A New ‘GoT’ Theory About The Winterfell Crypts Is Getting Everyone’s Hopes Up

winterfell crypts theory

If you’re anything like me, you will have been walking around for the past five days with a knot of anxiety in your stomach, distracted from everyday tasks by the impending ball of emotional ruin barrelling towards us in the form of the next episode of ‘Game of Thrones‘ final season. You know, the one with the Battle of Winterfell. The one in which, most likely, all of your faves are gonna die.

Part of the reason everyone’s spending their workdays staring out the windows, furrowing their brows and whispering ‘But Arya can’t die… she has to kill Cersei‘ is because of this extremely troubling theory about the Winterfell crypts that’s been doing the rounds.

The original theory goes that putting all the most vulnerable Winterfell residents – the women and children, and Tyrion and Varys and a bunch of other crucial cast members – down in the crypts is a huge fucking mistake. Why? Oh, just the small fact that the crypts are full of dead people, and the Night King does tend to make a habit of REANIMATING DEAD PEOPLE FOR THE PURPOSES OF MURDER.

The thought of an undead, headless Ned Stark being puppeteered by the Night King into attacking his children is enough to keep you up at night – and considering how the show has treated people so far, is completely feasible.

HOWEVER. There is a new theory re: the crypts, courtesy of New York professor and Game of Thrones hyper-nerd Stephen Attewell, and it is making us tremulously willing to hope again.

Responding to a question posed to him on Tumblr, Attewell wrote:

I don’t think the Starks of ages past, so focused on the coming of winter, buried their dead with iron swords because they were stupid men.

If anything, I think the Winterfell crypts are GRRM’s spin on the Dead Men of Dunharrow.


The Dead Men of Dunharrow in Lord of the Rings were an undead army who fought on behalf of the heroes – and according to Buzzfeed‘s analysis, the iron swords Attewell mentions were buried with the dead Starks to ward off evil spirits. George R. R. Martin does love to put his own sick spin on Tolkien, so we’re hoping – desperately – that this could plausibly manifest in 8000 years worth of skeletal ancestors springing to the defence of Winterfell.

Fingers crossed. But also: everyone’s going to die, right? Yeah. Probably everyone’s going to die.