Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) might be the Three-Eyed Raven now, but he’s still working out the kinks in his new role. He may have access to every event that has happened and is currently happening in his mind, but that doesn’t mean he actually has absorbed this information yet.
In this past season of “Game of Thrones,” Bran only knew part of the secret of Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) parentage, that he’s actually the son of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen (Wilf Scolding) and Lyanna Stark (Aisling Franciosi). But it was Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) who informed Bran that Rhaegar and Lyanna were secretly married, which makes Jon the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne and not a bastard after all. Only after hearing that did Bran mystically visit that point in history to confirm the event.
In an interview with Indiewire, Hempstead Wright addressed why Bran didn’t bother to research Jon’s parents to find out whether or not he was legitimate.
“I don’t think he thought much more of it. He probably looked at the conception of Jon Snow, and thought, ‘Oh that must be Rhaegar Targaryen’s [son]. Oh okay, he’s an illegitimate child.’ Bran is not ready yet. The old Three-Eyed Raven made it quite clear. Bran has perhaps been a bit too lax in that situation.”
Also, Jon’s status of being a bastard still worked in the false narrative that had been told for years: that Rhaegar had kidnapped and raped Lyanna. The idea that it was a happy, consensual union did not occur to him.
Despite that error, Bran’s abilities could be crucial to helping to fight the Night King’s army of the dead, which is fast approaching now that The Wall has been burned down by dragonfire. Hempstead Wright offered up five different strategies for Bran to be helpful in Season 8.
Research the Enemy
“There is not that much time left now before White Walkers really start destroying everything,” the actor said.”I think if I were Bran, I would be focusing on everything about the White Walkers, especially now that we are seeing those zombies, and how all the wights died when one White Walker was killed. I think that could be something very important for Bran to kind of start looking back [at] and thinking about. If I were Bran, I’d be focusing on every encounter with the White Walkers — what’s defeated them, what hasn’t, where are they going, so he can quickly then draw up a plan on how the hell to stop an Ice Dragon.”
Take Samwell on as a Friendly Assistant
“They’re the dream team,” he said. “Also, Samwell can tell other people all the stuff Bran works out, because Bran isn’t exactly the most charismatic at the moment. Hopefully it will be Samwell Tarly who tells Jon that he’s the heir to the Iron Throne, rather than Bran going, [in a monotone] ‘You’re the heir to the Iron Throne. I’m the Three-Eyed Raven. I know everything. Hi.’”
Bran’s flat affect and seemingly uncaring demeanor had angered Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) when it seemed that he did not care at all about people, including her brother and Hodor (Kristian Nairn), who had died to save him.
“I think Bran really is now a super-computer and it’s important to remember that,” Hempstead Wright explained. “He’s the Three-Eyed Raven, which means that he remembers Bran Stark, just as he remembers everything. I think it is less important to think that it would be nice to get the old Bran back. It is more about what this new character can offer because he’s an extremely powerful force, who can look up basically anything in space and time. There is still a glimmer of a personality, don’t get me wrong, he’s still a person, but he is a person who has become infinitely wise and infinitely knowledgeable, and it is impossible to even conceive what that would do to a human brain.”
Test His Bond With the Night King
Previously, the Night King (Vladimir Furdik) had touched or “marked” Bran during one of his mental wanderings through Westeros. That means he can tell where Bran is, such as when he had warged into a raven and flew over the undead army. It would be worth seeing if that bond worked in reverse.
“I think that’s an interesting idea,” said Hempstead Wright. “The Three-Eyed Raven and the Night King seem to have some kind of unfinished business — like, the second the Night King looks at Bran warging with those ravens, Bran wakes up. I don’t know how easily Bran can make any connection with that monster.”
Warging Into Something More Powerful…Like a Dragon
Even before Bran became the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran was able to warg into, or mentally take over the will and body of, another being. He can control an animal, which is preferred, or human, which is frowned upon. One way he could gain the upper hand would be to use his human-level of reasoning and intelligence by warging into a dragon.
“I have no idea [if he can],” Hempstead Wright said. “We haven’t seen Bran do much warging, other than those ravens recently. So maybe. Who knows what the possibilities are there?”
Changing an Event From the Past, Like What Happened With Hodor
Bran once warged into his trusty servant Hodor in the present while also visiting a past event, and while they were fleeing an army of wights, a strange time loop was created. Hodor died, but his younger self was also affected, which explains why he had always appeared mentally broken and only said one word: Hodor. Could that ability to change the past be another way to affect the present war?
Perhaps, but Hempstead Wright doesn’t think it’s a good idea. “Definitely not,” he said. “I think that entire episode made it clear to Bran that is not something you mess with, and the Three-Eyed Raven before said … the past is already written, don’t mess with it. Because the second it does, you start creating paradoxes and everything starts getting super, super messed up. So I think Bran is recognizing now that he’s not going to save anyone by changing time. If you could go back and stop the White Walkers from ever being created, who knows what kind of havoc that could wreak on the timeline? So I think Bran is clear now that it is not his place to be involved with changing time.”