ByKristin Lai, writer at
MP Staff Writer, cinephile and resident Slytherclaw // UCLA Alumna // Follow me on Twitter: kristin_lai
Kristin Lai

If you're still feeling totally mystified by the new time travel aspect that has recently surfaced in Game of Thrones, you're not alone. Although the show has always been rooted in fantasy, Season 6 has taken things to a whole new level in the last few episodes.

We first learn that time travel is possible while Bran is training with the Three-Eyed Raven in "Oathbreaker." Soon after, we saw the lasting effects of Bran's time travel in the episode "The Door," which left fans feeling equally heartbroken and perplexed. In one fell swoop, Game of Thrones was no longer the linear storyline we thought and became far more complicated.

In an already confusing series, this newfound information is certainly daunting. Luckily, the lovely people over at Vox took it upon themselves to summarize things for the layperson — like myself — in this helpful video:

The video itself is awesome and incredibly informative, but for the sake of those who can't for some reason — or, let's be honest, are too impatient to — sit through a four minute video, I'll give a very abridged version below.

According to writer and graphic designer Harrison Densmore, most movies and TV shows ascribe to one of three main styles of time travel: A multiverse timeline, a dynamic timeline, or a fixed timeline.

  • Multiverse - There are an infinite number of parallel universes. Any time travel immediately creates a new parallel timeline and only this universe will be affected by the actions that take place in the timeline (e.g. Terminator 2 & 3, Rick and Morty, Doctor Who).
  • Dynamic - In a dynamic timeline, anything that a time traveler changes in the past has an impact on the present and future. The liklihood of a time traveler creating a paradox is pretty high in this one, as can be seen in the Back to the Future franchise.
  • Fixed - Nothing the time traveler does will affect the future they just came from since all events are fixed points in time and paradoxes are impossible on this singular timeline (e.g. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 12 Monkeys).

As Vox and Densmore state in the video, Game of Thrones follows the fixed timeline style. For example, young Ned Stark can hear Bran calling out to him, but it doesn't change what happens afterwards.

This was confirmed after the Three-Eyed Raven said:

"The past is already written. The ink is dry."

Then when we saw the effects of Bran's time traveling on Hodor — sealing his fate as the monosyllabic giant we all came to love — it proved further that the past and present are linked in what's called a "closed timelike curve." This means anything Bran changes in the past is something that already exists in his present. But how much of the past has he changed?

In conclusion, Bran Stark could be the single most significant character in the entire Game of Thrones mythos. Based on this theory, he has potentially been puppeteering everything we know of the universe so far and might have the power to change Westeros forever. Basically, we know nothing (Jon Snow).

New episodes of HBO's Game of Thrones air on Sunday nights.

How do you think this new time travel element will play into Game of Thrones? Let us know your theories in the comments section!

(Source: Vox / YouTube)


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