Author George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin, author of the "Song of Ice and Fire" fantasy series that is the basis of the television series "Game of Thrones", pauses during his masterclass at the Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) in Neuchatel July 10, 2014. Reuters/Denis Balibouse

It seems pretty obvious that the Iron Bank is able to topple governments and kill high-value targets easily. This is because they have some form of an alliance or association with the Faceless Men. But what is this connection, and what clues has George RR Martin left in his writing? A new fan theory looks at the evidence that makes everything clear. The following article contains spoilers.

When someone defaults on a loan from the Iron Bank, he or she mysteriously dies. Even Jon Snow was uneasy about the reputation of this Braavosi institution, a fan pointed out in a Reddit post. What is the power behind the bankers? It’s the Faceless Men, the theory suggests.

To understand the connection between the two institutions, it is necessary to dwell into a little history. The Iron Bank was started by a group of 23 people, sixteen men and seven women. Each of the founding members has an iron key, but with the passage of time there are about a thousand fake keys across the city, perhaps beyond. The real owners of the bank are not known to everyone.

As evidence to the theory, the fan pointed out how the Faceless Men keep their treasures in an underground vault behind a huge iron door. The Iron Bank, too, is supposed to have all its money in a huge underground vault.

The vault under the House Black and White is deep underground, which means it could be the same vault as the Iron Bank, but with a different entrance. The kindly old man has a key that opens this door. Could this mean that he is one of the owners or custodians of the bank?

With the House of Black and White having a stake at the Iron Bank, it makes sense for them to safeguard their investments by seeking out the defaulters. Whether this is true or not, readers can only be certain when “Winds of Winter” will be released.