Bran is one of the most interesting characters in Game of Thrones. You may know that he is the brother of Robb Stark and Ned Stark, and the nephew of Jon Arryn. However, aside from that, there is a lot more to Bran than one would expect from just his family connections.
Let’s dive into the probabilities of Bran’s life in the Seven Kingdoms.
Bran’s Parents Are Alive
One of the biggest mysteries about Bran is his parentage. It is heavily implied that his father is the late Lord Rickard Stark, but we’ve never actually seen or heard from Rickard’s side of the family. In one of the early episodes of Game of Thrones, we did get a glimpse of Rickard’s brother, Rob Stark, and it is possible that Rickard married and had children while in King’s Landing. This would explain why Bran looks so much like Robb and why they share the same set of fangs.
However, we do know that Rickard and his wife are both dead. After Rickard was murdered at the end of season one, it became clear that Bran would be raised by Ned Stark. Ned initially wanted to keep Bran and his half-sister, Sansa, along with him, but the other lords in the north wanted to put them in the safety of Winterfell. Ultimately, it was the Starks’ uncle, Benjen, who convinced Ned to let Bran and Sansa stay with him. Benjen explained to Ned that the more people he had watching his back, the less he would have to worry about.
Bran Survived the War
Another major question surrounding Bran is how he survived the war. In the books, it is revealed that Bran was actually at Winterfell when the war began. He and his half-brother, Rickon, hid in the home of some priests, hoping that the White Walkers would not find them. During that time, he learned to fight and fend for himself. In the end, the most badass sorcerer in the Seven Kingdoms, Maester Vylarr, saved Bran’s life by creating a powerful magical shield around him. Vylarr then took Bran to Rivendell, where he was raised by Elric, whose family he resembled. Vylarr taught Bran how to use his powers for good and eventually convinced him to become a maester.
In the show, though, we never saw anything to suggest that Bran was at Winterfell during the War of the Five Kings. In fact, the first indication that the war was anywhere near Winterfell came when Littlefinger told Sansa that the North was being protected by the gods. As we know, the North was in the middle of a three-way war, so Littlefinger was essentially telling Sansa that the war was being protected by whoever was winning at the time. It became clear that the war would not take place in Winterfell when Roose Bolton, whom we’ll discuss in a bit, kidnapped Rickon and took him to the Dreadfort as a ward. He then proceeded to hold Rickon, along with Ramsay, who was already in his custody, as hostages. It would seem that Bran and the rest of the Stark family avoided the actual fighting by going into hiding.
Ned Was The Ultimate Protector
One of the most notable things about Bran is how protective of him Ned was. It seems that the older brother, Robb, wanted to see Bran raised in the North, while Ned wanted to keep Bran closer to home so he could protect him. What’s more is that Ned’s strategy worked. Up until the day he died, it was clear that Bran was safe and well-catered for in King’s Landing. It is a testament to the care he received from Ned that even after the terrible loss he suffered at the end of season seven, Bran still has not given up on his dream of one day returning to Winterfell and ruling the Seven Kingdoms. He may not have actual power yet, but it is clear that he has the courage to seek it. In many ways, Ned was the perfect father for a young prince like Bran.
Bran’s Fights Are Stylized
Another thing that makes Bran interesting is his willingness to fight. He doesn’t always win, but he always tries, and we as an audience are encouraged to cheer him on. Even when he is not the hero in a story, it is clear that he is the protagonist’s best friend and that he wants to protect and defend his companions. This has resulted in one of the most exciting aspects of Bran’s character, which is his fights. His battles with the White Walkers in the show, while not always going according to plan, are always beautifully choreographed and always end with Bran emerging triumphant.
In terms of his personality, Bran is not your typical silent, brooding King. He is an engaging character who is quick to make friends and defend them when necessary. He also does not shy away from expressing his emotions. The most iconic scene in the entire series probably comes at the beginning of season five. Robb and his company of warriors are marching through the snow to war. As they approach Winterfell, they come across a man, a snow dog, and a wolf. The three of them engage in an animated conversation. It is clear that the wolf is acting on instinct, while the man is trying to restrain the dog’s aggression. When they are done talking, Robb asks his men if anyone wants to go on a bear hunt.
This is when we are reminded that while people in Westeros may be tough, animals truly are psychopaths.
Bran’s Fights Are Taught
Even more interesting than how well-matched are the two allies – human and animal – in that scene is the fact that Bran’s fights are taught. When the hunter asks one of his men if he’s any good, the man replies that he’s not asking about hunting wolves but about fighting them. This is where we begin to see Bran’s unique perspective. He has learned to fight from the best: his uncle, Benjen Stark.
Bran’s first major battle was with Gregor Clegane, who had tried to rape Sansa. The two of them ended up wrestling in the snow and ended up killing one another. Up until that point, the only other person that Bran had fought was, you guessed it, the Night’s Watch soldier who had attempted to rape his sister, Arya. These are only a few examples of the many martial arts that Bran has learned, which is more than we can say for most teenage boys in the Seven Kingdoms.
Bran’s Best Friend Is A Wolf
Another important element of the Bran character is the bond that he shares with a certain wolf. In the books, it is revealed that Bran befriended a wolf that had been chained up for a long time. He named the wolf Orell, after the old God of War. Orell grew to trust Bran and allowed him in on his very secret world. One of the things that makes Orell special is that he is the only animal that Bran can talk to. Whenever Bran needs advice or help, he turns to Orell and the two of them talk it over. The best example of this comes from the books, where Orell saves Bran’s life by pulling him out of a snowdrift, when he is wandering around the wilderness in search of a god-given magical power. He pulls Bran to safety, but the act causes them both to lose consciousness. When they awake, they find that three of their days had passed.
In the show, it is unclear whether or not the two are actually friends. What we do know is that they have a strong bond. When Ned dies at the end of season seven, it becomes clear that Bran will not be able to go back to Winterfell. However, when he and Brienne of Tarth finally arrive at Riverrun, the Starks are still trying to figure out what to do with him. Sansa, who does not get on well with her brother, Robb, eventually decides to take him in and cares for him. This is when the friendship between the two becomes clear, as they both start calling one another by their surnames instead of their first names.
Bran’s Fears Are Real
When we first meet Bran in Game of Thrones, he is an innocent boy who has just lost his parents and is trying to adjust to his newfound responsibilities. What is interesting about Bran is that, despite his relative lack of experience, he has absolutely no fears. This is in stark contrast to most teenagers, who would probably be terrified of the same situations that make Bran cry.