[Wishful Endings] The Raven Cycle – Gansey is Glendower Theory & Adam dies

“Have you ever wished to be able to spend if only a few more minutes with your favorite series?”


Hey there! And welcome to Sweet and Unholy’s Wishful endings! Today Part 2 of me revisiting Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle! I’ll be posting a couple of theories regarding this series, including a new, updated and in depth analysis of why Gansey is in fact Glendower along with my personal wishes on how I wish the series would’ve actually ended.

Like always, click Read More for the theory and spoilers ahead, sweet kids !

How the Raven Cycle should’ve ended:


2) Gansey is the Second Sleeper:

According to Blue Lily Lily Blue’s prophecy, there are three sleepers in the underground, waiting to be awoken. It is accepted convention that the First Sleeper is Glendower, the Third Sleeper then Unmaker, and a Second Sleeper in between.

I say Gansey is in fact the Second Sleeper, and awoke not thanks to the Gangsey but thanks to Henry Cheng. Said awakening that occurred when Henry and Gansey were underground, Cheng giving him his famous speech about fear and revealing the robo-bee to Gansey. An awakening that reached its climax when Gansey confronted his own deadly fear and allergy to wasps.

Thus, Gansey is Glendower:

The first sleeper could’ve never been Glendower, as it is revealed at the end of the Raven King that Glendower is in fact, dead. Then who is the first sleeper?

Well think of this bit from Blue Lily Lily Blue,

He slapped down three cards on the concrete floor. Death, the Empress, the Devil.

Think, Adam, think, get inside it —

The closest fluorescent buzzed harshly, suddenly over-bright, then just as suddenly out.

Adam’s subconscious fled through Cabeswater’s consciousness, both of them tangled up in this strange bargain he’d made.

Death, the Empress, the Devil. Three sleepers, yes, yes, he knew that, but they only needed one.

We know the Devil goes to show the Unmaker, the third sleeper, and most other theories identify Gwenllian as the Empress (even while she couldn’t have been the second sleeper as she was awake all along). Thus, following commonly accepted convention, Glendower would represent Death: The First Sleeper.

And what was the card Gansey pulled to represent him during the Raven Boys?

“Death.” Gansey read the bottom of the card. He didn’t sound surprised or alarmed. He just read the word like he would read eggs or Cincinnati.

The card itself a skull with a king’s crown, most likely Glendower himself. In fact, Death’s tarot card itself only represents change and transformation. It isn’t just Gansey’s long predicted fatal ending, but the transformation into Glendower he would be undergoing to come into full circle.

“I’ll tell you this: There are three sleepers.”

“You’ve told me that. Everyone’s told me that.”

“Well, I think your job is to wake up one of them, and I think it’s Maura’s job to not wake up another one.”

Calla specifically tells Blue that it was her mother’s job not to wake up one of the Sleepers, presumably the Unamker, but she also let’s her know it is her responsibility to wake up one of the sleeper’s, presumably Glendower. Blue’s responsibility to wake up Glendower, not Gansey’s as we’re lead to believe throughout the entire book.

And what does she do in the end of the Raven King?

The last tree fell, and the forest was gone, and everything was absolutely silent. Blue touched Gansey’s face.

She whispered, “Wake up.

Need more proof? Here is an entire list with more evidence:

— A continuous theme throughout the novel was time’s circle continuum instead of a straight line. “Not yet happened” a synonym of “Already has happened”: The present Noah sacrificing himself for 10 year old Gansey to live, the gang finding the aged up Camaro wheels along with Glendower’s shield, Blue’s face in the painting of the three women, etc.  These are all examples of how the possibility of Gansey being both Gansey and Glendower exist throughout the novel, or at least, an incarnation of him.

— Blue recognizing there was something more about him, Gansey’s agelessness as described by Adam:

“Adam knew that she had sensed the otherness to his friend: that sense that Gansey was both young and old, that he’d only just arrived, or he’d always been.”

— Gwenllian calls Gansey “My lord” “Father” in multiple occasions

— The constant raven motif repeating itself from Aglionby’s uniform to Ronan’s dream Chainsaw

— The three Blue’s and several others creatures chanting “The Raven King, make way for the Raven King” to Gansey.

— In the end scene, Gansey asking the wind to show him the Raven King and raven’s responding to his call. Glendower was often described as capable to speak to raven’s.

— What if the constant Glendower calls were not a path they pointed him to, but the voice calling his own name?

— We never got a clear reason as to why Noah would murmur he would live because of Glendower to Gansey when he was living because of Noah in fact. Noah trading his life for Gansey’s with the knowledge he was a King with a prophecy to fulfill would’ve been a more satisfying explanation.

— Maggie constantly compares Gansey to the Raven King, while comparing Ronan to his poet, Adam to his magician, and Blue Gwenllian, the witch, the mirror.

— The three Blue’s in the flag have red hands, and when inquired about it, Malory explains that the Bloody red hands are associated with the Mab Darogan, which is a mythic title for Welsh kings known as ‘Sons of Destiny’. These are the same three women that appear in Cabeswater chanting “Rex Corvus, parate regis corvi.” [The Raven King, make way for the Raven King] to Gansey & Co in Cabeswater.
Gansey, just like Glendower, is being pointed out to us as the next Mab Darogan, after all, the book was swamped with references of Gansey being kingly. The King who died and Lived.

Adam dies:

Now we’re away from the realm of what could’ve happened because there’s evidence for it, let’s dwelve into Hime’s world of what she wishes had happened.

What if Adam died? Let’s analyze the symbolism for a moment.

We know that Maggie constantly chooses to draw Parallels between the Unmaker and Ronan, even to the point the Unmaker and Ronan happen to be intimately connected through Ronan’s nightmares. The dark, ugly amalgamations that turn his Cabeswater dreams to nightmares are the Devil, the Unmaker.

Adam is constantly being connected to Ronan in more ways than their romance make it apparent. Alas, Adam’s bargain with Cabeswater, and thus entwining their existence while Cabeswater’s entire essence is Ronan.  Then later in The Raven King, Adam becoming possesed by the Unmaker (Ronan’s mirror) through his connection to Cabeswater. What if those precise connections to Ronan in fact ended up killing Adam? Taking him to the brink of disappearing…

Glendower gives Adam his wish:

After Gansey does in fact wake up as Glendower in all of his Kingly glory, he turns to Adam’s fading existence and proceeds to finish granting all the wishes. Gansey lives, just like Blue requested, and Gansey fixes Adam- Just like he wished to. Not by charity, not by trying to tie his broken parts, but simply by gifting him with life again. By allowing him to wake up.

Literally any explanation about what goes on with Noah:




5 thoughts on “[Wishful Endings] The Raven Cycle – Gansey is Glendower Theory & Adam dies

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s