The Real Reason Game Of Thrones Cut Bran Out Of Season 5

When Game of Thrones returns to HBO for Season 6 later this year, fans will obviously be clamoring to find out what the hell is going on with Jon Snow, and whether he’s actually still alive or not. Thankfully, we’ll also get to finally catch back up with Bran Stark, who was completely absent from the show during Season 5. And it turns out there was a pretty good reason why the creators decided to leave him out: his arc would have been way too boring for viewers to slog through.

When we last saw Bran in Season 4, he had just come into contact with the personified Three-Eyed Raven, who would be the one to help Bran with his psychic Sight abilities. That training is precisely what David Benioff and Dan Weiss wanted to avoid showing, and Bran portrayer Isaac Hempstead-Wright totally agrees.

And they’re exactly right. I would have just been sitting in a cave going, ‘Oh, I can nearly do it now.'

Any time you’ve got psychic powers happening in a movie or TV show, it’s somewhat tough to make it look exciting if it doesn’t involve super awesome visions or destructive forms of telekinesis. (See: the subdued Star Wars: The Force Awakens scenes where Kylo Ren uses the Force on people.) So keeping Bran inside the cave for his training all season probably wouldn’t have done much to get audiences as excited as they got for Daenerys’ dragons, the White Walker massacre and all things Stannis. That’s the kind of thing that’s suitable for a minute-long Rocky-style training montage.

So when we do get reintroduced to Bran in Season 6, he will be taller, older and way more advanced in his Sightly ways, and the actor also shared with EW how his new talents will allow him to control some of his past/future visions and piece all the clues together in figuring out his place in the Great War. Max Von Sydow taking over the role of the Three-Eyed Raven obviously helped, since everyone can learn something from that magnificent actor, even if it’s fictional prophecies.

Admittedly, Bran was never one of my favorite parts of Game of Thrones over those first four seasons, but Hempstead-Wright says that his scenes in the upcoming season are the best he’s ever been a part of. Even a stodgy old two-eyed crow like me can get excited about that.

We would need our own special form of The Sight to know exactly when Game of Thrones will be returning to HBO, but we know the already lauded season premiere is coming in April, as the premieres usually do. To find out when all of your other favorite shows are premiering and returning, check out our midseason schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.