As we have known for a while, there will be one major Game of Thrones character who’ll be conspicuously MIA during the upcoming fifth season: Bran Stark, played by Isaac Hempstead-Wright. Showrunner David Benioff recently confirmed Bran's absence, and explained that the young warg will receive his training from the mysterious Three-Eyed Raven and the Children of the Forest off-screen for the whole of season 5, comparing him essentially to Luke Skywalker. Benioff told Entertainment Weekly:
“Like, it would be far less interesting, after The Empire Strikes Back to have an hour-long movie in between Empire and Return of the Jedi where Luke is training,” showrunner David Benioff says. “It’s so much cooler to cut from end of Empire to begging of Return, where he’s become the Jedi.”
Benioff had previously told EW:
“The fact is, even though we’re making changes to the books and adapting as necessary, we’re trying to keep the various storylines the same [as the books] and trying to keep them roughly [chronologically] parallel. And [in season 4] we caught up to the end of Bran’s storyline [in George R.R. Martin’s most recent book, A Dance with Dragons] last year. So if we pushed him forward this season, then he’s way ahead of where the other characters are.”
True that. Besides, there are plenty of awesome characters to follow around where Game of Thrones is concerned, especially with what looks to be a new focus on Dorne and the fallout of what went down with Prince Oberyn Martell last season.
There is, however, the little matter of the show having released Hempstead-Wright from his contract, which is setting off a few alarm bells...that, and the fact that the young actor is visibly getting much, much older than the character he's playing. But Benioff says he expects Hempstead-Wright will return for season 6. “I certainly hope so,” he added. “Unless he goes off to college and decides he doesn’t want to come back.”
What do you think of Bran Stark sitting out this season of Game of Thrones? Is it a wise move to have the character learn all his Jedi mind tricks warg powers off-screen? Do you think Isaac Hempstead-Wright will return?