Spoilers ahead for the most recent episode of Game of Thrones. If you haven't seen "Battle of the Bastards" you may want to check out one of our other stories instead.
HBO's fantasy megahit Game of Thrones has a remarkable way of killing off major characters without any remorse. One of the most recent victims of this trend is Rickon Stark, who was killed last week during "Battle of the Bastards" because apparently no one ever told him to zig zag when he's being shot at. This marks the fourth Stark family member who has died during the show's long tenure, with the only survivors being Arya, Sansa, Bran, and Jon.
However, one astute redditor called NANAs_Mic pointed out a popular theory that may have predicted which Starks would live and which would die. It's called Robert's Curse.
In Game of Thrones' first episode "Winter is Coming" King Robert Baratheon and his company ride North and arrive at Winterfell. All of the Stark family, as well as their bannerman and servants, met the King at Winterfell's gates, and he exchanged pleasantries with the members of House Stark. It turns out that every Stark family member that he physically touched has since died, leaving only the characters who he merely spoke with.
To refresh your memory, check out the scene in question below.
If you look closely at Robert Baratheon's interactions with the Starks, you'll see he touched all of the dead ones exclusively. He hugged both Ned and Catelyn, before giving recently dead Rickon (look how young he was!) a pat on the head. Later on he would shake Robb's hand before non physically greeting the likes of Sansa, Arya, and Bran. Robert's Curse appears to be very real, and very powerful.
While I'm usually not one to buy into crazy Game of Thrones theories (and there are many of them), it's hard believe that this foreshadowing was simply coincidence. We know that author George R.R. Martin has a very methodical and planned strategy in introducing and killing characters, and he ultimately has the final plots for his characters already planned. Martin presumably was very helpful in the crafting of Game of Thrones' first episode, so it's entirely possible that he might have told the likes of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss of his plans for killing half of the Northern family.
Then again, it's unlikely that the folks behind Game of Thrones were thinking so far in advance when they produced the very first episode. They were presumably just trying to produce quality television, and hoping that the HBO audience would be receptive and passionate about the stories. And that is one thing that positively did happen.
Do you buy the Robert's Curse theory? Sound off in the comments below.
The season finale of Game of Thrones will air this Sunday on HBO.