Why Bran Stark Is not the Night King

Unless Benioff and Weiss Really Don’t Care About Logic

Learning From A Dummy? (HBO)

If you haven’t read my recap of “Beyond the Wall” yet, you can find all of my recaps here:

Anyway, I never put anything past Benioff and Weiss, so even though I know that the Night King is literally not Bran Stark (he was the first White Walker and created by the same Children of the Forest who were protecting Bran in the tree with the three-eyed Raven) I am not going to insist that the showrunners won’t make it so.

There has, however, been an explosion of people online suggesting that Bran is the Night King and that the Night King’s face has started to increasingly resemble Bran’s face. This theory exploded last week in particular because in the battle, the Night King had exactly three ice lances (three lances for three dragons), seemingly trapped the Magnificent Seven on purpose, and had a bunch of gigantic chains with him (probably explaining why the White Walkers have been heading towards the Wall at the speed of snails despite how fast they seemed to be able to move during the ‘Beyond the Wall’ episode).

Despite all of this, unless B & W are literally tearing all the logic up and throwing it to the North Winds, Bran is NOT the Night King.

Why not?

The main problem with the “Night King” theory is that Bran cannot warg people in the past, he can only warg them in the present. What happened in the Hodor episode (The Door) was that Bran (who was greenseeing the past while physically in the present) warged Hodor in the present which connected him to Willis (young Hodor) in the past. The connection was between Bran and Hodor not Bran and Willis (Bran → Hodor → Willis → Hodor). Bran can connect to and change the past through warging someone in the present who also exists in the past that he is greenseeing (through their eyes aka a green dream). He can change someone’s past (and present) by connecting their past to their present.

In other words, Hodor saw Willis and Willis saw Hodor through Bran’s control of his eyes (Willis and Hodor share the same eyes and the same consciousness) and it broke his mind creating the time paradox.

Greenseeing is NOT the ability to time travel or visit the past, it IS the ability to SEE whatever TREES have seen. It is like, as I have mentioned before, having Treeflix (a service that streams history as seen by trees) with a VR Headset. So, the idea that Bran goes back in time and tries to inhabit people’s bodies trying to change history makes no damn sense. If it were the ability to simply travel in time, Bran could go back and make sure Willis wasn’t present or influence the past in a million ways to save the present.

If you are wondering where I get that from:

Luwin: “No one truly knows, Bran. The children are gone from the world, and their wisdom with them. It had to do with the faces in the trees, we think. The First Men believed that the greenseers could see through the eyes of the weirwoods. That was why they cut down the trees whenever they warred upon the children (A Clash Of Kings, Chapter 28, Bran IV).


Jojen: “…only a boy who dreams. The greenseers were more than that. They were wargs as well as you are, and the greatest of them could wear the skins of any best that flies or swims or crawls, and could look through the eyes of the weirwoods as well, and see the truth that lies beneath the world (A Storm of Swords, Chapter 9 Bran I).”

In addition, if Bran could do that, there would be time paradoxes erupting throughout every single area of Westeros. While the process would seem seamless to the people experiencing it in real time, to the viewing audience it would NOT seem seamless because he would leave ripples that contradicted everything we have seen to date on the show. Every time Bran tried to inhabit one of the many historical characters included in the theory (Aerys II, Bran the Builder, the first man who became the Night King etc.) all history since then would have changed.

As an audience, we would see a large number of inconsistencies rippling out from Bran’s interventions in history that could erase people and events that we already know happened (the theory is that time or history would correct everything that happened before so that it becomes a new unified time line).

On the good side, at least it could explain some of the incredible leaps of logic B & W have taken in the last three seasons.

In addition, if Bran is the Night King, how would Bran continue to send emissaries (ravens) to see the Night King only to be repulsed (since Bran’s physical body would be the Hodor in the relationship with the Night King (and not the Willis)?

An Alternative Theory

Three Spears for Three Dragons (HBO)

Probably the best theory is just to admit that it all probably makes no sense and that Benioff and Weiss have gone so far off the rails that it takes a bunch of smart people working really hard to try to make any sense of the wreckage they have left in the show’s wake.

But, I guess it is possible that there are other ways that the Night King could have gotten intelligence from Bran (or Bran from the Night King).

Bran has met the Night King and can warg people in real time (see Hodor) which does make him unique. Bran has tried several times to “see” where the Night King is and what he is up to and both times NK has seen him and reacted immediately.

It is possible that Bran is trying to warg the Night King or tried to warg the Night King in real time (not in the past) and started to lose himself (explaining the connection between them) leaving a mark on NK’s appearance (which makes no sense either way, the object of warging doesn’t start looking like the person doing the warging no matter when or where it happens) or he just failed entirely.

But, how does Bran always know where the Night King is?

Bran can see whatever is happening wherever there are trees, he has Treeflix, a Treeflix VR headset, and a cool algorithm that lets him imagine what he wants to see and almost immediately being taken to the right stream.

But, how does the Knight King always rebuff Bran?

The magic involved in all of this came from the trees and was shepherded by the Children of the Forest, they probably have similar powers. What if the Night King can see what Bran sees using many of the same methods? Or what if the Night King can warg Bran (he seems to be able to control an entire army of Zombies)? Or what if the Night King can also greensee? Lots of possibilities here. There is obviously the possibility that the Night King is also a historical Stark and has many of the same abilities as Bran (which also explains the similarity in looks). What if Bran finds out than in this connection he has a version of the power that lets the Night King turn the dead in to zombies and can reverse the stream (returning the dead to peaceful resting states)?

But why is Bran so disconnected?

I have been thinking that Bran’s unique combination of powers has meant that when he uses his powers as a greenseer he starts becoming one with the trees much in the same way he would if he warged an animal for too long.

Seems like you are doing a ton of work for this not to be true?

Yup, I will admit, I am kind of scared this is what Benioff and Weiss are up to which would be tragic because it would make no sense. I guess it is theoretically possible that Bran could just be really bad at warging people in the past, so his attempts to take control failed many times at the critical moment.

I suppose that it is possible that Bran got lost in warging the first man who became the Night King, but if that were true, Bran would no longer exist as we now know him (he, at best, would be Hodor). While losing yourself is a gradual process, it is a gradual process like addiction (you keep going back until you don’t want to leave) but, in a sense, Bran would have been doing it for hundreds, if not thousands, of years by now (even though it would appear to anyone aside from Bran as having happened in just a few days or weeks).

At the end of the day, if Bran has the power to warg in the past, why wouldn’t he just warg one of the subsidiary characters and assassinate or alter critical moments in time? Why not warg the boss Child of the Forest and lead a successful debate against creating the White Walkers in the first place?

Why not warg the mother or father of White Walker number one and make sure that he was never born? And if Bran is working for the Night King, why not just go back and warg away all of the Night King’s enemies best decisions one at a time?

Oh well, I sure hope that this theory isn’t true, it just makes a mess of the entire history of the show and makes a mockery of how carefully it was all constructed (IMHO). My fear, as always, is that Benioff and Weiss care more about appearing clever (irony, Olenna?) than they do about actually being clever (George Lucas disease) which means this may actually be a true story (even if it should not be).

If you haven’t read my writing about Game of Thrones before, here is a guide:

Here is my recap of the finale:

The article you have been reading has been out for a few days now, and was pretty popular, so I recently wrote this sequel:

Josh is a 100% reader-funded blogger and freelance writer. Please consider following him on Twitter, throwing a tip into his hat on Patreon, or adding his blog OnPirateSatellite to your feeds. Your support allows me to continue to provide my Game of Thrones content without pop-ups or bloatware.