gate downstream, he would go down either the Red Fork (almost directly south) or the Tumblestone (southwest). Unfortunately I can't find which river the Water Gate lets out through. In ADwD Jamie does ask Tytos Blackwood if the Blackfish is at Raventree Hall, which is north of Riverrun. This makes it seem like Jamie at least entertains the idea that the Blackfish could have swam out of Riverrun and still gone north, but Raventree Hall is not that far from Riverrun like Winterfell, and I really don't see how the Blackfish could have made it all of the way to Winterfell based on the timeline I've laid out.

3) Theon Durden - As I said with Benjen, I won't knock this one until the books disprove it, and I've been intrigued by the topics for this theory. I don't like the idea of us having an unreliable POV that talked to himself and didn't even know it, but the HM does reiterate some of the things that Theon thinks about himself so I can see why it has come about.

In my opinion, the most important, standout HM remark - calling him Theon Kinslayer - is crucial in determining who he is. Theon is called Turncloak by a number of people, but as you will see in more detail in the option below, I don't think too many people will name him kinslayer.

There is textual evidence that Theon feels the Starks were his family which would make them kin: ADwD pg. 616 - "I was Theon of House Greyjoy. I was a ward to Eddard Stark, a friend and a brother to his children."

But Theon is pretty much the only person (other than Manderly) who knows he didn't really kill his brothers Bran and Rickon so I don't see why, even if he had a split personality that he would name himself kinslayer. When the WW overhear him praying to the Old Gods, he is trying to explain why he killed the miller's boys and thinks: ADwD pg. 616 - It was not Bran we killed. It was not Rickon. They were only miller's sons, from the mill by the Acorn Water.

In the next Theon chapter, he tries to further explain his innocence on that crime to the WW: ADwD pg. 678-679 - "I have done terrible things...betrayed my own, turned my cloak, ordered the death of men who trusted me...but I am no kinslayer." [Theon] "Stark's boys were never brothers to you, aye. We know. [Rowan] That was true, but it was not what Theon had meant. They were not my blood, but even so, I never harmed them.

As for Theon being the murderer, I could see him wanting to kill Yellow Dick, someone who tormented him. However, Theon is brought before Lord Roose Bolton, Lady Dustin, Roger Ryswell and Aenys Frey (prior to the death of Big Walder), and while Frey says Theon could use a sword or a dagger with only four remaining fingers on his right hand, the northern lords all agree Theon is not the killer: ADwD pg. 613 - Lady Dustin - "Are all Freys such fools? Look at him. Hold a dagger? He hardly has the strength to hold a spoon. Do you truly think he could have overcome the Bastard's disgusting creature and shoved his manhood down his throat?" Roger Ryswell - "These dead men were all strong men and none of them were stabbed. The turncloak's not our killer." Roose Bolton - "I am inclined to agree. Strength aside, he does not have it in him to betray my son."

4) Northern Lords - After Frey, Bolton, Lady Dustin and Ryswell discount Theon as the HM killer, they discuss other suspects. Frey names Manderly or any of his knights, but both Ryswell and Lady Dustin discount any of them. I also agree Manderly or one of his own is not the HM because they know the boys weren't killed by Theon thanks to Wex. Lady Dustin says, "The north remembers, Frey." And she and Ryswell point out Manderly wasn't the only northman who lost kin at the Red Wedding and who would want vengeance against the Freys for it, naming the following houses: Umbers (she says Whoresbane only holds back because the Freys have the Greatjon), Flints, Cerwyns, Tallharts, Slates, Ryswells and even Dustins. They do leave out some of the northern lords (Glovers, Karstarks, Reeds and Mormonts) and mountain clans (Wulls, Norreys and Liddles), and I can only guess this is because those are northern lords who have no forces in the Bolton Northern Army that is currently at Winterfell, and they are probably not thinking anyone could have slipped in who wasn't already in their party. My doubts against the HM being a northern lord stem mainly from him two things. First is the HM referring to Theon as "Theon Kinslayer." I know mostly likely all northmen would have seen or at least known how Theon grew up at Winterfell for the past nine years, that he was treated kindly by the Starks (considering how much they respected Ned), and more than likely know he initially fought alongside Robb in the War of the Five Kings. But would they really go as far to call a ward kin? We get a firsthand glimpse into the feelings toward wards during the discussion Jon has with his advisers and the Old Flint and The Norrey about taking child hostages from all the chiefs and captains of the Wildlings let through the Wall. The mountain clansmen are both familiar with that as a practice in the North. Old Flint says, "Wards, we called them, when Winterfell demanded boys of us, but they were hostages, and none the worse for it." The Norrey replies, "None but them whose sires displeased the Kings o' Winter. Those came home shorter by a head." There are plenty of other references throughout the books of wards being seen as the equivalent of hostages, and that is why I feel it's more likely a northern lord would not call Theon a kinslayer because he was just a ward/hostage and everyone knew it.

The second reason I doubt the HM is a northern lord is that any of these named northern lords would have cause to secretly kill people allied with the Boltons/Freys, but the targets seem so random. You would think they would be aiming for killing someone who mattered more. (I agree with the many people who think Big Walder was most likely killed by a different person than the other two so I am not counting his death in my conclusions).The Ryswell man at arms doesn't seem that important (and I'm still not sure if Lady Dustin/Ryswell are totally for or against the Boltons).

