This article is brimming with spoilers from Season 6 of Game Of Thrones, and A Song Of Ice And Fire book series.
Since the Three-Eyed Raven perished at the hands of the Night King in last week's emotional episode of Game Of Thrones, this article might be one week too late. But then again, at the current rate of people coming back from the dead and prancing across the space-time continuum, maybe it's never too late.
Bran Stark certainly has come a long way since he was getting pushed out of a tower by Jaime Lannister, and if you believe any of these Bran theories, he's got even further to go. One of the theories in particular suggests that Bran might even wind up being the Three-Eyed Raven, his mysterious and recently-deceased teacher from the cave.
But in order to entertain that theory, we'll have to take a look back at some of the information that surrounds this magic man and see if it's even possible to fit this puzzle together.
Who is the Bloodraven? A Lesson From A Song Of Ice And Fire
In the books, Bryndon "Bloodraven" Rivers is one of many bastard sons of King Aegon "The Unworthy" IV Targaryen (making him Daenerys's great great great great uncle). An albino, his face is covered by a large red birthmark that is supposed to resemble a raven drawn with blood — hence the nickname, Bloodraven. To read a more detailed version of the Bloodraven's background, check out this article from Lexi Kallis over at winteriscoming.net. But for now, this is all you really need to know about the Bloodraven of the books:
Bloodraven wound up serving as Hand of the King to his nephew, Aerys I (not the Mad King). He built up an intimidating reputation as a sorcerer and a spymaster, and the song "A Thousand Eyes And One" was written about him. Outliving Aerys I, the Bloodraven was ultimately arrested for a dispute involving the succession of the throne, which ultimately resulted in him being sent to join the Night's Watch.
He sailed for the Wall with Maester Aemon Targaryen, his grand nephew, and became Lord Commander within six years time. But he disappeared while on an expedition ranging North of the Wall, and was presumed to be dead. (Whatever happened to that other Night's Watchmen who disappeared North of the Wall, Benjen Stark?)
Are the Bloodraven and the Three-Eyed Raven the same person?
In a lot of Game Of Thrones-related writing, the names Bloodraven and Three-Eyed Raven are used interchangeably, both to refer to Bran's teacher of magic. Although he never states it outright, George R.R. Martin does imply that the two characters are one (even more heavily than he implies that Azor Ahai is the Prince Who Was Promised). He especially emphasizes the one red eye, the name Bryndon, and the thousand-and-one-eyes.
Now, factoring in all the evidence from the book, it seems next to impossible that we can still hold out hope for the theory that Bran could be the Three-Eyed Raven. HOWEVER. This is where the tables start to turn.
In the books, the character is actually called the three-eyed crow — an allusion to his time as commander of the Night's Watch. The show calls him the raven, an obvious attempt to distance him from the Night's Watch, and perhaps from his character in the book. The character in the show is also missing the Bloodraven's defining characteristics: his red, raven-shaped birthmark and his one red eye.
By Season 6, the show has already moved beyond the amount of material that George R.R. Martin has laid out in the books (albeit, entirely skipping over certain plot points and characters along the way). But what if this twist with Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven is something outside of what happens in the books, something original for the show?
What Does Any Of This Have To Do With Bran?
While the evidence from the books does point away from Bran being the Three-Eyed Crow, the evidence from the show does not. From Game Of Thrones alone, Bryndon Rivers does not even exist. It could very well be, then, that Bran has gone back in time to instruct his own teaching.
Redditor Sandusson thinks it's possible, and they sparked a healthy debate with these images:
This is a point that's driven home repeatedly in the show — most recently when the Raven told Bran it was time for him to become him. While on the surface it seems like it might just be a symbolic passing of the torch — one of those the-student-becomes-the-master type situations. What if this time, the student literally becomes the master?
We know it's possible, due to Bran's gifts of greensight and warging. And we know that time exists in Game Of Thrones as a sort of causal loop. What if later in life, Bran takes it upon himself to warg into the body of the Three-Eyed Raven so he can complete his own training?
One way or another, we probably haven't seen the last of the Three-Eyed Raven.
Want even more mind-blowing Game Of Thrones theories? Check out this article to find out whether Euron Greyjoy has been around much longer than we thought.
Do you think that Bran could be the Three-Eyed Raven?
Game Of Thrones will return on Sunday on HBO. Check out the trailer now: