A whole year later and fans are still reeling from the aftermath of Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 5 "The Door." Even know, it's hard to ask someone to hold the door for you without shedding a solitary, frozen tear for poor Hodor. As the action is about to pick up again in Season 7, it's going to be important to remember the tragic and shocking reason that Hodor changed from a normal stable boy named Wylis into a simpleton incapable of saying anything other than a slurred version of "hold the door." Bran. It was all Bran.
The Three-Eyed Raven warns Bran "The past is already written. The ink is dry," but we get our first inkling that that might not be exactly true outside the Tower of Joy, when Bran calls out to his young father and Ned Stark actually turns around, as though he hears his son's voice. Now we know that what the Three-Eyed Raven said wasn't really true, since Bran can use both of his powers — greenvision and warging — at once and end up influencing the course of history. This essentially makes him the most important character in #GameOfThrones, since basically anything and everything in the story could be happening because Bran wills it to.
The following are five possible Bran Stark fan theories to explain how Bran might end up warping — or warging — the future of the Seven Kingdoms, in order of likelihood.
1. Is Bran The Three-Eyed Raven?
After the Night King touches Bran (a power known as branding), the Three-Eyed Raven tells his student:
"The time has come for you to become me."
Knowing what we now know about Bran's time traveling abilities, isn't it possible that the mysterious Three-Eyed Raven could actually be Bran? That would explain why this strange and mystical character was willing and able to seek out Bran and help him for no apparent reason — other than enabling him to shape the future.
Also, when the Night King enters the cave, he pauses to kill the Three-Eyed Raven personally. Is this because the Raven also has the brand because he is Bran?
The Raven's insistence that the past is written might also be an indication that he actually knows that Bran is able to write or rewrite history, but simply wants to guide him away from changing the course of too many things. If Hodor's fate was a necessary casualty at best, imagine what other tragedies could be put into motion at Bran's admittedly not-yet-ready command.
2. Is Bran Really Bran The Builder?
Bran the Builder was one of the First Men, who lived 8,000 years ago. The founder of the House Stark, he built both Winterfell and the Wall. In the books, Brandon is an extremely common name on the Stark Family tree. What if that's because Bran is really moving through time, taking on different roles in his family history as needed? What if our Bran turns out to be the founder of the House Stark and the builder of the Wall?
One section of dialogue was important enough to carry over from the books into the show. Remember this conversation between Ned Stark and Arya back in Season 1?
“He wants to be a knight of the Kingsguard. He can’t be one now, can he?”
Eddard Stark: “No. But someday he could be lord of a holdfast or sit on the King’s council. Or he might raise castles, like Brandon the Builder.”
If that's not foreshadowing, I don't know what is.
3. Did Bran Drive Aerys Targaryen Mad?
Bran didn't think that warging into the Wylis in his vision would have a different outcome than warging into present-Hodor, which he had already done successfully. However, since he was anchored in the present when it happened, and Wylis didn't have the power of greensight, it became too much for him and his mind broke.
It's clear that Bran can reach the people in his visions, whether through warging or simply calling to them, like he called out to his father at the Tower of Joy (assuming you believe that Ned Stark was actually turning at the sound of Bran's voice, and not at something else). Reddit user Lycosnic posted about this theory involving Bran and the Mad King Aerys Targaryen:
"If you remember Jaime’s testimony, the mad king just kept repeating 'burn them all.' What if he didn’t mean King’s Landing and the rebels? What if Bran somehow either accidentally or purposefully lets him see the army of the dead? Someone could be yelling something akin to 'burn them all' just like tonight’s 'hold the door.'"
4. Is Bran Azor Ahai, The Prince Who Was Promised?
The Last Hero is the ancient hero of Westerosi legend that won the Battle of the Dawn, defeating the White Walkers the first time. Azor Ahai is the hero that saves the world in Essosi legends, and they're generally regarded by A Song of Ice and Fire readers and Thrones fans to be the same person. As the story goes, along with his companions, the Last Hero went searching for the Children of the Forest to help stop the White Walkers, but the Hero was the only one to remain alive after multiple attacks from giants and White Walkers.
When his magical quest began, Bran was protected by Jojen, Meera, Hodor and his direwolf, Summer. Two attacks and three companions down, it's just Meera and Bran left. Could they be heading into another attack that might cost Meera her life and turn Bran into the Last Hero?
This is kind of bad news for fans of the A+J=T theory, as it might put Bran in the running for a dragon of his own. Of course, without any Targaryen blood in his veins (that we know of), maybe not.
5. Is Bran The Lord Of Light?
This is the theory that requires the most faith. Remember when Kinvara told Varys about the night he was mutilated, and reminded him of the voices he heard in the fire? What if that disembodied voice belonged to Bran?
It would make sense, since we haven't actually seen any deity manifest itself yet (Melisandre's weird demon spawn was blood magic, not the actual Lord of Light). And we know that Bran can make his voice heard across the space time continuum.
If this is true, who's to say that Bran isn't actually the Lord of Light himself?
Only time (travel) will tell...
Game of Thrones will return to HBO with Season 7 on July 16, 2017. If you haven't seen it yet, check out our breakdown of the Azor Ahai theory below.
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