Why Game Of Thrones Fans Are Excited To See Howland Reed Show Up In Season 8

Warning: This list contains SPOILERS

Season 7 of Game of Thrones is over, but fans still hope to glimpse Howland Reed on the HBO show. Fans who have read the books still eagerly anticipate the first non-flashback appearance of the Lord of Greywater Watch, while more casual viewers are probably wondering, “Who is Howland Reed?” Either way, even experts on GoT universe don't know much about this character. For this reason, he's the subject of several Reed fan theories as one mysterious characters in the world of Westeros.

Howland Reed is the head of House Reed, a northern family sworn to the Starks. He was once one of Ned Stark’s closest friends and allies. He has not been publicly seen since the end of Robert’s Rebellion, but his influence has been felt in A Song of Ice and Fire, thanks to the appearance of his two children, Meera and Jojen. Still, many fans believe the senior Reed has a further role to play in the story, and they’ll be howlin’ for Howland until he shows up. Read on to learn about Reed family history and how the patriarch may yet influence Westeros.

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  • House Reed Is The Most Prominent Family Of The Crannogmen

    Howland Reed is the head of House Reed, the most prominent family among the unique Westerosi people known as the Crannogmen. In fact, Crannogmen are so unique, they’re practically their own race. They are a swamp-based people who occupy the marshy area known as the Neck, and they often have swamp-based surnames like Fenn, Peat, and Boggs.

    Crannogmen, disparagingly referred to as “mud-men” and “bog devils,” are notably smaller than other humans, but they make up for it with their advanced skills in stealth and poisoning. This supposedly “cowardly” form of defense has earned the Crannogmen the scorn of outsiders, but it has also prevented this civilization of swamp-ninjas from being conquered. 

  • Howland Reed Is The Number One Stark Ally

    Most of the northern families are loyal to the Starks and their patriarch, Ned, but Howland and the Reeds are the cream of the crop when it comes to feudal dedication. The Reeds have ruled the Crannogmen for countless generations, and they’ve been sworn to House Stark for most of that time.

    Howland was one of Ned’s closest friends and one of his most trusted allies during Robert’s Rebellion. Howland accompanied Ned for the entirety of the war and was one of the few companions who survived long enough to return home. 

  • Howl’s Got A Moving Castle

    House Reed rules the Crannogmen out of Greywater Watch, perhaps the strangest building in the entirety of Westeros. Nobody can pin down Greywater Watch on a map, and not just because of the swampy terrain that surrounds it. Greywater Watch is said to move around; it's supposedly built on a man-made island that floats on the vast swamps that dominate the area.

    Even ravens cannot find their way to the castle, making the Reeds extremely tough to stay in contact with. Few outsiders have ever visited Greywater Watch, and nobody finds it unless the Crannogmen want them to. 

  • He Sent His Children As A Sign Of His Loyalty

    Howland Reed’s impact on the story of Game of Thrones is mostly felt through the actions of his two children, Meera and Jojen. When things start heading south for House Stark, the Reed siblings show up at Winterfell and assert their family’s loyalty, swearing an oath to serve the Starks “by ice and fire.” The Reeds soon become Bran Stark’s closest companions and accompany him on his journey of self-discovery north of The Wall. Meera and Jojen are emblematic of Howland's undying loyalty to Ned Stark and his children.  

  • He Could Have Greensight

    Jojen Reed is one of the few characters in A Song of Ice and Fire blessed with the power of greensight, the ability to see visions of the future. Bran Stark shows signs of sharing this ability, which is historically limited to those who have the blood of the First Men. Brynden Rivers, the man known as Bloodraven who eventually became the Three-Eyed Raven, also had the gift of greensight.

    Given that Jojen and Meera Reed showed up in Winterfell right when Bran Stark needed them most, it seems likely that Howland sent them there because of one his own visions. This has led some to speculate that Howland himself has greensight—although he could easily just be using the visions of his son to guide his decisions. Either way, it seems obvious that Howland Reed has access to greensight and enough understanding of the ability to use it wisely.

  • He Knows What Went Down At The Tower Of Joy

    At the end of Robert’s Rebellion, Ned Stark and six companions, including Howland Reed, rode to the Tower of Joy in Dorne. Ned’s sister, Lyanna, was busy giving birth to Jon Snow and promptly dying. Outside the Tower, Ned and his team battled three legendary members of the Kingsguard. 

    Ultimately Ned, Howland, and Jon were the only ones to leave with their lives. Not only did Howland make it through the fight, he personally saved Ned’s life from Arthur Dayne, the greatest swordsman in all of Westeros. This makes Howland Reed a key figure in the series’ central mystery of Jon Snow’s parentage: he is the only person left alive who was there for the birth. It’s likely no coincidence that Howland has remained hidden from the main story, just like the vital secret he keeps.