5) Brotherhood without Banners Member or Possibly Random Northerner - Since the Brotherhood without Banners has currently made it as far as Riverrun by the middle-end of AFfC, separate members could have worked their way into Winterfell (like Mance did) after the wedding. This could also include any other northman still loyal to the Starks. First of all, in the encounter between Theon and the HM, the HM's comment - "How is it you still breathe?" - makes it seem like he is surprised to find Theon there on the battlements of Winterfell still living and at least wasn't present to see him giving "Arya" away at her wedding. The HM also seems to be unaware of Theon's missing limbs since he agrees to leave Theon to Ramsay's torture instead of killing Theon himself. I searched thoroughly, but I cannot tell how many people are aware of Theon's missing fingers or if he ever eats without gloves where he is seen by numerous people during his time at Winterfell. The Wildling washer women know Theon has lost fingers, toes and teeth so it makes sense that the knowledge is floating around as gossip. But someone new to the castle who is trying to stay out of the way might be unaware. I especially think the HM could be one of the BwB if he is also the killer because it will explain the seemingly random choice of unimportant victims. I could see the BwB's motive as an effort to create chaos and tension in an already extremely on edge environment. They want to bring down the participants of the Red Wedding and what better way than to get Freys and Boltons to start killing each other. The victims are a Ryswell man and a Bolton man, and their deaths worked very well in starting finger pointing and heated accusations, and the killings ultimately achieve in getting Roose to send the Frey/Manderly/Ramsay forces out of the castle, leaving a smaller force to hold Winterfell. This actually makes even more sense if the HM did kill Big Walder because his death was the straw that broke the camel's back in Roose's decision to send the forces out. One downside to this theory is that the washer women seem to allude to Theon that they are the killers of the Ryswell man and Yellow Dick, but not Big Walder.

6) Winterfell Crypt Statue Carver - Sorry OP, but I don't think it is likely that the HM is the Crypt Statue Carver because as far as we know Ramsay killed all of the men when he sacked Winterfell and put it to the torch in ACoK. He took the women hostage at the Dreadfort, but I think the only man he took was Theon. Also, Bran and company probably would have noticed if another person was hiding with them in the crypts, and that is the only place I think he could have been and survived.

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6) Winterfell Crypt Statue Carver - Sorry OP, but I don't think it is likely that the HM is the Crypt Statue Carver because as far as we know Ramsay killed all of the men when he sacked Winterfell and put it to the torch in ACoK. He took the women hostage at the Dreadfort, but I think the only man he took was Theon. Also, Bran and company probably would have noticed if another person was hiding with them in the crypts, and that is the only place I think he could have been and survived.

The crypts are large, so Bran and company might not have noticed. And, IIRC there has been mentions of a secret passage leading into/out of winterfell that a person familiar with the crypts might know about (especially if the crypts were in winterfell.

also, its not like the stone carver would be comign out of nowhere. I mean i admit it is obscure, but he is mentioned earlier i forget what book that he knew he carved Ned with extreme likeness. Now, we do know that Ned's body hasn't been returned to WInterfell yet, so we can infer that the stone carver had been around long enough to know Ned's likeness without having to see him. I'm not really sure where that fits into the theory, but it's another aspect...

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Crackpot Wildcard here - Could the hooded man be Steelshanks Walton? Who delivering Jeyne to Roose Bolton possibly developed a relationship with her on the journey North? After he delivered her to Bolton realized he made a mistake and he is chilling in Winterfell causing chaos? Do not think Theon would recognize Steelshanks, and Steelshanks would know Theon since he was Ned Starks ward, Steelshanks would probably laugh at Theon's misery as well.

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I have delved into every theory, likelihood, unlikelihood, but I can't shake the feeling that it is someone who knows how to get around Winterfell pretty well, hence how he has been making the rounds and operating without being caught, being looked at as out of place, etc.

I would think Ramsay runs a very tight, paranoid ship. This person is walking around with none to minimal notice. Didn't others at Winterfell get moved to the Dreadfort? I have to check, so many details in this series, that I forget sometimes.

Theon is afraid to breathe around Ramsay, this person is killing and getting away with it. I love it too because it sticks it to Ramsay. If this person gets caught, I think he gets worse than Theon, and I am sure by now this person knows it. Everyone, really, knows about Ramsay and his, er, twisted practices.

This is what bugs me. How this hooded person is able to fly under the radar so well.

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I have delved into every theory, likelihood, unlikelihood, but I can't shake the feeling that it is someone who knows how to get around Winterfell pretty well, hence how he has been making the rounds and operating without being caught, being looked at as out of place, etc.

I would think Ramsay runs a very tight, paranoid ship. This person is walking around with none to minimal notice. Didn't others at Winterfell get moved to the Dreadfort? I have to check, so many details in this series, that I forget sometimes.

Theon is afraid to breathe around Ramsay, this person is killing and getting away with it. I love it too because it sticks it to Ramsay. If this person gets caught, I think he gets worse than Theon, and I am sure by now this person knows it. Everyone, really, knows about Ramsay and his, er, twisted practices.

This is what bugs me. How this hooded person is able to fly under the radar so well.

That would be because the HM is the Liddle who spends most of his time disguised as Myrtle,one of the spearwives."My old mother",as Mance/Abel describes her/him.

Dolorous Ed supplied six "young and pretty" according to the text.

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Well, if he is someone he should be, well, someone. I don't think the answer to the mystery could be "the guy who carves the WF statues who has never ever been mentioned".

This, more or less. It's either someone with whom we're already familiar, or Theon Durden, or no one in particular in which case we'll never know. I lean toward option 2.

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I should say an undead version. Not some FM fake death type elaborate scenario. A relatively normal walking vengeful corpse scenario.

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