The world of Game of Thrones is undeniably rife with tragedy, and both the Starks and the Lannisters endure their fair share of suffering. The latter house, in particular, dedicates themselves to the destruction of the former, and their efforts prove devastatingly effective. In fact, House Stark might have faced complete annihilation as early as the first episode, if one were inclined to believe in superstitions involving magic.
The existence of curses and supernatural elements in Game of Thrones is a topic of great interest among fans. While the characters in Westeros don’t go about chanting spells, it’s hard to deny the presence of certain mystical elements, given the existence of the undead and dragons. Introducing dark energies into the mix would undoubtedly add an intriguing layer to an already exceptional TV series.
One particularly grim theory centers around the notion that King Robert Baratheon unwittingly passed on a curse to certain members of the Game of Thrones cast. When Robert arrives in Winterfell during the first season, he interacts physically with only four members of the Stark family: Ned, Catelyn, Rickon, and Robb. What do they ultimately share in common by the show’s conclusion?
Indeed—they all meet untimely demises, contributing to the staggering body count that marks this fantasy series. This scene forms the crux of the ‘Robert’s curse’ theory, which suggests that Robert unwittingly cursed these Starks to meet their fates, and only those he directly interacted with were spared.
Of course, it’s important to note some caveats. It’s not being argued that Robert intentionally brought this about; he cared deeply for Ned and aimed to maintain good relations between their houses. Curses can often persist without their bearers being aware of them, and Robert may have unwittingly hosted a force that influenced this outcome, especially given his own impending demise.
Interestingly, Mark Addy, the actor who portrayed Robert, improvised how he approached each Stark in that scene. So, if there were specific instructions about who to touch or not, the foreshadowing may not have been intentional. However, if we choose not to take a more expansive view, it does make for a rather conspicuous coincidence.
There are other theories involving curses in Game of Thrones as well. One proposes that Ned Stark’s death cursed his sword, Ice, leading to the swords reforged from it causing harm to their owners, particularly Joffrey. Personally, I find this theory more plausible than the former, especially considering the timing of events in the show’s early seasons. Nevertheless, both theories offer intriguing perspectives that are difficult to dismiss entirely.