Winter is coming, but not soon enough. So to help pass the time until season seven of Game of Thrones, we’re doing a weekly re-watch of the series, episode-by-episode, with the knowledge of what’s to come and—therefore—more information about the unrevealed rich history of events that took place long before the story began. Be warned, though: that means this series is full of spoilers for every season, even beyond the episode itself. So if you haven’t watched all of the show yet immediately get on that and then come back and join us for Game of Thrones Re-Throned.
Because the next best thing to watching new episodes is re-watching old ones.
Season 3, Episode 2: “Dark Wings, Dark Words”
Original Air Date: April 7th, 2013
Director: Daniel Minihan
Written by: Vanessa Taylor
“You can’t kill it you know.”
“Because the raven is you.”
The first time we meet Jojen Reed, in season three’s second episode “Dark Wings, Dark Words,” it’s inside of one of Bran Stark‘s green dreams. Bran is walking around with a bow and arrow trying to shoot the Three-Eyed Raven (not the man in the tree version, but the flying bird). He sees Robb and Jon standing beside him, giving him advice like they used to during Bran’s training at Winterfell (aww), and after his shot misses the bird he hears his father’s voice in the trees (double aww). That’s when Jojen walks in and says that the Three-Eyed Raven is Bran himself.
Later in the episode Jojen says that it really was him in the dream with Bran, that they both have the “sight,” which allows them to see through time—past, present, and future. Jojen has already managed to harness his powers, though they are lesser than Bran’s, but Bran is still a long ways away from even understanding what they entail, and that makes Jojen not only a guide to reaching the Three-Eyed Raven, but also a guide, for Bran and for us, about the Three-Eyed Raven.
When Jojen said “the raven is you” it felt more like a metaphor in the moment, that this mysterious bird haunting Bran’s dreams was a symbol of Bran’s journey of self discovery. But now that we’ve actually seen and met the Three-Eyed Raven that lives under the ground north of The Wall, and we saw what Bran’s presence in the past did to a young Hodor (infinite awws), it might have been far more literal.
In his vision Bran called out to his father at the Tower of Joy and young Ned heard something, he reacted to it even though we were told the past is written in ink, which means Bran was always there, always present the day Ned found his dying sister and her son. So if Bran could impact the past, why would he be restrained by the future?
Because when the sight gives you the power to see through all of time and to be a part of it all, it makes time meaningless. And if that’s the case, replacing the Three-Eyed Raven might not be Bran’s future, but his present and his past. It seems possible that the old man in the tree teaching Bran wasn’t someone else, but an older version of Bran himself, always there.
(Note to book readers: This is almost certainly not the case in the novels, since the evidence that the Three-Eyed Crow is Bloodraven, a.k.a. Brynden Rivers, is overwhelming, but it doesn’t mean the questions of time and Bran’s role throughout it won’t be a significant factor there too.)
If it turns out to be the case that Bran was unrestrained by time then, it opens up so many possibilities to others past events he might have influenced. Could the voices the Mad King heard, telling him to “burn them all,” have been Bran whispering back in time, with some world saving endgame in mind? Did he make Jaime Lannister push him out that tower window to put himself on this path of discovery? Has he been protecting Jon Snow in ways we can’t imagine, because Jon is the prince-that-was-promised, the one who will save the world of the living from the army of the dead?
Even if the old man version of the Three-Eyed Raven proves not to be one in the same with Bran, that it’s more of a title like being Pope or governor, what can’t be doubted is that something else Jojen told Bran is certainly true, and might tell us who is the real hope to defeat an enemy that hasn’t been seen in thousands of years. Bran asks Jojen what else he has seen with the sight, and Jojen answers, “The only one thing that matters—you.”
You don’t need three eyes to see how important Bran is to everything.
But what do you think of Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven? We want to see your ideas in the comments below.