Winter has come. The seventh season of Game of Thrones is off and running and with only seven episodes, HBO doesn’t have time to hold our hands and explain things like where characters are, the history of new locations, or how the actions of one character affect the powder keg that is Westeros’ political climate. Luckily, between all of George R.R. Martin’s novels, and The World of Ice and Fire historical tome, there’s plenty of ways to fill in the blanks and we’re here to help. Obviously spoilers and speculation will abound, so proceed at your own peril.
Brandon Stark is dead. That much became clear in the latest episode of Game of Thrones — “The Spoils of War” — in which he deleted his humanity to make room for all of history. What remains is a hollowed out Bran-shaped shell that might as well be the Westeros equivalent of a rogue A.I.
Robo-Bran doesn’t care about much of anything. Sure, people died for him, but human life is but a speck of dust in the infinite cosmos, so who cares? Time is a flat circle, etc. etc. When Petyr Baelish tries to manipulate Bran by handing him the Valyrian steel dagger that almost killed the child years ago, Bran shrugs. He then tosses off the “Chaos is a ladder” line just to mess with Littlefinger. Emo kids of the early aughts wish they were this terrifyingly apathetic. We know that Robo-Bran has seen everything that has ever happened in the history of ever and, armed with the knowledge that he can also affect the past, last night’s episode got me thinking: Did Bran hire the catspaw assassin to attempt to kill Bran in season one?
It’s been a long time, so a quick refresher: In the first season of Game of Thrones, Bran Stark was climbing an “abandoned” tower in Winterfell when he stumbled upon Jaime and Cersei getting it on. In a fit of panic, Jaime tossed Bran from the window. Unfortunately, instead of killing the child, the fall merely put Bran into a coma and paralyzed him from the waist down. Days later, while Catelyn Stark was tending to Bran, an assassin wielding Valyrian steel came into the room to finish what Jaime started. Summer the direwolf put a stop to that. Years later, we still have no idea who sent this catspaw or where he acquired the dagger. At the time of the attempted murder, it seemed likely the Lannisters were to blame but they never came forward to take credit. Littlefinger was always a suspect because he’s Littlefinger and technically the dagger belonged to him, even if he claimed to have lost it to Tyrion Lannister. In the books, it is generally assumed at this point that Joffrey sent the assassin in a misguided attempt to impress his father, Robert (though this is merely conjecture on Tyrion’s part based on overheard conversations).
Now that we’re all caught up, who would want Bran dead that isn’t on that list? The only person I can think of is Robo-Bran. He who used to be Bran is responsible for Hodor’s lifetime of mono-word communication. It’s been hinted that Bran may be responsible for the Mad King’s madness (if Aegon was seeing glimpses of the White Walker, “Burn them all!” takes on new meaning). He has no problem using Sansa’s most traumatizing experience as small talk, and is unperturbed by the number of people who have died for him. It’s not hard to make the jump from that to the Möbius strip that would be Bran created himself by convincing the assassin to attempt to murder him.