Isaac Hempstead-Wright First Thought Bran’s Finale Twist Was a Joke: ‘Oh Shit, It’s Real?’

The Bran twist was such a surprise for the actor that he couldn't believe it was actually happening.
"Game of Thrones"
"Game of Thrones"

[Editors’ note: The following post contains spoilers for the “Game of Thrones” series finale, “The Iron Throne.”]

The Iron Throne was officially destroyed by dragon fire in the series finale of “Game of Thrones,” but that didn’t mean a new leader of the Six Kingdoms wouldn’t be named. Following the death of Daenerys Targaryen and the imprisonment of her murderer, Jon Snow, the surviving leaders of Westeros joined Tyrion in King’s Landing to figure out who should rule Westeros. In a surprise move, the honor went to none other than Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright). Tyrion proposed the idea, saying Bran had a story the people of Westeros would believe in. Bran made Tyrion his hand and agreed to let Sansa rule over an independent North (hence the Seven Kingdoms are now the Six Kingdoms).

“When I got to the [Dragonpit scene] in the last episode and they’re like, ‘What about Bran?’ I had to get up and pace around the room,” Hempstead-Wright said about his reaction to the Bran twist. “I genuinely thought it was a joke script and that [showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] sent to everyone a script with their own character ending up on the Iron Throne. ‘Yeah, good one guys. Oh shit, it’s actually real?’”

Hampstead-Wright continued, “I’m happy. Though I kind of did want to die and get in one good death scene with an exploding head or something.”

As for whether or not Bran will be a good king, the actor said, “I think he will be a really good king. Perhaps there will be something missing in having a real emotive leader, which is a useful quality in a king or queen as well. At the same time, you can’t really argue with Bran. He’s like, ‘No, I know everything.’”

Bran become one of the show’s biggest meme generators during its final season because of his blank facial reactions and curt speaking pattern. Hampstead-Wright said the filming of the final season’s big battle episode “The Long Night” was one of his best experiences on the show. Bran was a centerpiece of the episode as the character was used to lure the Night King out in the open.

“Getting to do those night shoots when the Night King gets [killed] was pretty powerful,” Hampstead-Wright said. “Seeing the end of one of the most important powerful characters come to an end. There was a moment between Bran and the night king where Bran almost feels sorry for him. He didn’t ask to be the Night King. We saw him being strapped to the tree and get that Dragonglass plunged in his heart and he’s been on a hellbent mission of destruction. That was probably my favorite thing to shoot.”

Outside of “Thrones,” Hempstead-Wright has appeared in “The Awakening” and has voiced a role in the Laika movie “The Boxtrolls.”

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