Who do we most want to see emerge victorious and seize the Iron Throne? Before Game of Thrones‘ final season, we’re making the case for every worthy candidate still standing, this time looking at Bran Stark.
Years ago, a paralyzed boy traveled beyond the Wall, into the frozen land of wildlings and White Walkers. Against all odds, he returned, though he did not come back the same boy who left. He became something much more: a source of infinite wisdom, memories, and insight who might be mankind’s best hope of survival. While his transformation may have made him a little weird, it might also make him uniquely qualified to take on the incredible task of sitting on the Iron Throne if the army of the dead is defeated. Here’s the case for why Westeros’ Three-Eyed Raven, Bran Stark, should be the one to oversee the Realm.
Qualifications and Experiences
Bran, the second lawful son of Ned Stark, served for a short time as Lord of Winterfell after his older brother Robb left to march on King’s Landing. Bran didn’t enjoy the tediousness of leadership, but he handled it well and listened to the advice of his closest and wisest adviser, Maester Luwin (something not all rulers are willing to do). Bran also ceded the castle to Theon to keep his people safe—a difficult request for a Stark, but a necessary one a more prideful man wouldn’t have heeded. Raised and educated in one of the Realm’s greatest homes, Bran always had a good grasp of the history and complexities faced by the Seven Kingdoms even before he became a sentient encyclopedia of everything that has happened, and is happening.
As the new Three-Eyed Raven, he can traverse time, looking back to the furthest corners of the world to uncover its secrets. His memories are the world’s memories, and he remembers everything. If knowledge is power, his unique skill makes him arguably the most powerful being alive. Bran’s ability to learn how the living defeated the White Walkers during the first Long Night might be the key to winning the Great War for good.
That’s not the only incredible contribution he could make in stopping the Night King though. Bran is maybe the most powerful warg alive, and in a battle that might be decided by dragons, he could be far more important than any dragonrider. He might be able to warg into a dragon!
-Can warg into a wolf
-Can warg into a raven
-Can warg into a Hodor
Bran might not want the title, but as the oldest surviving lawfully born son of Ned Stark, he’s the reigning Lord of Winterfell by right. If Jon were to die, he might also be named the new King in the North, though with Jon bending the knee to Daenerys that title might not exist anymore (again). But the Lords of the North didn’t care to follow Joffrey or Cersei when they named Robb and Jon king, so they could very easily decide to declare Bran their king anyway. Any monarch or heir still standing after the Great War would have a viable claim to rule the entire Seven Kingdoms, which will likely need a monarch more than ever.
The Starks also ruled as Kings of Winter for thousands of years, and that royal blood still runs through Bran. If no one with a blood claim is still standing, history and birthright would make Bran’s as strong as that of anyone else in Westeros.
Lords, Wardens, highborns, and even kings are a dime a dozen, though. Being a mystical time-bending Three-Eyed Raven warg is definitely more impressive. If people ever come to truly understand what Bran has become, forget wanting to name him king, they might view him as a demigod.
The Case Against
A good king doesn’t have to be a man of the people, so long as he is a man for the people. The problem is Bran hardly even qualifies as people anymore. His transformation into the Three-Eyed Raven has made him into something less than human, with only traces of his old life and personality left behind. Think about how he treated poor Meera before she left Winterfell. After everything she did and sacrificed for him, he could hardly conjure up any emotion for their farewell.
For all of the wisdom and knowledge he has, what good would he be if he’s gone full Dr. Manhattan? In fairness, when you can see through time and space, why would you ever care about a land dispute between two minor houses? Why would you have any interest in sitting on an iron chair when you can soar like a bird? It’s understandable, but it doesn’t mean he’d be a good king.
One of the great responsibilities of ruling is dealing with trivial matters you don’t really care about. It requires patience and tact. It seems though that all matters of mankind are now trivial to Bran, and they really will be if the White Walkers are no longer a threat. That’s the only pressing matter he does care about.
“First of Her Name…”
Westeros and its many kingdoms had good rulers and bad rulers for eons, both before and after Aegon unified the Realm. All of those rulers and their petty problems led humanity to this moment, on the brink of annihilation from the White Walkers. Maybe what the world needs instead of another king is someone who is so much more. Maybe it needs a powerful being full of wisdom to save mankind before he guides them to a better life. Plenty of rulers have sat on the Iron Throne, but it might be time for a Three-Eyed Raven to perch on it instead.
That’s why Brandon Stark has earned the right to be the ultimate winner of the game of thrones.