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The Battle of Winterfell has concluded, and with the death of the Night King comes the death of a lot of theories about how the rest of Game of Thrones will play out. Weirdly enough, it hasn't stopped theories involving Bran, who quite a few believed to be the Night King through some form of Three-Eyed Raven assisted time travel.
Now that the popular theory is, presumably, out of the question, a few new theories have sprung up regarding the young Stark's future, and how he plays into the end story of Game of Thrones. Here's some of the theories circulating the web, as well as some additional speculation on what could be happening with Bran in the HBO series' final few episodes.
The Three-Eyed Raven Is The Actual Villain Of Game Of Thrones
In this theory, The Three-Eyed Raven is the mega-villain of Game of Thrones. He took over the body of Bran Stark, and has quietly been causing chaos throughout all of time and attempting to destroy mankind in Westeros. No one understands this but the Night King, who is actually the misunderstood hero trying to save humanity from themselves by destroying him.
It's an interesting theory (via Reddit), albeit one that doesn't really play logically. If The Night King really only wanted to kill Bran and protect mankind, It seems he could've gone about it a more diplomatic way. Killing a vast majority of the North's people seems like an odd way of saving humanity.
Still, it's possible the Three-Eyed Raven could have just as malicious plans for the rest of humanity, and the Night King was targeting him simply because the Children of the forest protected the Three-Eyed Raven and the Night King hated them. With him out of the picture, the Three-Eyed Raven can now continue a plan against humanity first started by the Children of the forest. After all, White Walkers were originally created to destroy humanity remember? Plus, that weird stare has an evil look to it!
Bran Will Make Jon The New Night King
Game of Thrones has only just gotten rid of its Night King, but one Reddit user believes there could be another one yet. In this theory, Jon is turned into the Night King in a last-ditch effort to save the non-Cersei affiliated parties of Westeros. With the powers of the Night King, Jon could easily raise the dead and increase their military forces exponentially.
It's a bold strategy, albeit one that is technically possible. The three-eyed raven is aware of the ritual used to create the Night King, and all the key components for the ritual (dragonglass, Weirwood tree) are at Winterfell. Plus, Jon's isn't fueled by the hatred the Night King harbored, so there's little to no risk of him using the power to destroy everyone and reign supreme over a frozen wasteland.
It's an interesting theory, and a tragic one at that. With that said, things don't feel so dire for Dany and Jon at the moment they'd risk such a move when they still have two dragons to slash through Cersei and Euron's forces. This is more of a late game tactic, and maybe one Jon could use if Dany ends up going "mad" with power.
Bran Is Actually R'hllor
Oh, you thought Bran was the Three-Eyed Raven? Think again, because this Redditor is theorizing that the characters have been deceived, and that Bran is actually inhabited by R'hllor. As one would expect, the Lord of Light isn't too keen on a supernatural being intent on shrouding the world in darkness, and went incognito to lend his aid to the northern forces.
This may explain why both Lord Beric and Melisandre were at the hard-to-watch Battle of Winterfell, and both played key roles in what led to the eventual death of the Night King. Plus, those fire spells were working really well. Was it because R'hllor was in close proximity to the battle and his influence was enhanced?
It's a nice thought, although one has to wonder what R'hllor's motivation would be for claiming he's the Three-Eyed Raven who is living in the body of Bran Stark. The Lord of Light's influence on the battle can't be denied, but it's completely possible R'hllor was able to influence events from whatever astral plane the deity resides in. It's not completely out of the question, but it doesn't seem very likely.
The Three-Eyed Raven Won't Interfere In The War Anymore
This isn't necessarily a wild theory, but one that theorizes that the Three-Eyed Raven's role in Game of Thrones is more or less done. As he's stated and shown a handful of times before, he's no longer the Bran Stark characters once knew, so all those familial ties that would encourage him to fight alongside Jon, Arya, and Sansa died in that cave as well.
Sure, Cersei's evil, but with the ultimate supernatural evil destroyed Westeros can ultimately survive a tyrannical ruler. From a big-picture perspective, there's little reason for the Three-Eyed Raven to further inject himself into this situation, as he's been successfully protected from an untimely death via the dastardly Night King. Either he'll travel off somewhere to live a life free from conflict to protect history, or just sit back and watch the rest of the story unfold from a distance.
Of course, there's reason to suspect the Three-Eyed Raven has some vested interest in how the rest of things play out. He did, after all, confirm Jon's true origins, and has been staring down several key characters ever since Season 8 kicked off. Perhaps there's still business for him post-Night King for reasons that have nothing to do with Bran, but the overall fate of humanity at large?
The Three-Eyed Raven Could Revert Back To Bran Stark
If the Three-Eyed Raven's work is done, it's possible Game of Thrones could get the real Bran Stark back again. That could mean the Three-Eyed Raven takes a back seat and allows his host to become a normal human again. It would be great to see Bran interact with his siblings in a normal way, and perhaps use his greenseer abilities to aide the army in the upcoming battle.
Of course, this theory assumes Bran Stark can come back. As it's been said before, Bran died in the cave, and while there are those who may think there are two people in the Stark, it's possible acquiring the Three-Eyed Raven's abilities destroyed Bran's sense of self forever. After all, it would be pretty hard to feel significant or meaningful as an individual when being blasted with the amount of information he has.
For all we know about Bran and what he's capable of, the whole Three-Eyed Raven dynamic is still a bit confusing. Part of this is why theories for him have prevailed even after the Night King theory turned out to be bogus. While it seems more likely that the pre-Three-Eyed Raven Bran will never return, we can't explicitly rule out it won't happen.
Got a theory for what happens to Bran or what the rest of his path will be in Game of Thrones? Feel free to share in the comments below, and watch new episodes of the HBO drama Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET.