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During last night's series finale to Game of Thrones, audiences learned that Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) was not useless after all, but actually destined to play a key role in the future of Westeros.
WARNING! The following contains major plot spoilers for the Game of Thrones series finale episode, "The Iron Throne."
That may not excuse his behavior during the Battle of Winterfell, but it did feel oddly fitting as Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) declared him "Bran the Broken," a Giver-esque individual who acts as the keeper of Westeros' past, present, and future. Now he's the King of the Seven Six Kingdoms. Unlike his onscreen counterpart, however, the actor who plays Bran initially couldn't believe that his character would end up on top.
“When I got to the [Dragonpit scene] in the last episode and they’re like, ‘What about Bran?’ I had to get up and pace around the room,” Hempstead-Wright told EW. "I genuinely thought it was a joke script and that [showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] sent to everyone a script with their own character ends up on the Iron Throne. ‘Yeah, good one, guys. Oh s—, it’s actually real?’"
While the finale was titled "The Iron Throne," no one ended up sitting on it, as Drogon decided to melt it down to nothing after the death of Dany (Emilia Clarke). The destruction of this essential plot device was the final nail in the coffin for the power struggles of Westeros, as everything settles into a new groove, especially with the North becoming its own kingdom and the line of succession no longer relying on birth. Things are definitely going to be different now with a ruler who's basically a robot.
“I think he’ll be a really good king actually,” Hempstead-Wright added about Bran's new role in King's Landing. “Perhaps there will be something missing in having real emotive leader, which is a useful quality in a king or queen as well. At the same time, you can’t really argue with Bran. He’s like, ‘No, I know everything.’”
The actor's only regret (much like Nathalie Emmanuel's qualms about her character's exit) is that he didn't get a dope action sequence where he went out in style.
"I kind of did want to die and get in one good death scene with an exploding head or something," he said.
But hey, Protector of the Realm ain't too shabby either, right? In a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, Hempstead-Wright reflected on the amazing path Bran has taken over all eight seasons and what it means for people in our world, people who may feel like they don't matter just because they're quiet or seemingly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.
"I find it an extraordinary character arc to see him go from a vulnerable character totally dependent on others to the one person who holds all the keys to understanding the world," wrote the actor. "Bran becoming king is a victory for the still and considered people of this world, who too often get sidelined by the commotion of those who are louder and more reactionary. He doesn't shout to make himself heard, but instead waits and chooses his words and actions very carefully. In that, I think Bran presents a valuable reminder to us all in this day and age where sensationalism is rife and anybody can voice an opinion to millions, to sit and consider things a little more carefully."