Warning! The following contains spoilers for Game of Thrones' "The Last Of The Starks." Read at your own risk!
Even as Game of Thrones heads into the back half of its final season, fans are still concocting theories behind what mystery remains left to be solving, and hoping to be the ones to blow the story wide open. This has been the case with Bran at least, as theories have been flying out trying to explain his remaining significance after the Night King's defeat.
Is Bran the actual villain of Game of Thrones? Will the Three-Eyed Raven leave him? Will he be a factor going forward? "The Last of The Starks" featured a tragic conversation between Tyrion and Bran that may destroy theories about Bran, as well as explain his direction in the two remaining episodes. It also provided some context between some of Bran's actions following his transformation, and may allow fans to see them in a new light. Let's discuss.
The Conversation Between Tyrion And Bran
Many in Winterfell probably knew Bran isn't the life of the party at this point, but that didn't stop an inebriated Tyrion for approaching the young Stark about his innovative wheelchair. When complimented, Bran explained to Tyrion that it was a design used by a Targaryen for a relative long ago, and one that he particularly liked. Impressed, Tyrion commented that Bran's knowledge would serve him as Lord of Winterfell.
The conversation grew somewhat sour at this point, as Bran made it clear to Tyrion he didn't want to be Lord of Winterfell. In fact, he's learned he doesn't really want much of anything these days, to which the Lannister expressed that's a trait he envied. After a quick glance over his shoulder to the person pushing his chair, Bran told Tyrion he shouldn't envy him, as he now mainly lives in the past.
What Bran's Conversation With Tyrion Could Mean
One interesting thing of note was that Bran expressed there was something he "liked" about the design of his wheelchair. That seems to be a show that, while he is the Three-Eyed Raven, there is still some sense of preference and caring Bran has in certain aspects of his life. It makes him less robotic, and perhaps means that there is some shade of his humanity left untouched by his transformation.
Another big part of this conversation, of course, was his statement that Tyrion shouldn't envy him. Bran stated he lives mainly in the past, which while some may interpret as a sign that he's meddling with the timeline, I presume means either one of two things. It could've been a literal statement of how he views the world as the Three-Eyed Raven, which often has him reflecting on the past and keeping him truly out of the present.
Another potential meaning is that Bran may have been referring to the death of his former self. His abilities killed the person he once was, and it's an identity he can never get back. He can only remember who he once was, but can never become that person he was due to his forced perception of events through the eyes of many. He's still Bran Stark, memories and all, but can't ever move forward as that person ever again.
What This Could Mean About Bran Stark's Past
One thing that does seem clear is that even though Bran Stark's life changed forever, he's still Bran Stark and not possessed by some different entity. This adds some emotional gravitas or even some context to more confusing scenes that have happened since his transformation, which many memed as weird, apathetic, or potentially dastardly. In reality he's still the Bran Stark fans love, but a shell of his former self.
It makes Game of Thrones scenes like Meera's goodbye devastating in hindsight, where Bran seemingly recognized and was aware of the tremendous sacrifice she made to ensure his safety, but still couldn't give her the emotion she wanted. The process has numbed him as a human and, based on his conversation with Tyrion, that's created something that he doesn't see as a positive.
Then there's the Battle of Winterfell, in which audiences watched eager to see Bran do something. He did do something, although suffice it to say his warging into birds for no explicit reason didn't really do much to turn the tides of battle. Now that it appears Bran's identity as the Three-Eyed Raven is still technically him, this may have actually been a flash of the old Bran surfacing.
After all, Bran might have been unsure of his fate following the battle and wanted to spend what may be his remaining time alive flying amongst the clouds. No nefarious plots here, just Bran experiencing that same freeing sensation he once got when he first learned to warg out of his physical body. In this context, the scene makes a lot more sense, and seems more likely than some secret plot the series is running out of time to reveal.
What The Conversation With Tyrion May Mean About Bran Stark's Future
Whether it was intentional or an oversight by Game of Thrones writers, there's some indication that Bran has more of his former self present in him than he recognizes. For example, for someone who doesn't really want anything, it's strange that he would have a preference for a certain type of wheelchair for any reason.
There's also his continued residence at Winterfell, which doesn't have any real explanation at the moment. The Night King is defeated, Jon knows his true lineage, and he's relatively far from any harm that could come his way. Bran could've easily left with everyone else who went farther north following the battle, and lived out the rest of his days in solitude and protected. That wouldn't be too hard for someone who doesn't want for anything, right?
Perhaps Bran is still around because he still feels an obligation to his family. With his destruction via the Night King prevented, there would be little reason otherwise for him to risk his life and humanity's history for a conflict in which life will continue on regardless.
His involvement would make sense if there's a lingering bit of the old Bran Stark still around, as Bran may remember all his siblings have done for him and the bond they share as Starks. Bran may be still around to play a role in the conflict, and protect his siblings as they protected him at Winterfell.
The Bran Theories That Are (Probably) Destroyed
The latest conversation and some other factors have all but eliminated the possibility that Bran is the true big bad of Game of Thrones. That'd be a pretty huge twist to throw in with only two episodes left, and the confirmation that Bran isn't some entirely separate entity now post-transformation doesn't really give him a motive to be a villain. Others can make their cases, but it just doesn't feel viable to me now.
It also seems reasonable to believe that any theories in which Bran will assume the Iron Throne are out. Bran won't accept his claim to Winterfell, and his inability to remain present wouldn't make him the best monarch. Then again, it'd be hard trying to pull anything over on him, so he might become the one monarch incapable of being deceived in this show.
The Bran Theories That Could Still Be In Play
If Bran does still contain some semblance of himself, and is sticking around to play some role in the upcoming war, there are a couple theories that are still viable. The long-running thought that Bran will warg into a dragon could go down, especially if someone realizes they need to get Drogon from Dany's grasp. Imagine the moment that would create if Bran ended up using Drogon to defeat the dragon queen!
There's also the theory that Bran could make Jon the new Night King, and Jon will sacrifice his life to raise the dead and defeat Cersei and Euron to bring peace to Westeros. It's an out-there theory, but not as out there as the theory that Bran is secretly the Lord of Light. That one is still technically in play, although it's hard to understand why the forthcoming Bran would lie about his true identity.
Where will Bran Stark end up at Game of Thrones' end? Readers are encouraged to share their personal thoughts and opinions below, as HBO gears up for the final episodes Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET. Stick with CinemaBlend in the meantime for more updates and analysis, as well as other relevant information about other television shows, movies, and pop culture.