HUGE spoilers for all seasons of Game of Thrones ahead. Proceed at your own risk.
Brandon Stark has been a warg since Season 1 of Game of Thrones — unbeknownst to him at first — and, in Season 4 he finally met the Three-Eyed Raven and joined him under his weirwood tree north of the Wall. He was absent for all of Season 5 and now, in Season 6, we see Bran's got more powers than we'd first anticipated.
With the help of the Three-Eyed Raven, he's been taken into the matrix and has been learning the history of Westeros — and Essos — through visions. There are, however, a couple of questions that we haven't been able to answer yet, mainly revolving around the part Bran must play in the war against the White Walkers and, of course, whether or not Bran is able to influence the past while within a vision of the past.
In Episode 5, Bran leaves the Raven's cave, leaving Summer, Hodor, the Children of the Forest and the Raven himself behind. In his final act as the Three-Eyed Raven, the Greenseer takes Bran back into the matrix to upload as much information as possible into his brain, so that Bran may become the next Greenseer. In this week's episode of Game of Thrones, we see Bran still stuck in his wikia journey and we get a speedy montage of all he's learning.
Here are some of those images, their histories, and what they might mean in the present and future context of the show.
For a full breakdown of the entire episode (Season 6, Episode 6), head over here.
The Mad King
It was a given that, if Bran were to learn some history, the Mad King would feature. Though we've heard tales about Aerys II from the perspectives of many different characters throughout the show, this was the first time we actually saw how things went down without any bias.
Many theorize that Bran is responsible for King Aerys going mad — by inadvertently interfering with past events and whispering in the King's ear, for instance. Now, as much as this is a sound theory, the truth is that the King didn't go mad in a day or two. It took years for Aerys to reach the level of distrust and paranoia that eventually led him to scream "Burn them all" 24/7.
This was, I like to believe, more for us viewers than for the future of the show itself. And while I do believe someone will eventually follow King Aerys Targaryen into madness, I hardly see this as foreshadowing that Bran will make him crazy. More of a red-herring, if you ask me.
Eddard Stark's Execution
This and all the Stark-related scenes were all about Bran finding out what actually happened to his family in the course of the years since he last saw them. The first thing of note to support this point is the fact that there was no Arya or Sansa in these flashbacks. Robb, Catelyn, Ned and Jon were closer to Bran than the girls, hence why he would search the matrix for some information about the ones he used to be closest to.
Seeing the terrible fate most of his family members faced won't make him vengeful either. Bran will absolutely not start a bucket list in the same way Arya did, and proof of this is that the scenes didn't feature detailed images of the ones who wronged the Starks. In the Red Wedding flashback, we see the deaths of Robb and Catelyn and, although it's not entirely possible that Bran knew Black Frey or Roose Bolton, it's clear the whole focus of those scenes is on their final moments, not on who killed them.
Dragons & Daenerys
We see two different Targaryens in the dragon sequences. First, there's supposedly Balerion flying over the city of King's Landing, way back at the time of Aegon the Conqueror. In A Clash of Kings, Daenerys mentions that Balerion's "wingspan [was] so vast that entire towns would fall under his shadow when he passed overhead," and that's almost what we get with the shadow of a dragon over the city.
Then, there's Daenerys herself, at the birth of her three dragons on the day of the red comet. Only Drogon is seen, so perhaps Bran will have to find out a little later that she has three dragons, not just the one. The important thing here is that Bran learns about Dany all the way from Essos, which signifies her importance for the future. You see, since Daenerys is alive at present, Bran's knowledge of her hints at all the future implications her choices might have, instead of conjecture about changing the past that is already written.
Bran revisits the creation of the Night's King, he sees wights marching south, an army of wildlings turned wights and, most importantly, the transformation of the baby into a White Walker. This is viable information in times of war, because it'll help Bran figure out how the White Walkers operate and what differentiates them from the wights.
He sees the fight at Hardhome, when Jon battles a Walker, though the vision doesn't go all the way — showing Jon killing the Walker with Valyrian steel. Once more, there's a lot Bran can take from this sequence — how strong the Walkers are, how fast the wights are turned — which may prove to be pivotal if he ends up in any battles with the Others.
Now, this is where things get tricky.
If you remember, in Season 2, Cersei has the pyromancers make a whole lot of wildfire in King's Landing. It's said that her reasoning was to burn the city to the ground before Stannis's troops could get a hold of it. It was Tyrion who intervened, using the wildfire on Stannis's fleet instead.
It's also known that the Mad King had a thing for wildfire. In Season 3, Jaime Lannister tells Brienne that the reason he killed the Mad King was because Aerys intended to burn the whole capitol to prevent the rebels from taking it.
What part of history are we seeing here, exactly? The voice-over in the scene belongs to Aerys and his famous "Burn them all" quote, but it might as well be Season 1 again. If it's Robert's rebellion we're seeing, it's just history. Now, if it refers to Cersei's scheme early in the series, it might mean we haven't seen the last time wildfire is used in Westeros after all.
'Promise Me, Ned'
For those of us begging for some more Tower of Joy flashbacks, we got something to hold on to. Once more, we see Eddard Stark asking Arthur Dayne for his sister's whereabouts. The scene cuts to a bloody hand over a bloody gown, and we have the event we know from the books.
Hopefully, we'll one day be treated to the whole scene, from Ned's perspective, and maybe find out if the theory is right.
In terms of Westerosi history, I'm sure there's plenty that was left out — specifically the last Long Night. Other important events and people on the show were missed, such as the Baratheons' deaths, the Lannisters as rulers and their deaths, and Tyrion and the Stark sisters, Arya and Sansa (although there are some interesting theories about Arya's future). If we wish to speculate, it might be said that, in the grand scheme of things, these people and these events will turn out to be of minor importance. Or will they?
There's also the matter of Bran seeing himself on a couple of occasions, which doesn't make much sense if the goal was to learn history. Why would he see his own history if he's lived it and has always known it? What do you think?