In case you were hiding under a Reek last week, the notion that Benjen Stark is Coldhands has finally been debunked! And not just by some random reddit poster with some made up gobbledygook, but by GRRM himself! Someone was granted access to the manuscripts of ADWD and posted the images on reddit of the pages. In one of the margins, his editor scrawled “is Benjen Coldhands” to which GRRM gave an empathic “NO” in red ink. Now, to the more savvy reader, this hasn’t really been a question.
The description of Coldhands is almost certainly a man of the Nights Watch as he’s dressed in faded blacks and grays. He appears to be dead and look like a wight, but unlike wights, his eyes are dark and not bright blue. Also, unlike the wights, he is kind and helps Bran, Meera, Jojen and Hodor when they’re attacked by wights. Leaf even tells Bran “They killed him long ago.” Benjen hasn’t been missing for that long so it seems illogical that its him anyways
So why are readers so adamant that Coldhands is Benjen?
Coldhands needn’t be Benjen to play an important part of the story. In all truth, I think that Benjen is still alive. Now what he is doing, I’m not entirely certain. It is quite possible that he is responsible for hiding the cache of dragonglass weapons that Ghost found and stashed them for use later on. Or, its possible that Benjen is a captive amongst the wildlings and has not yet made it back to the Wall. I don’t think he would ever betray the Nights Watch however. I think that Benjen will play an important role in the war with the Others. There is too much mystery and intrigue surrounding his disappearance for GRRM to just have him turn up dead later.
– Lady Shelly