At long last, after a glacially-paced 595 days, Game of Thrones finally returned on Sunday night with the much-anticipated first episode of its final season. Not surprisingly, fans nearly broke the internet with reactions about, well, everything. There were tweets over whether the premiere was worthy after such a long wait. Memes galore were made and shared. But one of the most buzzed-about topics has to be Reddit theories about Bran Stark (played by Isaac H. Wright). With every day that passes, fans seem to grow more convinced that Bran — historically an observer in the series more than an actual participant — might be the most important person in all the seven kingdoms. And they’ve got plenty of hunches about why.
A quick little recap about this young man with the totally unnerving, thousand-mile stare: the fourth child of Ned and Catelyn Stark, Bran gets a rough start in GoT when his peeping Tom proclivities get him pushed out of a tower by Jaime Lannister, who didn’t want word to get out that he was in an incestuous relationship with his twin sister, Cersei. Bran survived the fall but was left crippled. Fast forward to the present and, in addition to being a greenseer and warg, he has become the new Three-Eyed Raven.
Because Bran now has an almost omniscient awareness about his surroundings, suffice it to say the guy tends to emit some seriously ominous vibes. And if you’re willing to take a tumble down the rabbit hole that is Reddit, you’ll find an entire universe unto itself filled with nods to Bran and how his abilities could play a major role in GoT’s swansong.
Bran Stark: pic.twitter.com/TJEE6ckYCI
— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) April 15, 2019
Here are five intriguing theories from Reddit’s GoT thinktank. Warning: potential spoilers ahead.
He isn’t even in Winterfell
On the surface, it appeared as though Bran was fully present in GoT’s season eight premiere. However, and perhaps particularly in this world, things aren’t always as they appear. “My theory: Bran was not actually there,” suggests one Redditor. “I think the Bran we saw was projecting back in time to look at key events leading up to the Battle of Winterfell. I think this Bran has advanced his powers, and is able to be seen and heard at these important, life-altering moments, as he (somewhat) was with Ned and Hodor.”
Another Redditor backs this theory, pointing out that Bran could be projecting himself via his Three-Eyed Raven abilities. “Hear me out, I didn’t see him wheel himself anywhere, or get wheeled around by anyone else, the whole episode. That seems deliberate.”
Bran warges with a dragon
Although Bran hasn’t warged with a dragon before that we know of, that may not be the case anymore. “My theory is that Bran warged into Drogon during the scene near the waterfall with Daenerys and Jon making out. The reason for this theory is that after the make-out scene of Jon and Daenerys, Bran urgently tells Sam that he needs to tell the truth about Jon’s bloodline on presumably the same day. He first handedly saw the developing relationship between the two Targaryens through Drogon and decided that to stop the relationship, Sam needed to immediately tell Jon about his parents,” one Redditor says, noting, “Drogon also had the same creepy stare as Bran.”
Other Redditors on the thread bolster the Bran-dragon-warging theory but point out that it might not have been with Drogon. “Bran’s eyes turn white [in the intro] and then there Viserion’s eye is shown opening,” says one Redditor. States another, “Having Bran warg into the undead dragon is the best option, if it’s an option. Cause it to throw the Night King off its back and crash into a pile of obsidian spikes.” Plus, as Redditor @alt-ging highlights, Bran needs a new companion for warging, and every dragon other than Viserion already has a companion.
And there’s that whole “you’ll never walk again but you will fly” prophecy.
Bran is the reason the Mad King went mad
According to Redditor @HeWhoWrangles, “Many believe that Aerys II [the Mad King] became mad because of Bran’s whispers, trying to stop the army of the dead.” Another Redditor fleshes this out more, explaining, “They didn’t introduce the concept of Bran altering timelines for the Hodor reveal to be the only payoff. It’s going to be a significant plot point at some point this season. I’m guessing it’s something like Bran being the voice in the Mad King’s head for years convincing him to stockpile wildfyre. Because that wildfyre is eventually going to be the weapon that kills the NK/Army of the Dead. But the Mad King eventually goes mad because of Bran in his head, and Jaime is the hero who kills him before he can blow up the wildfyre that Bran had intended to use on the dead.”
He’s sort of the Night King (But Not Really)
Try this Reddit theory on for size: “Bran is not the Night King, but wargs into the guy that became the Night King in order to influence his ability to kill dragons.” Need more info? Per Redditor @pranzo, “Bran soon realizes Daenerys is the true threat, so he wargs into the guy that becomes or became the Night King to influence his rise to power. The same way he wargs into Hodor, he affects Hodor’s past so he can help Bran later, once Bran realizes he could die in that cave. Bran will realize that Daenerys needs to be stopped, and the only one that can stop her dragons is the Night King.”
Bran Stark is the Night King
Then there’s the theory to end all the theories, the one that certainly seems to have the most traction with fans at this point — that Bran Stark is the Night King. There are too many lines of rhetoric surrounding this on Reddit to count, but Redditor @Ayrko lays out a pretty solid argument covering everything from clothing similarities to Bran’s time-traveling history. But the most compelling argument, perhaps, is this: “I’d like to add that Bran Stark and the Night King are the only two characters in the entire show that have both greensight and warging abilities. There are others that have one or the two, but not both.”