There’s nothing Game of Thrones fans like more than endlessly discussing theories and eventually seeing them proved right (ahem, R+L=J), and right now there’s another one dominating the fandom: that Brandon Stark is the Night King.
It’s a theory that’s been floating and elaborated on for years, so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where this one started, but the latest renewed interested is mostly coming from Redditor turm0il26, who in turn credits YouTube account ‘Game of Theories‘ for the idea. Swings and roundabouts, you know.
So how the fuck is Bran the Night King?
We already know that Bran has the greensight (the ability to perceive past, present or future events via dreams) and the ability to warg (a.k.a being able to enter the minds of others), and as we’ve seen through the tragic life and death of Wyllis / Hodor, we know he can affect the past.
We also know that the Night King and Bran have met before.
This theory reckons that Bran, by attempting to rewrite the future, will repeatedly travel back in time to try and fix the messes he keeps creating, ultimately failing and becoming ‘stuck’ as the Night King.
The first time he travels back, he’ll try to prepare the Mad King for the incoming threat of White Walkers by encouraging him to stock wildfire under King’s Landing. (We’ve already seen him communicate with the past once, with Ned Stark outside the Tower of Joy.) But his efforts will only make the Mad King actually mad, what with the whispers in his ear, setting off the events of Robert’s Rebellion.
The second time Bran travels back, the theory goes, he’ll go even further, to try and discover how the White Walkers were defeated the first time around. He’ll fail again, but will somehow build the Wall to keep the White Walkers out, briefly becoming Bran the Builder. (The theory doesn’t outline if this means Bran will warg into his own ancestor Bran the Builder, but we kind of assume he must.) Bran will also secure his own future birth by building Winterfell.
The third time, he’ll go further back still, all the way back to when the Night King was first created by the Children of the Forest. He’ll warg into the human the Children turn into the Night King in an attempt to stop it from happening, but will ultimately fail, and when he realises this, will find he is unable to return to his present time. Bran will be stuck as the Night King. “It is beautiful beneath the sea,” the previous Three Eyed Raven once told him, “but if you stay too long, you’ll drown.”
So why would Bran, who until this moment has been on the ‘good’ side of the war, become the show’s premiere villain instead?
“With the combination of the children’s magic and Bran’s power, he becomes the villain instead of the hero he tried to be, resulting in turning against the children for creating him and getting stuck behind the magical Wall he later builds as Bran the builder.
“Immortal as he is, he waits for himself to be born thousands of years later, knowing when and where he has to be to mark the young Bran, personally kill Brynden Rivers [a.k.a. the human name of the previous Three Eyed Raven] for hiding the truth about what would happen with him, and eventually being able to destroy the wall with a certain dragon. The reason the Night King doesn’t end his misery by killing his younger self, is that he finally learnt the ink is dry, and he would fail again. The reason he doesn’t kill Jon Snow, and instead observes him at Hardhome (maybe even resurrected him at Castle Black?) will be covered in the end.
Turm0il26 reckons this means that Jon is 100% Azor Ahai (or the prince who was promised), and that he will eventually half to kill his younger brother (or rather, younger cousin) to save the realm, giving us the bittersweet ending George R.R. Martin has promised.
WHEW. It’s a lot to take in, no?
There’s a whole lot going to take in with this theory, but if you want to pursue things deeper, check out the full Reddit thread here.
Meanwhile, Bran and the Night King are certainly looking pretty familiar in their costuming of late.
[h/t to this redditor.]
All will be revealed… eventually.