Thursday is theory day now.
This is the seventeenth article of the series. Since there are a lot of theories floating out there and I'm asked often enough what I think of them, I thought I write it down. You can then laugh about me when I am totally proven wrong by "The Winds of Winter" or something like that. Rules are as follows: you put a question about any theory or plot element (really, let's stress "theory" a bit for the sake of interesting questions) either in the comments of any theory post or by mail (email@example.com) and I will answer them in an upcoming post. And if you now ask "Stefan, isn't this a shameless rip-off of Sean T. Collin's "Ask me anything"?", I would tell you to shut up, because you are right.
Is Coldhands the Night King?
No. The Night King seems like a pretty big deal, somehow, and Coldhands does not. If the Night King is still around, which I seriously doubt, he would constitute a much more Nazghul-like entity. Remember, he was enslaved by an Other, so why should he now help to fight them? Plus, Coldhands seems more or less like a "normal" whight, which means he can be destroyed. If he was around the North for several hundred, if not thousand, years, he would have desintegrated pretty bad by now through nature's flow alone. But really, if the Others still keep the Night King around, he serves them in some important capacity. If he was somehow freed by Bloodraven, he's more likely to finally die instead of chopping some whights and riding a giant elk. I believe that, if the Night King ever existed (and that's a big if), he was slain in the battle for the Night's Watch. But I am not really a fan of all the "Coldhands is X" theories. They smell like "Syrio Forell is still alive" and the like, and I like them neiter. Coldhands seems a tool that Bloodraven uses, not that much more. Perhaps he was a trusted black brother of Bloodraven when he was Lord Commander, who accompanied him to the North and died on the way, so Bloodraven kept him around or something. I'd guess we have to wait for the Winds of Winter to blow before we get more hints on this, but my money is on him being not really someone spectacular.
Did Tyrion know about the planned assassination of Joffrey?
It might be possible that Tyrion knew that Joffrey was in for the kill, or even involved on some level, but I sincerely doubt it. The reason is neither lack of motive nor opportunity, but the narrative structure. Much of the wedding with Margaery is told through Tyrion's perspective, and he doesn't seem to know anything. If he did, he would never draw attention like he does at the feast. Tyrion talks too much, yes, but not that much. If he was a conspirator in Joffrey's death, he would never provoke him like that, since it's a sure way to land him in the Black Cells. If he just knew and decided to let it happen, he should have either stayed away entirely, feigning sickness or something, or likewise hold his tongue, knowing that the little shit would die in the next two hours - and, more importantly, harbor thoughts about it. That's the thing - he takes so much abuse from Joffrey without once thinking "You're so dead, little fucker" or something about the lines. While it's possible that Martin did this as a deliberate conceal, like he did before in "A Clash of Kings" where he withheld important parts of Tyrion's thought process to cloak his rat search, it would be really poor and cheap writing.
Is Jon Snow Azor Ahai and the Night's Watch Lightbringer?
I'm much in favor of Jon being Azor Ahai, but you may know from my writings that I'm not particulary keen at prophecy solving. I don't really like the trigger search (although it's fun from time to time) for possible solvings of the prophecies. They tend to override much more interesting stuff because everyone is just puzzle solving, and that's not what "A Song of Ice and Fire" is about. That being said, I guess there will be multiple interpretations of Lightbringer, simply being the thing that proves to be the Other's downfall. My money is on the dragons. The Night's Watch seems unlikely because my educated guess is that the Wall will fall, and the fall of the Wall will be the end of the Watch. So, Jon is Azor Ahai, but the Night's Watch just a rag-tag band of guys serving on the most useless structure in the Seven Kingdoms (paraphrasing).