Game of Thrones is over, but that doesn’t mean speculation is going anywhere for the next year and a half, when the show will reportedly return for its final season.
There are many, many fan theories floating around about Game of Thrones, but one that’s been out there for a while and had renewed relevance last season was about Bran Stark. Potential spoilers follow.
The idea is that Bran Stark uses his time traveling abilities to do all sorts of things, like accidentally drive the Mad King mad, build the wall as Bran the Builder and most recently, the theory was that Bran was actually the Night King, going all the way back in time to try and stop his birth, only to be seized by the Children of the Forrest and turned into the enemy he was trying to destroy.
While that would be…interesting, which is the most charitable way I can describe it, I don’t buy this theory at all and I previously wrote about how wrong I think it is while the show was still airing. But it turns out the theory has made its way all the way to Bran actor Isaac Hempstead Wright, who told Vulture flat-out that it’s wrong:
“I think it’s less that they’re the same person and more that they’re two of the ancient beings of Westeros,” said Wright. “The Three-Eyed Raven has been around for God knows how long, and White Walkers have been reported since the beginning of time. As we’ve seen, they were created by the Children of the Forest, so we can’t get much more ancient than that. Perhaps we can think of it as these are two characters with a huge amount of power, but one is a Frankenstein’s monster who is driven by nothing but hatred and violence. Then there’s Bran, who uses his powers for good.”
This is good news for me, as I feel vindicated with confirmation that this theory is bunk. Yes, yes, Kit Harrington swore Jon Snow was dead at the end of season five, but this feels different, and I don’t think the show has time to take this severe of a left turn with six episodes left regardless. But Wright’s comments also trouble me somewhat. I don’t really like how he refers to the Night King as “a Frankenstein’s monster who is driven by nothing but hatred and violence,” because even though I don’t want Bran to be the Night King, I want the ultimate villain of Game of Thrones to have a little more complexity than that. The show’s greatest villains, Tywin, Cersei, Ramsay, Joffrey, Viserys all have had personality and often complicated character motivations. Describing the Night King as being driven by nothing but pure hate is just…boring? I don’t know, I expected more than just a relatively generic monsters as the “final boss” of Game of Thrones, even if this elaborate fan theory isn’t the way to establish that.
Still, while I think Isaac Hempstead Wright can speak authoritatively on whether or not Bran is the Night King, we still may learn more about the villain by the end of the show, and maybe there is a bit more to him. Wright did notcomment on the other Bran theories, the Builder theory, the Mad King theory, so maybe keep hope alive for that, but honestly, given the trajectory of the show and the fact that there are only six episodes left I have a hard time believing they’re going to set one of those up in that short span. Maybe book Bran will be more complicated, but show Bran seems like he’s mostly going to be used for convenient flashbacks and plot reveals like we saw him utilized in the finale.
Anyway, I’m glad this theory is dead, but I hope Bran is allowed to be a little more interesting and relevant next season. And I hope there’s more to the Night King than meets the eye, even if he isn’t a secret Stark.