Warning: Major spoilers ahead for “Game of Thrones” season six.
The second episode of “Game of Thrones” spent time with Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright), who fans haven’t seen since season four of the HBO series.
When we last saw him, he had finally reached the Three Eyed Raven, otherwise known as Bloodraven (now played by Max von Sydow), and was about to start his training to become a greenseer, the title given to anyone who can see the future, past, and distant events through “Green Dreams” or by inhabiting weirwood trees.
Now in season six, Bran appears to be nearly a full Greenseer, able to travel back in time with the Three Eyed Raven to see his father Ned Stark, uncle Benjen Stark, and aunt Lyanna Stark when they were all children at Winterfell. He even saw a young Hodor in his vision.
In the books, a Greenseer is able to inhabit the “minds” of weirwood trees, also known as heart trees by the Children of the Forest, much in the same way he can “warg” or inhabit the minds of animals (and Hodor) and see what they see.
“The singers carved eyes into their heart trees to awaken them, and those are the first eyes a new greenseer learns to use … but in time you will see well beyond the trees themselves,” Bloodraven tells Bran in George R.R. Martin’s book “A Dance with Dragons.”
Bran’s ability to travel years, decades, or even centuries into the past is also an exciting prospect that will have a major impact in the series because it will give fans — and Bran — insight into important events that could influence the future of Westeros.
In the book “A Dance with Dragons,” Bran goes into the weirwood at Winterfell and sees not only his father Ned Stark when he was still alive, but a brief history of Winterfell. Some fans have posited that Bran’s visions into the past could help explain some pressing “Game of Thrones” mysteries, including Jon Snow’s true parentage.
Though most of this episode was spent with Bran training with Bloodraven and witnessing seemingly inocuous moments from his father’s childhood, episode three next week promises to show “Bran meet[ing] the past.” Watching the trailer for next weekend, it looks as though Bran will witness some of the events surrounding Robert’s Rebellion, including the most anticipated moments in the show, the Tower of Joy, which is the centerpiece of a fan theory called “R + L = J.”
Bran may eventually see into the future too, though whether or not he’ll be able to use these prophecies to his own or anyone else’s advantage remains to be seen.
“His storyline is pretty damn important,” Wright, who plays Bran, told Entertainment Weekly. “Now he’s realized he’s been having his dreams because he’s got to save Westeros. It’s such a cool storyline now.”
We already know from one of the season six previews that Bran will be having some sort of premonition — “They have no idea what’s going to happen,” he says mysteriously. Will he be able to clue anyone in to what he knows?
Apart from Bran, viewers will be learning more about Bloodraven and his history, too. Through Martin’s Dunk and Egg novellas, fans learned Bloodraven was once known as Lord Brynden Rivers before he journeyed beyond the Wall and became a greenseer.
He has an interesting life story: Born the bastard albino son of a king, Lord Brynden fought in three rebellions, lost an eye, and was known as a sorcerer. He also became Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch before he was “lost” beyond the Wall and became a greenseer with the Children of the Forest.
By the time Bran meets Bloodraven, he is an old, skeletal man on a throne of weirwood tree roots. Here’s the description of him in George R. R. Martin’s book “A Dance with Dragons”:
Seated on his throne of roots in the great cavern, half-corpse and half-tree, Lord Brynden seemed less a man than some ghastly statue made of twisted wood, old bone, and rotted wool. The only thing that looked alive in the pale ruin that was his face was his one red eye, burning like the last coal in a dead fire, surrounded by twisted roots and tatters of leathery white skin hanging off a yellowed skull.
The sight of him still frightened Bran—the weirwood roots snaking in and out of his withered flesh, the mushrooms sprouting from his cheeks, the white wooden worm that grew from the socket where one eye had been.
No matter what, pay attention to Bran as his storyline unfolds since it will likely shed much more light on the “Game of Thrones” world.