With the return of Bran Stark to Game of Thrones this coming Sunday, I have dedicated this character prediction to him. Please don’t read if you want to avoid potential spoilers.

Bran Stark in A Song of Ice and Fire

In A Dance with Dragons, Bran finally finds the three-eyed crow, who turns out to be Brynden Rivers (aka Bloodraven). Bloodraven is a Targaryen (legitimized) bastard, formerly both Hand of the King and Lord Commander of Night’s Watch. He was a spymaster who was also said to dabble in sorcery. He played a key role in protecting the Targaryen dynasty from the Blackfyre pretenders, but was ultimately sent to the Wall for his for his underhanded methods.

We know Bloodraven is extremely powerful, and he has seen this power in Bran. He lures Bran beyond the wall to train him in his gifts, and we assume that they will use these gifts to help stop the Others from destroying humanity. However, Bran’s final chapter in A Dance with Dragons is full of ominous imagery and a sense of fatalism. There is a detailed breakdown here, but we find out that worship of the Old Gods historically involved blood sacrifice and that the Children of the Forest likely practice it still.

Prior to this, the Children of the Forest and the Old Gods seemed to be forces for good which battled against the forces of evil (the Others). Bran appeared to be on an important journey to awaken his gifts for the betterment of humanity, and he still may. But nothing is black and white in A Song of Ice and Fire, so we are left to wonder how Bran’s story will play out – will he be a hero, villain, or something in-between?

I do believe Bran will discover important information about the Long Night, the true nature of the Others, and also about his family and ancestors. He will probably be the vehicle for revealing Jon’s true parentage and the significance it has for Westeros (if any). What is more difficult to determine is how he will use this information.

Bloodraven’s time as Hand and Lord Commander seemed marked by his desire to keep the realm safe and at peace, and to preserve the Targaryen legacy. Are these goals important to him still? We don’t know what he has learned from the Children and from his visions, and – not knowing Bloodraven’s true motivation – we are left to wonder how he plans to use Bran to further his ends.

Bran Stark in Game of Thrones

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Bran’s role in Game of Thrones seems to be less ambiguous than in the books. From the footage that’s been released so far – and what we’ve learned from interviews – he seems poised to become a powerful warg and greenseer who will use his gifts to try and save Westeros from the White Walkers.

We know that he will see the events at the Tower of Joy, where Ned Stark went to retrieve his sister Lyanna Stark after Robert’s Rebellion was over. Bran will likely discover that Lyanna gave birth to Jon (Rhaegar’s son) and made Ned promise to raise him and keep him safe. Hopefully he will use his power to share this information with Jon prior to his resurrection.

The trailer footage appears to show the White Walkers burning the cave where Bran, Meera, and Hodor are sheltered with Bloodraven. If this is the case, they will need to escape but where will they go? They will be in extreme danger from the weather and the White Walker army. It remains to be seen how they will survive, but if Bran has the knowledge necessary to save Westeros he will hopefully try to find his family. Jon and Sansa (with help from Davos) appear to be on track to unite the North against the Boltons. With the Bolton threat removed, they will need to turn their focus to the threat beyond the Wall –  before it’s too late.