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Game of Thrones' Bran Stark reveals if book ending will match the TV twist

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May 30, 2019

One of the stranger revelations from the final episode of Game of Thrones was when Bran Stark, renamed Bran the Broken, was named king of Westeros and its six remaining kingdoms.  

While Bran, played by Isaac Hempstead Wright, wasn't the kind of character anyone actively rooted against, he wasn't exactly driving the narrative the first four seasons. After sitting out Season 5 entirely, he returned in Season 6, and the show went all-in on his transition from Westerosi refugee to the all-knowing, all-seeing, no-feeling Three-Eyed Raven.

However, his newfound omniscience didn't exactly factor into the show's final season in any substantial way. This led some to speculate that George R.R. Martin's book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, which Game of Thrones was based on, would end differently for him. 

Speaking with Making Game of Thrones, Wright said that Bran's ending will be the same one he gets when the book series eventually wraps up. 

"David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] told me there were two things George R.R. Martin had planned for Bran, and that was the Hodor revelation, and that he would be king," Wright explained. "So that’s pretty special to be directly involved in something that is part of George’s vision."

The day after the finale aired on HBO, Martin wrote a post titled "An Ending" on his Not A Blog site that brought up this very issue. When he addressed if the books will end differently, he said, quite succinctly, "Well… yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes."

The author did elaborate, explaining that writing books is a very different medium than a TV series, especially one as monstrously popular (and logistically complicated) as Game of Thrones. He went on to point out that "the butterfly effect will be at work," before mentioning several characters who are either still alive in the books or never made it to the screen at all, who each have their own unique impact on the larger story.

Also worth noting that Martin has become notorious for really taking his time with the last two books in the series, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring — so much so that he even assigned himself an arbitrary deadline to appease fans. He's also guessed that the two books will total 3,000 pages between them, and clarified that, "if more pages and chapters and scenes are needed, I’ll add them."

So, while Bran is still likely to end up as an emotionless, withdrawn, warg-happy king, it's possible that there will be more context in Martin's books that could help make better sense of his character's arc. If that is the case, it could help reframe Bran's newfound kingship as a natural progression of the story, instead of prompting reactions like, "What? Bran? Really? Okay..."

Of course, even if Martin makes his 2020 deadline for The Winds of Winter, we can count on another few years (at least) before A Dream of Spring brings things to a definitive close. 


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