Game of Thrones Season 8 is over, for higher or worse. The finale made some fairly sudden strikes, maybe most of all putting Bran on the throne (properly, a throne, not the Throne). How the present reached that time, and what all of it means, is a subject we may (and actually will) debate for years to come back. However the huge query looming over all of that is: Will the ending be the identical within the books, as soon as writer George R.R. Martin really finishes writing them?
Bran ascending to rule Westeros (six of the seven kingdoms, at the very least) makes a certain quantity of sense within the present. In communing with the Three-Eyed Raven past the Wall, Bran gained powers that allowed him to view occasions from all through historical past, previous and current, wherever on this planet. As soon as each character within the present accepted that Bran has these powers and thus has extra information than anybody else may ever hope to achieve, the lords of Westeros all agreeing to crown him king is a logical transfer. It is not completely clear why Bran did lots of the issues that he did (or did not do) over the previous couple of seasons, apart from a imprecise sense that every thing occurred for a motive.
For those who’re a glass-half-full sort of viewer, you would possibly select to consider that Bran spent a number of years enjoying puppet grasp with the objective of turning into king as a result of he is finally benevolent. Bran has seen each attainable future, and he is aware of that, regardless of the horrors which have occurred alongside the best way, this was one of the best path ultimately, as a result of he’ll be a very good ruler and keep away from much more bloodshed sooner or later. It is the fantasy model of Physician Unusual’s “one in 14 million” path ahead in Avengers: Infinity Battle.
There’s one key distinction, although: Physician Unusual did not peer into 14 million attainable futures after which choose the one the place he turns into emperor of the galaxy. Did Bran manipulate occasions all through Sport of Thrones to realize the absolute best ending for everyone–least lives misplaced, most wars averted, and so forth.–or was the aim of his machinations merely to place himself in energy, regardless of the fee?
If Bran was meant to be evil in the end, the present did a fairly unhealthy job explaining how he acquired that method. I do not consider that is the case, however issues would possibly prove very in another way within the subsequent e book, The Winds of Winter–even if on the floor, they seem to prove the identical. All of it has to do with the Three-Eyed Raven’s actual id, Bran’s warging/skinchanging talents, and one other attainable which means of the “tune of ice and fireplace.”
Who Is The Three-Eyed Raven?
Your complete storyline across the Three-Eyed Raven is one space through which Sport of Thrones merely missed its mark. For those who solely watch the present, you most likely know roughly three issues about this character: He was performed by two completely different actors throughout two seasons (Struan Rodger and Max von Sydow), he lived in a cave north of the Wall, and he did not a lot look after the Night time King.
His story is so a lot better within the books, the place he is often called the Three-Eyed Crow–and the place he has an precise id past instructing Bran methods to do magic and be bizarre. Within the books, the Three-Eyed Crow is definitely Brynden Rivers, or Lord Bloodraven–a Targaryen bastard who served as Hand to a number of Targaryen kings, remained loyal to the Targaryens by means of a number of rebellions of a splinter faction known as the Blackfyres, and was ultimately arrested and despatched off to the Night time’s Watch. There, he rose by means of the ranks to turn into Lord Commander, however disappeared whereas ranging north of the Wall (not in contrast to Ned Stark’s brother Benjen).
When Bran meets Bloodraven in that cave within the far north, the Targaryen bastard is round 125 years outdated. Clearly, that is far past a traditional human’s lifespan; the sorcerer is actually a dwelling corpse, with a weirwood tree rising round and thru him, roots snaking out and in of the empty socket the place he misplaced a watch in a duel together with his half-brother Aegor “Bittersteel” Rivers over 100 years earlier. (There is a saying that Bloodraven, a spymaster and skinchanger, had “a thousand eyes, and one.”) He additionally has a particular winestain birthmark on one cheek–the supply of his identify, because it apparently resembles a chicken.
(I ought to cease right here to notice that, technically, the Three-Eyed Crow and Bloodraven being the identical particular person is not 100% confirmed but within the books, though the quantity of proof and clues that time to this idea being reality is overwhelmingly convincing.)
Why does any of this matter?
It has been established that writer George R.R. Martin gave Sport of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, on the very minimal, the essential gist of his story define, in order that they may work towards the identical ending even because the present handed the books. However “Bran is king ultimately” won’t be the very same ending George has in thoughts.
Within the books, Bran was nonetheless chilling in that cave with the Three-Eyed Crow the final we noticed. The present handed the books when Bran escaped the Night time King’s assault there, was rescued by Benjen, and headed again down South. Afterward, Bran was clearly modified: He now not appeared like himself, and even made cryptic statements about how he wasn’t actually Bran anymore.
Learn subsequent: Game Of Thrones Season 8 Makes A Lot More Sense If Bran Is Evil
If we assume that some or all of those particulars got here instantly from the unique writer’s still-unpublished e book materials, then there are some logical leaps we will make. I am going to shout-out right here to Twitter user T.J. Hafer, who began me enthusiastic about this idea.
What if Bran actually is not Bran anymore? What if the Three-Eyed Crow is not a benevolent being who needs to assist Bran battle the White Walkers (the “Others” within the books), however merely one other participant of the sport of thrones vying for energy? The books are filled with Targaryens and Targaryen loyalists who wish to see their dynasty returned to glory, lots of whom aren’t current within the present, and Bloodraven is perhaps merely one more–albeit one enjoying a really lengthy sport.
Bloodraven might have sensed Bran’s latent magical talents and lured him north of the Wall in order that he may get near the Stark boy–and steal his physique. It has been suggested–and that is the way it appeared to work within the show–that “Three-Eyed Raven” is a mantle that may be handed from character to character. However what if turning into the Three-Eyed Crow actually signifies that Bran actually turns into Bloodraven?
Within the books, if Bran is absolutely the Targaryen bastard Brynden Rivers in disguise when he returns southward, his actions all through the remainder of the series–if the novels play out in any respect just like the present did–could make much more sense. Brandon Stark would not sit round doing nothing whereas tens of hundreds of harmless individuals died, however Bloodraven would possibly, if it meant returning the Targaryens to energy. Within the e book’s historical past, Bloodraven traveled north to the Wall within the firm of a younger Maester Aemon–yes, the identical Maester Aemon who’s nonetheless alive in Jon and Sam’s time. However in contrast to Aemon, Bloodraven might not have been content material to let his household be snuffed out, even when it meant biding his time for many years and concocting a demented, complicated plan to maneuver his method again to energy in King’s Touchdown.
And possibly the titular Music of Ice and Hearth–although it nonetheless applies to Jon and Dany, too–could additionally symbolize the conflict between Bloodraven, a firey Targaryen, and the Others, who wish to cease him from carrying his plan out for some motive. For e book readers who’ve had plenty of time to invest in between releases, these theories go deep–there are rabbit holes involving issues just like the Stark household’s connections to the Others, and that will all play into this as properly.
One factor I do know for positive is that the ending as offered on the show–that Bran appeared to control the opposite characters by selectively revealing bits and items of knowledge solely when it suited him and allowed tens of hundreds of individuals to die horribly so he could possibly be a Good, Simply King–doesn’t sit fairly proper with me. Whether or not the sequence’ true ending is one thing that followers have already predicted, precisely the identical because the present or fully completely different, and even one thing that nobody has but foreseen, we’ll merely have to attend to seek out out.