Warning: spoilers for Game of Thrones though season 6, episode 5 (as well as mentions from the books) follow…
Game of Thrones season 6 is packing each episode with bombs and revelations, taking full advantage of the fact that show watchers and book readers alike are now (for the most part) equally in the dark.
This past Sunday's episode, “The Door,” provided a heartbreaking origin story for Hodor, which revealed that Bran was accidentally responsible for poor Wylis' condition.
If you'll recall, we've been granted visions of the past via the Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven's greensight, which is how we discovered that our beloved Hodor was once a young man named Wylis with full verbal capacity. The question became: WHAT HAPPENED TO HODOR?
Now we know: Bran Stark happened.
During the climactic events of “The Door,” Bran was greenseeing into Hodor's past even as they were under attack in the present. In order to stave off the White Walkers, Bran warged into Hodor to get him fighting. As they made their escape in the present Meera Reed yelled for Hodor to “hold the door, hold the door!” to keep the Walker's at bay. While in the past Wylis seemingly caught a glimpse of Bran, creating a bridge between past and present, or present and future depending upon your perspective.
The events essentially merged the two and melted poor Wylis' brain freezing him in that one crucial moment where he was called upon to hold the door. Hodor.
What's truly revelatory here is that BRAN CHANGED THE PAST. Now, I know we're all going to get into a rabbit hole about the fact that he only did what he'd already done because he's in a causal loop.
Still, the fact remains that the metaphorical door is now open to allow for the possibility that Bran did (and will) — inadvertently or not — spark some of the major events of this series.
Certainly his father, a younger Ned Stark, appeared to be able to hear Bran when he called out to him at the Tower of Joy in episode 3 of this season, “Oathbreaker”.
As a reminder, this was during the scene in which Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven watched Ned fight as a younger man. At which time Bran realized that Ned hadn't won the battle as handily as he'd always believed, and that he couldn't necessarily trust the version of the past that he'd always been told. Bran called to Ned just as he was about to enter the Tower, at which point Ned turned and the Three-Eyed Raven swept Bran back to the present. “That's enough for the day,” indeed.
If Ned was able to hear Bran's cry it may have put him in the mindset of a parent in the crucial moments to come in that Tower…
If you're unfamiliar, the Tower of Joy is (many believe) the birthplace of Jon Snow, who is actually the son of Ned's sister Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen. The theory goes that when Ned discovered his dying sister there she swore him to an oath of secrecy to protect her infant son from Robert, who had ordered the deaths of all Targaryens. So Ned claimed Jon his bastard. If, just moments before, Ned heard the word “father” whispered in his mind, might that not have impacted his decision?
What else might Bran Stark have affected or changed in history?
Before “The Door” aired a fan theory already existed that postulated that Bran had driven King Aerys “mad” by using his greensight to travel to the Targaryen King where he said the words “burn them all, burn them all.”
If the event is anything like what we saw in “The Door,” then Bran may have been once again in two places at once. Perhaps, there was a crisis happening in the present during which he called for someone to “burn them all!” — referring to the White Walkers.
If the Mad King heard that call, he may have become just as obsessed and trapped as poor Wylis. Jamie Lannister confessed that Aerys was repeating “burn them all” when he made the decision to stab him in the back. There is shot in the trailer that could be depicting the death of the Mad King, indicating that we may see the events unfold this season.
In a sense, Bran may be responsible for the circumstances that allowed Robert's Rebellion to succeed, which paved the way for everything we've seen happen to and for the Starks. Was Bran the unwitting architect of the demise of his own family?
He's now tasked with mastering his powers without the benefit of the Three-Eyed Raven's wisdom and experience, so he's bound to make some mistakes. (Not unlike Luke Skywalker whose training was cut short…but I digress.)
Whether that's true or not, Bran traveling to the White Walkers without the Three-Eyed Raven has already had severe consequences, and may have greater repercussions still.
Which brings us to the other notable reveal in Bran's storyline. Clearly, some are able to interact with him while he's using his greensight. As mentioned, Ned appeared to hear him, Wylis seemed to see him, and The Night's King certainly marked him. Which is key, because as a result of that marking the White Walkers were able to breach the magical wards that protected the Raven and the Children of the Forest. The very wards that are also believed to be utilized to keep the Walkers beyond the Wall. If the White Walkers can now pass through them to get to Bran, they can theoretically go wherever he goes — including south of the Wall….
Winter is here.
Side note: Jim Vejvoda points out that Bran was marked in the exact same spot where Jorah's greyscale appears, which is notable given our own Donna Dicken's theory that another zombie army (one comprised of of stone men) is approaching. Check that out here.
Stay tuned for plenty more Game of Thrones nerdom.
Check out our take on Tyrion's ultimate role as the hero of this tale here.
Meanwhile, in the video above and below Roth Cornet, Terri Schwartz, and Jim Vejvoda ask the question: Did Bran ruin everything?
Take a look in the player above or below and chat with us here or on Twitter.