Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Game of Thrones” season seven.
Bran Stark re-entered “Game of Thrones” in its seventh season as a brand new character: the Three-Eyed Raven. As he used his powers of greensight and warging more through the season, fans began picking up on the importance of his character. Some people even got out of hand, believing Bran is actually the Night King.
INSIDER spoke with Isaac Hempstead Wright, who plays Bran Stark/the Three-Eyed Raven, to hear his thoughts on his fan theory and learn more about exactly how his powers work.
Kim Renfro: Were you following all the Bran memes and fan theories cropping up during the season?
Isaac Hempstead Wright: Oh, so many Bran memes. That’s been fun. I’ve seen a great one where Meera comes to Bran and is like, “Hodor died for you, my brother died for you.” And it’s just got a WhatsApp [notification] showing it’s been read but not replied to.
And there have been funny ones of people Photoshopping Bran into every sex scene in “Game of Thrones” going, “Oh yeah, I’ve seen that now.”
Renfro: One fan theory that really spread was the guess that Bran is …
Hempstead Wright: Bran’s the Night King! Yep. I mean it sounds fairly far-fetched but I would have said the same about the Hodor theory had I just read that on the internet. I mean I think it’s gotten a little bit crazy because people are now putting pictures of me and the Night King together and going “Yep, that confirms it! They look identical!” And it’s like, “Do I really look like an ancient ice zombie? Thanks guys.”
Renfro: I think part of the reason why that theory has gotten so out of control is because it still feels like we don’t know how Bran’s powers work, and so people are making a lot of assumptions.
Hempstead Wright: Well let me clear a bit of that up. The way Bran’s power works at the moment is that he’s basically got a Kindle library of the whole history of the universe. He just hasn’t read every book yet. And the old Three-Eyed Raven has sat in that tree for a thousand years and read through every piece of history and has accessed it all.
Bran has just done a quick whistlestop look through history and gotten the idea of things. But for now he needs people to tell him what they want him to see. Like Samwell Tarly saying, “Can you see this?” and Bran goes and accesses it and says, “Oh yep, that does happen.” So it’s not like Bran just has everything at his fingertips, he’s still got to look it up in the dictionary.
Renfro: On a scale of one to the old Three-Eyed Raven, where is Bran now with his control over these powers?
Hempstead Wright: He’s nowhere near there yet. The old Three-Eyed Raven was one of the wisest people in Westeros. He has literally been in that tree for thousands and thousands of years, learning all about the world and knowing history back to front.
Whereas for Bran, he’s just thinking, “Whoa ok, there’s a lot of cool stuff here but I can’t get through it all yet.” So if the old Three-Eyed Raven is a 10, I reckon Bran is a three or a four right now. He’s got access to a lot of stuff, he just needs to be guided in the right direction.
Renfro: And it’s not clear if he can see the future, right?
Hempstead Wright: Yeah I’m still not sure about that myself. I think Bran has more of an idea of destiny than actually predicting the future per se. He knows how things must end and how they must end for him or whatever, or what he must do, but I don’t think he’s got the future written down just yet. It’s more of an idea of fate, as I understand it.
Renfro: One scene that came to mind when I was watching the finale was the moment earlier in season seven when Bran handed Arya the Valyrian steel dagger. If you rewatch that scene, it feels like Bran knows Arya is going to do something important with it.
Hempstead Wright: You know that’s interesting because that is exactly … I was trying to play that. I’m really glad that came through. When Bran’s looking at that dagger, I was thinking that he’s feeling the Valyrian steel and thinking, “I can see where this dagger’s going to end up. It’s going to be used to kill Littlefinger.”
Whether he knows that exactly or not, I think he looks at it and can see this that this dagger has a purpose, it has a fate, it has a destiny. And that destiny is to kill Littlefinger.
I don’t know if Bran knows it there yet, but as he looks at it and touches it, it’s becoming clear that this is important. And that’s why he gives it to Arya so suddenly. He’s thinking, “I don’t know why, but you need this dagger.”
Renfro: At the time I felt like something bigger was happening, and then when Arya pulled it out in the finale it was an “aha” moment for sure.
Hempstead Wright: He really is such a cool character to get to play. Especially [as an actor] seeing the scene play out,because you know what’s going to happen anyways but to see it manifest itself on screen and actually get to use that in you character because you’ve got all the tricks, it’s really fun.
Renfro: Do you think we’ll we ever see the old Bran peek out again?
Hempstead Wright: Bran understands what is important and what isn’t now, and I think he recognises that Bran Stark isn’t really important. The Three-Eyed Raven is very important right now. So I think Bran is less focused on sentimentality. Yeah it would be nice to have a reunion with his sisters, but this is the end of the world and it needs to be sorted. So that’s where Bran’s at.
Renfro: Sam and Bran was an unexpected reunion, but a welcome one. I loved the humour you and John Bradley brought to that scene. Was it fun to shoot?
Hempstead Wright: [Laughing] That bit where he lifts up the scroll was almost too comedic. That was unbelievably hilarious.
It was a fun scene because it was great to have those two characters together again.
Those are really two of the characters in “Game of Thrones” who really use wits and knowledge as their power and force and strength. So it was really cool to have them together and especially having such a crucial part to play, getting to reveal who Jon Snow really is. Or rather Jon Targaryen. Or Aegon Targaryen.
Also, it was so hot on that set. It was unbearable. We both nearly passed out. Because we had artificial heaters, there was an actual fire on, and then you have 30 people packed into a small set. And so it was boiling hot, then we had heavy costumes because it’s obviously winter now so we have much bigger, warmer costumes on. It was pretty unbearable in there. But a great scene.
Renfro: One last question. Was your sad goodbye moment the the last we’ll see of Meera?
Hempstead Wright: I don’t know. I mean this is the last season [coming up], and I think a lot of people are going to end up getting involved in it. When the White Walkers trudge their way down through Westeros there’s going to be no stone left unturned. So I don’t see why [that scene] would be the absolute demise of Meera Reed. But who knows.
“Game of Thrones” will return for its eighth and final season possibly as late as 2019. In the meantime, read our interview with Liam Cunningham (Ser Davos Seaworth) for possible season eight predictions.
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