Warning! Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 7 lie ahead!
Last season, Game of Thrones ended with the death of one of its most conniving characters, Petyr Baelish, also known as Littlefinger. It was a cathartic moment for fans, who have wanted to see Littlefinger's schemes come crashing down around him for years. However, YouTube creator Neo posits that it may have been a misdirect, and that Baelish may still have a chance at sitting on the Iron Throne.
Essentially, the theory suggests that Littlefinger paid one of the Faceless Men of Braavos to disguise themself as him, dying in his place so that he could escape. Neo's video stacks up a lot of evidence to support this idea, including visual foreshadowing, subtle hints in the dialogue and even interviews with George R.R. Martin and Aidan Gillen, the actor who plays Littlefinger.
The video draws fans' attention to a scene from Season 7, Episode 5, "Eastwatch," where Littlefinger lurks in a shadowy passage, talking with an unfamiliar woman. The two whisper so low that it is nearly impossible to hear, though the video suggests that the common woman is saying: "your time is up."
Littlefinger then drops a coin into the woman's hand, which the video suggests is the same iron coin that Arya Stark used to pay her way to Braavos years before. The idea is that the woman was a Faceless Man, perhaps sent to Winterfell to kill Arya after she went rogue, but thanks to the strange power of the coin, Littlefinger was able to pay her to die for him instead.
"Only death can pay for life," the video reminds viewers, who have heard the Faceless Men utter this catchphrase before.
In addition, the video points out a quote from Gillen in his 2017 interview with the Los Angeles Times, where he seemed to pointedly drop the phrase "your time is up." This was a clear correlation, as far as some fans are concerned, though Gillen did not hint that he believed Littlefinger is still alive.
Other clues include an intricate web of quotes from Littlefinger over the years, drawn together and related in ways that they have not been before. The theory relies heavily on manipulating context, and applying Littlefinger's philosophies for politicking in various situations.
The theory does have its problems. For one thing, the Faceless Men have never been paid to give up their own lives in the story. It is likely possible, since Arya asks Jaqen H'ghar to kill himself in Season 2 and he acts frightened, yet it would be strange to introduce a new aspect of their service so late in the series.
Still, the theory has some compelling evidence, and many fans online are turning to it as the final season draws closer. At the very least, the idea that Arya will face consequences for stealing faces from the House of Black and White seems fitting.
Game of Thrones returns for its eighth and final season on Sunday, April 14 on HBO.