After eight long years, the Iron Throne has finally been claimed — not by a person, but by dragon-fire.
However, moving past the melted slag of what was once Westeros’s highest office, the posterior that will occupy the greatest position of power now belongs to Bran Stark — AKA the Three-Eyed Raven.
Bran (played by Isaac Hempstead Wright) has come a long way since the show began. If the show’s first episode was his “fall,” the finale demonstrated his ultimate rise. Like it or hate it, Bran of House Stark is the winner of the Game of Thrones — ruler of the Six Kingdoms (with the North’s secession).
One of the nice things about revisiting old episodes is how poignant things can feel when viewed with hindsight. With that in mind, here are some of the top Bran moments from the show.
Season One, Episode One: Bran falls to his destiny
If you were introduced to Game of Thrones in the “right proper” sense, it was through this episode. For a while, the show seems like standard medieval drama fare — right until it is revealed that the Lannister brother-sister duo are lovers, courtesy Bran, First of His Name and Spotter of Incest.
Back when Bran had legs, he loved to use them, climbing the ramparts of Winterfell with Assassins Creed levels of skill.
Jaime grabs Bran, threateningly at first, and then in a mellower voice, asks him his age. Bran replies, hesitantly, “ten.” As Jaime looks back at a startled Cersei, who is adamant that nobody finds out about their relationship, Jaime utters the iconic line, “The things I do for love,” and pushes Bran off the ledge.
Given the series of events that transpired since this episode, with hindsight, Jaime Lannister pushed Bran out of the tower and onto the Iron Throne.
Season Three, Episode Nine: Bran gets his Hogwarts acceptance letter
Jojen and Meera Reed were two of the most underrated characters in Westeros. Without them, Bran would never have made it past the wall, nor would he have made it back to Winterfell. More importantly, though, Jojen serves as the Hagrid to Bran’s Harry, being the person to first inform him that he is a Warg — a person who can possess and control other animals.
If that reference goes past you, you might want this refresher-clip from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Once the magic of that moment settles down, watches Bran’s equivalent scene.
Bran levels up significantly, acquiring the abilities of a Warg. From being unable to walk, he is now able to fly by possessing the bodies of whatever animal he sees fit to possess.
Season Four, Episode Five: Bran becomes a bodysnatcher
Both Bran and Jon Snow are beyond the Wall, with Bran and Hodor in chains. The two were within metres of a reunion when the Bolton assassin, Locke, attacks Craster’s Keep. Snow starts to fight and Hodor starts to panic.
Bran then Wargs into Hodor’s body and makes him snap Locke’s neck, in what can only be described as a form of Westerosi drone warfare. The two make their getaway, choosing to delay Bran’s reunion with Jon by four Game of Thrones seasons.
Season Six, Episode Five: Bran travels time to reprogram Hodor
This is dark if you think about it too much. Bran goes memory-shopping with the Three-Eyed-Raven while the White Walkers attack the cave his body is holed up in. As Meera and the Children of the Forest struggle to protect Bran, the latter is checking out old re-runs of Westerosi.
Sensing that their time was limited, the Three-Eyed-Raven decides to back up his files onto Bran, giving the Stark boy the equivalent of a Google search engine for Westerosi history. As Bran gets hooked to the internet, his master is killed by the Night King.
Bran then travels back in time to see a young Hodor living his best life. Back in the present, Hodor is struggling to hold the door to the cave shut while zombies pound on it from the inside. Bran ends up glitching Hodor’s operating system while still in the past, making him a one-word utterer for the rest of his life.
"Hold the door... Hold the door... hod the door...hod dor... Hodor...Hodor."
Thus, in order to get Hodor to hold a door shut for a few minutes of his life, Bran ends up rewriting his entire operating system for his whole life.
Season Seven, Episode Three: Bran creeps Sansa out
After a long and harrowing journey, Sansa is finally reunited with her brother. Since he is higher up in the Stark succession line that she is, she tells him that he is Lord of Winterfell. Given the way that the show ends, Bran’s reply to her does not age very well.
“I can never be Lord of Winterfell. I can never be Lord of anything. I’m the Three-Eyed-Raven.”
He then proceeds to tell her about his ability to see everything — past and present. Including, the night of Sansa’s wedding, and her horrific rape at the hands of Ramsey Bolton. After Bran describes her wedding dress, and understandably freaked-out Sansa walks out of the conversation with a stern “I have to go back inside, Bran.”
Season Seven, Episode Four: Bran forgets how to smile
For about four seasons, Bran had been the exclusive care of Meera and Jojen Reed. Jojen even gave his life for Bran. But once Bran was safe in Winterfell, he did not have much in the way of emotions for their sacrifice. The awkward conversation he had with Meera (right after Littlefinger gives him the dagger that would eventually kill the Night King) speaks volumes to Bran’s new life of monotonous monologues.
Meera: You don’t need me anymore.
Bran: No, I don’t.
Meera: That’s all you’ve got to say?
Bran: Thank you.
Meera: ‘Thank you?’
Bran: “For helping.”
‘My brother died for you. Hodor and Summer died for you. I almost died for you. Bran”
Bran: <Shrugs internally>
Season Eight, Episode Six: Bran gets rotten nickname that sticks
Remember Bran’s quip from Season Seven, Episode Three? About him never becoming Lord of anything?
Well, the Game of Thrones is over and congratulations! Bran is now Lord of Everything. But, despite his official title being King of the (six) Kingdoms, Lord of the Andals, Protector of the Realm, First of his Name — he ends up getting the worst nickname ever: Brandon the Broken.
Bran wins the Game of Thrones. He is not thrilled about it.