A Game of Thrones fan theory proposed by a Reddit user/TV genius/possible GOT producer has us questioning everything we thought we knew.
It’s given us that feeling in our belly that comes along very, very rarely, when a work of fiction delivers a twist so profound and perplexing that we’re not sure if we understand everything, or absolutely nothing.
THAT’S RIGHT. STOP READING NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN LAST WEEK’S EPISODE.
Surprise, surprise: it centres on Bran. Let’s be honest – we all knew there was something suss about Bran. From the moment he fell from the tower (which he was specifically told NOT to climb) he set the show’s events into motion.
So last week, in one of Bran’s back-in-time scenes, he watches a fight between his father, Ned Stark, and a legendary knight, Ser Arthur Dayne. Ned appears to be headed towards the tower behind his opponent.
Ned Stark’s younger self was exceptionally cast (he has the same FACE), but that’s beside the point.
Ned Stark as a young man. Pre-beheading, etc etc. Image via HBO.
Bran watches on as his father and Ser Arthur duel, and eventually, a third man stabs Ser Arthur, leaving Ned Stark the victor. While Brynden Rivers (the old tree man) repeatedly tells Bran that they must leave, Bran continues to focus on his father. Ned hears screams coming from the tower, and proceeds to run up the stairs towards it.
Run Ned. Ruuuuuuuuun. Image via HBO.
Bran calls out to his father, and, unlike any other of Bran's scenes set in the past, NED. STARK. TURNS. AROUND.
That's right. Ned HEARD Bran. Or he heard something. Whatever it was, it appears that Bran's presence in the past had an impact.
Redditor NegativeKarmaSniifer thinks this could be particularly meaningful, and might be a clue as to the events to come in Game of Thrones. The theory is as follows:
From S6E3, Bran realizes that others can hear him during the visions from the past, but doesn’t understand that they cannot fully understand him.
He attempts to reason with King Aerys when shown a vision of him.
The King only hears whispers, and is driven mad by it.
Bran tries to fix this, however makes it worse.
Mad King Aerys burns Bran’s grandfather alive while Bran frantically tries to stop him.
All he hears is whispers.
Bran sets the events of the show in motion.
So essentially, the theory holds that Bran sent the Mad King mad. Bran really stands at the crux of the entire plotline. It was Bran's 'meddling' with the Mad King that caused the rebellion. Remember, the Mad King (Aerys Targaryen) was the father of Daenerys Targaryen (AKA Khaleesi).
Yes, Jon. It is very shocking.
Oh, and would you like your mind more blown?
Another Reddit user commented, 'Oh God, not a time travel paradox,' and so of course, I had to do some research into what this meant.
A time travel paradox would refer to the (irresolvable) issue of whether things are the way they are in the Game of Thrones world because Bran meddled in the past, or whether he would even be where he currently is if the events hadn't already happened.
Bran. Always 'meddling'. Amirite?! Image via HBO.
And don't even get me started on the theory that the three eyed raven/Brynden Rivers/the old tree man is actually Bran's future self.
I can't right now. I seriously can't.
I didn't think it could get any more shocking than the moment Jon Snow came back from the dead two weeks ago (thank GOD).
Watch Kit Harrington apologise for his filthy lies to fans:
Of course, some Reddit users aren't so convinced by the latest theory. They cite Brynden Rivers' quote, "The past is already written. The ink is dry." Indeed, he has repeatedly told Bran that he can't alter the past. But he also has that recurring line, telling Bran if he stays too long, he won't be able to leave.
Others point out that Ned's 'response' could have been in Bran's head and not a reaction to hearing a voice.
This is by far the most compelling and intricate Game of Thrones fan theory I've heard. I've thought about it so much my brain hurts. Now it's your turn.