By now, you’ve probably heard the wild theory swirling around the internet that Bran Stark is the Night King.
At first, it seems like just another far-fetched theory – one to write off immediately before getting back to plotting exactly how they’re going to make Cleganebowl happen in Season 8, but more and more details keep trickling out, and suddenly a lot of people are on board – this could really be a thing.
The theory states that Bran wargs back in time into the man who the Children of the Forest turn into the Night King in order to try and convince them not to do it. However, he fails, and gets trapped inside the guy’s body – as the Three-Eyed Raven (the original one) warned him, staying in the past for too long can leave you stuck there.
There are a number of pieces of evidence that are pointing people towards this theory – the first simply being that since the Night King was recast, the two look extremely alike. Look at the picture above and the similarity in their face shapes.
However, a slightly similar face is hardly compelling evidence. What is a little more convincing, however, are their extremely similar fashion choices. Take a look at this GIF below – their clothing is basically identical.
Yet more evidence comes when you look away from the clothes and delve deeper into theory. One redditor, turmoil26, thinks this is actually Bran’s second attempt to travel back in time to stop the White Walkers, with the first being during the reign of the Mad King.
“The first time he travels back in time, Bran tries to prepare the Mad King for the White Walkers and whispers to him to prepare wildfire under King’s Landing, where they will later attack,” they say. “But Bran fails in his task, instead causing the Mad King to go crazy from the whispers (‘burn them all’) and attempt to burn the city to the ground.”
They continue: “The second time, Bran goes even further back in time (as he continiously learn his abilites he is able do go longer and longer back in time) to try discover how the others were defeated the first time. He fail again and instead succeeds to become Bran the Builder, building the Wall and securing his birth by building Winterfell and creating the words ‘There must always be a Stark in Winterfell’.
“The last time, Bran goes back all the way to where the Night King was created, to warg into the human that later is going to become the Night king (or maybe even try to kill the children of the forest). He wargs into him to instead stop the ‘dragonglass into the heart’ event from happening (or maybe in his attempt to kill the Children, he gets chosen as the vessel for the NK). Only he doesn’t think of that the children of the forest won’t recognize him from the future, and that they at that point are in war with the first men (he is gagged because of all the weird future-talk). When he realized he failed again, he tries to go back in the current timeline, but can’t because he’s too deep into the past and stayed to long (‘It is beautiful beneath the sea, stay too long and you drown’). From here Bran gets stuck in the past (exactly as Brynden and Jojen warned him not to) and becomes the Night King. With the combination of the childrens magic and Brans power, he becomes the villain instead of the hero he tried to be, resulting in turning against the children for creating him and getting stuck behind the magical Wall he later builds as Bran the builder.
“Immortal as he is, he waits for himself to be born thousands of years later, knowing when and where he has to be to mark the young Bran, personally kill Brynden Rivers for hiding the truth about what would happen with him, and eventually being able to destroy the wall with a certain dragon. The reason the Night King doesn’t end his misery by killing his younger self, is that he finally learnt the ink is dry, and he would fail again.”
It’s all surprisingly convincing, isn’t it? And in the Season 7 finale, some fans think they spotted yet another piece of evidence. This feels a little more of a stretch, but people are saying that the formation of the Army of the Dead in this bird’s eye shot looks a bit like the head of a direwolf – the sigil of House Stark.
We’ll leave it up to you whether you buy into that particular tidbit, but all-in-all, fuck – Bran is the Night King, right?
It would make sense with the ‘bittersweet’ ending George R. R. Martin has promised for his story. If Jon kills the Night King, he would be killing his brother in the process.
Sadly, we’re probably going to have to wait until 2019 to find out the truth.