Coldhands is a crucial character in the events beyond the Wall. He first appears to Samwell Tarly and Gilly after they escape Craster’s keep. He saves them after they get ambushed by wights. Later, he meets Bran and his friends and takes them to their destination. Though it is unknown if Coldhands is a wight or not, most of the evidence shows that he does not possess their characteristics.
- Name: Unknown.
- Allegiance: Night’s Watch, Three-eyed crow.
- Eye Color: Black.
- Hand Color: Black.
- Year of Death: Unknown.
Coldhands has a mysterious appearance that makes him look like an undead. His hands are black, possibly from frostbite, and his eyes match the color of his hands. He dresses in the black and grey attire of a man of the Night’s Watch and is armored in boiled leather and ringmail. With the appearance of someone dead, his voice is thin and coarse, and he does not breathe. He always wears a scarf around his face to obscure his appearance.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire Series
After Sam and Gilly run away from Craster’s keep, they arrive at a town called Whitetree. They get attacked by Small Paul, who has become a wight. As Sam confronts Small Paul, the dragonglass he tries to use breaks. However, a flock of ravens begins to flock around Small Paul, and they finish him off. Then a man, Coldhands, on an elk appears before Sam. He starts referring to Sam as his brother and takes him and Gilly under his protection.
When the group reaches the Black Gate of the Nightfort under the Wall, Coldhands reveals to Sam that due to the magic spells cast on the Wall, he cannot pass. He asks Sam to bring Bran Stark and his friends to the Black Gate and waits for them. Sam swears secrecy to him and brings Bran to him before leaving for Castle Black.
After meeting Bran and his friends, Coldhands join their group as they journey up north. The group realizes that some men are following them, and Coldhands decides to investigate. He tells the group to travel to a small village, and when they reach, Bran enters Summer and realizes that the mysterious man and his ravens have killed five men of the Night’s Watch. When he returns, Meera demands that he shows his face as he gets scared of fire. They realize that he is dead, and he then reveals that he got sent by the Three-eyed crow to bring Bran.
During their journey, Coldhand’s elk collapses. He whispers a prayer for the animal in an unknown language and slits its throat. He and Meera prepare the carcass for food. When Bran and his companions reach the three-eyed crow’s cave, he does not enter. He fights off wights and assists Bran and his friends in entering the cave. On reaching the cave, Bran and his friends meet the Children of the Forest.
Speculations Surrounding Coldhands
With an identity shrouded in mystery, many speculations arose about the identity of Coldhands. The first speculation is that he is the long-lost Benjen Stark. Jon Snow joined the Night’s Watch upon learning of his uncle, Benjen Stark’s disappearance. Though he tried to seek information about where his uncle disappeared, little detail was released if he lived. With this, many people theorize that Benjen is the undead man. The most crucial evidence is because the mysterious figure dresses in the Night’s Watch attire and has knowledge of the Black Gate.
The second speculation is he is related to the Azor Ahai and the last surviving hero of the Age of Heroes. The evidence of this is the fact that he was born a long time ago. As the identity of the last hero is unknown, many people believe Coldhands is none other than the hero who reached the Children of the Forest during the long night.
Another theory is that he is Lord Commander Brynden “Bloodraven” Rivers. However, a primary counter-argument to this theory is that Brynden Rivers is likely to be the Three-eyed crow.
Other theories include him being the Night’s King, an undead man. However, he does not wield a sword of ice. Some state he is Waymar Royce, one of the first men killed by the Others beyond the Wall in ‘A Game of Thrones.’
Appearance in Adaptations
Though Coldhands does not technically appear in HBO’s Game of Thrones, his role got played by Benjen Stark, portrayed by Joseph Mawle. He appeared in seasons 1, 6, and 7 and died in episode 6 of season 7. The show’s executive producers, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, never revealed why they replaced a crucial character with Benjen.
Coldhands: A Mystery of the Past.
Though A Song of Ice and Fire gives an extensive history of most of its characters, it appears Coldhands got exempted from having a backstory. His character’s secrecy is almost intentional, as no information gets provided on his origin. Coldhand’s character, though undefined, serves as a crucial part of George Martin’s world as his existence opens the possibility of the intensity of magic that can get used. Through him, GRRM showed a character that exhibits bravery even in death.
Did Leaf meet Coldhands?
Yes, she did. Leaf revealed to Bran that Coldhands got killed a long time ago. Because of her age, she might have known him while he was still alive.
Is Coldhands one of the White Walkers?
Though dead, Coldhands is not a White Walker, Wight, or Other. It appears he got brought to life through the magic of the Children of the Forest or the Three-eyed Raven.
Did Coldhands have magical powers?
Though he controlled ravens to obey his will, it is hard to say that Coldhands had magic powers.
Could Coldhands be Benjen Stark?
There is a high chance that Coldhands is Benjen. However, the fact that he got killed long ago disproves the theory that he is.
What are some spoilers about Coldhands?
The most crucial spoiler about Coldhands is that he got changed to become Benjen Stark in Game of Thrones.