If you’re fan of Game of Thrones and you haven’t read the books, you may have heard of a character called Coldhands but not understand who that is. Even though there has been no official word about Coldhands showing up in Game of Thrones, and most fans have assumed he’s been cut from the series the same way Strong Belwas was, the showrunners seem to really enjoy toying with fans by including images in trailers and sneak peeks that suggest that maybe, just maybe, Coldhands is finally going to make an appearance. If you’re wondering who Coldhands is, this article will get you caught up on what we know from the books.
Coldhands first appears in A Storm of Swords, the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. He dresses like a member of the Night’s Watch, but wears a scarf that covers his face. He has black, cold hands (hence the name) and does not breath. When Bran sees him through Summer’s senses he says he smells of death and rot and is cold all over.
When Samwell Tarly and Gilley are attacked by a wight in season three, that's when Coldhands should have made his first appearance. In the books, he is the one who saves Sam and Gilley from the wight and escorts them to back to the Wall. Coldhands rides a great Elk and has the mysterious ability to control ravens. His apperence suggest that he is undead, but his eyes are black rather than the bright blue of the wights and he shows signs of higher intelligence, such as speech.
Coldhands cannot pass the wall due to its magical warding, but requests that Sam – who he refers to as “brother” – send Bran Stark north of the wall. Coldhands is expecting them. Coldhands guides Bran and his company to their destination, slaying the Night’s Watch mutineers as they go.
Bran notes that Coldhands speaks and acts like a brother of the night’s watch. This, combined with his dress and how he addresses Sam, would seem to suggest that he was a member of the Watch before he died, though who, exactly, remains a mystery. The most popular theory is that he is Benjen Stark, Ned Stark’s brother who hasn’t been seen since he went ranging beyond the wall. Others suggest that he may be the Night King, a Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch from the Age of Heroes who consorted with the Others.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 PM ET on HBO.