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Game Of Thrones' seventh season certainly hasn't been a disappointment so far with one of the surprises this season being Bran Stark's strange behavior. After being cocooned with the Three-Eyed Raven, who he has been trained to replace, it was evident that he would emerge transformed… But the extent to which he has changed was unexpected. His strange, emotionless behavior and lack of empathy towards everyone has most fans wondering what's going on with Bran. What direction is the character going in? And what might this mean for the final season of Game Of Thrones? Read on for three possible explanations!
WARNING: Game Of Thrones spoilers to follow!
1. Information Overload
From the very first season of Game of Thrones, Bran's prophetic dreams indicated that the character had a unique gift to offer. After meeting with the Reed twins, Meera and Jojen, this was a gift that Bran learned to develop. Along with Hodor, they ventured far beyond the wall, where Bran achieved his goal of meeting with the Three-Eyed Raven. The Three-Eyed Raven became Bran's mentor, before passing the baton on to Bran. Now Bran is fulfilling his destiny of being a different kind of hero, using knowledge and wisdom as his weapons.
In A Song Of Ice And Fire, George R.R. Martin explored the mystical world that Bran is connected to in greater depth than the show. However, Game Of Thrones has explained to some extent what may have happened to Bran since he became the human incarnation of The Three-Eyed Raven. Bran has been given access to the entire history of the universe, and can view every past moment at will. As Bran's actor, Isaac Hempstead Wright, puts it, 'He's really like a human supercomputer'. Has all this information taken up the space where his personality used to be?
2. Bran The Martyr
This partially explains why Bran seems to have lost connection with his emotions and personality. Meera declared that "Bran died in that cave." Defending the character in an interview, Hempstead Wright said, 'When [Bran] says, "I remember what it felt like to be Brandon Stark, but I remember so much else now," [this] sums up exactly the situation Bran is in.' However, this still doesn’t really tell us why Bran acted so strangely towards Sansa; does she have plans to form an allegiance with Littlefinger that Bran has foreseen?
Or maybe Bran has followed in the footsteps of Jojen and foreseen his own death? It is possible that he believes his death a necessity in the cause of defeating the White Walkers. So is Bran trying to distance himself from his loved ones to spare them the pain of losing him? Or maybe he really has become so disconnected from his former self that there is simply no room for caring much about family and friends? The extent of Bran's detachment made it somewhat of a relief to see him appear slightly rattled after witnessing the army of White Walkers marching towards Eastwatch in episode five.
3. Evil Bran
There is another theory. Game Of Thrones might have plans to shock us all by creating a villain out of Bran. He's never been the show's most popular character and has received his fair share of criticism from fans, especially after disobeying the elderly Three-Eyed Raven's instructions to not warge unattended. This attracted the attention of The Night King, who responded by invading their abode, and killing many, including fan-favourite, Hodor. But was Hodor's death a heroic action on his own part or did Bran simply manipulate him into forfeiting his own life?
Might Bran's disconnection be the start of him following in the footsteps of Joffry, Ramsey, and Cersei, and becoming the character that everyone loves to hate? Will Bran side with the White Walkers? It is an unlikely theory, especially after the Starks (Jon Snow included) have always been the heroes of the show. However, the side fighting The Night King now seems to include many of the show's main characters: Jon Snow, Tyron, Daenerys and potentially Cersei and Jamie, if Jon is successful in his mission to capture a White Walker as evidence of the cause. Dragons, Dragon Glass and all the armies of the Seven Kingdoms suggest an inevitable defeat for the White Walkers, leaving Bran somewhat redundant. Whereas The Night King, with Bran by his side, would certainly put Westeros in jeopardy, and make for a thrilling final season.
So has Bran lost space in his brain for a personality? Is he distancing himself from his loved ones to protect them? Or might he have plans to fight the living?