|Theories may be removed if ...
Coldhands seems to be a brother of the Night's Watch: he wears black and calls Samwell Tarly "brother." Therefore the dominant theory is that Coldhands is a dead or missing brother of the Night's Watch. Possibilities include:
- Benjen Stark, who disappeared beyond the Wall during a ranging
- Lord Commander Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers
- One of the Raven's Teeth that followed Bloodraven to the Wall
- Ser Waymar Royce, who was killed by Others
- Will, who was killed by Waymar Royce
- The Night's King, who was a known consort of the Others
Brynden the Bloodraven is very likely to be the Three-eyed crow, and so could not also be Coldhands.
The Night's King was said to be deposed, his name "wiped from the memory of man," which sounds like he was thoroughly destroyed and likely to have been burned if it was known he was consorting with the Others.
Leaf, the child of the forest Bran meets at the cave of the Last Greenseer, says of Coldhands: "They killed him long ago." Will, Waymar Royce and Benjen Stark died/went missing only two years prior, a small amount of time for someone over 200 years old. In an original manuscript, Martin declared that Coldhands was not Benjen Stark.