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Game Of Thrones: Why King Bran Was Wrong For Westeros

Bran becoming king was wrong, not just for Game of Thrones but because of his detachment from humans & connection to a mysterious group in the books.

Although Game of Thrones ended with Bran of Winterfell becoming the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, that decision may not have been the best, for either Westeros or the show itself. The acclaimed fantasy show was an adaptation of George R.R. Martin's long-standing series, A Song of Ice and Fire. Season 8 of the HBO adaptation was met with a divisive reaction from both critics and audiences alike, with many citing certain story decisions as being rushed and unearned.

In particular, the fate of the Iron Throne drew fans' ire, as the inevitable ruler of the Seven Kingdoms was one whom no one particularly expected. While most audiences expected to see either Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) or Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) sit the Throne, the show pivoted in the penultimate episode, resulting in a shocking turn of events in which Daenerys razed King's Landing to the ground to the horror of everyone in her corner. As a result, the final episode of the show ends with Brandon Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) being voted king by a council of his peers, made up of the lesser lords of the Seven Kingdoms.

Related: Arya's Kill List On Game of Thrones: Who Died & Who She Let Live

While fans were in an uproar, Isaac Hempstead Wright revealed that the decision came from George R.R. Martin himself. This may have been the original ending planned for the books, but Bran's coronation doesn't bode well for the continent of Westeros, and because of the specific nature of why this might work in the books, the reveal unfortunately doesn't pack the same punch in the television show.

The final moments of the show treat Bran's kingship as something that is ultimately for the greater good, despite his eccentric personality and relative detachment from humanity. However, this may not have been originally intended. In the book series, specifically the fifth novel A Dance With Dragons, Bran is introduced to the previous Three-Eyed Crow in order to be trained by him. The show doesn't develop the character with any purpose aside from him becoming Bran's mentor, but the novel goes into specific detail about his condition. The book describes him as old and decrepit, with decaying skin and roots connecting him to a great white weirwood tree. For all intents and purposes, his existence seems to be a tortured one, and there may be a reason for this.

The Three-Eyed Crow was once a human being (all but confirmed to be the Targaryen bastard Bloodraven) with the power of green-sight (prophetic dreams), an ability first displayed by the Children of the Forest. The Children are a mysterious race of humanoid creatures that inhabited Westeros long before the First Men arrived on the continent. They engaged in a long and bloody war with humanity over the fate of Westeros, but as their numbers dwindled, they were forced into a tentative pact with humanity, one that proved useful when the White Walkers began to attack. Since then, they've faded into legend and obscurity, cultivating the Three-Eyed Crow in the ways of their culture in preparation for the resurgence of the Long Night and the arrival of Bran Stark.

However, their intentions may not have been as altruistic as originally assumed. If it can be believed that the Three-Eyed Crow is an agent of the Children, and Bran is now the new Three-Eyed Crow, this means that the Children of the Forest have a living, breathing spy on the Iron Throne. And with Bran's capabilities, including the ability to see across not just the Seven Kingdoms, but time itself, there's no telling what havoc could be potentially wreaked by them in their efforts to reclaim Westeros. It seems as if Bran's crowning has much more sinister implications than originally believed.

Related: Westworld Season 3 Avoided Game Of Thrones Season 8's Mistake

Unfortunately, the problem with the show's decision to end up with Bran as king is that none of this context is filled in by the show's prior seasons. Since the book series ends right around the show's fifth season, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were left without the conclusions of certain storylines. In order to avoid running into a narrative wall of uncertainty, some subplots and characters from the novels were cut from the TV show. This means that a character or subplot that might have seemed unimportant in the micro may have massive repercussions for the ultimate endgame of the books, and therefore, the decision not to include them radically changed the context of the show.

Specifically, dropping the richer context of the connection between the Three-Eyed Crow and Bran's abilities from the show's narrative means losing a lot of the nuance of the ending. Since the show stopped developing Bran's storyline in order to emphasize the characters that the writers believed to be "more important," audiences didn't understand the sudden decision to give the Iron Throne to a character who had essentially become a glorified plot device. It didn't matter that it was apparently the ending that Martin had always planned; the showrunners didn't put in the effort to build to the conclusion naturally, which removes any intricacy from the ending and instead leaves it feeling undeserved and underwhelming.

Since Bran becoming king was a plot point that came directly from George R.R. Martin himself, all he has to do is continue to properly develop Bran's character with this endgame in mind. The idea that Bran becoming king is part of a massive plot by the Children of the Forest is nothing but heightened speculation at this point, but the beauty of Martin's writing is that the lore supports this theory and many others. There's more than enough context provided by the first five books in the series that displays Bran as an intricate and richly developed character, and there's nothing to suggest that this won't be the case for the next two books whenever they're released. Unlike the last two seasons of Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire truly understands the importance of taking time and developing each storyline in a natural and satisfying way, as Martin has clearly and meticulously planned each of them out to be relevant to the novel's inevitable endgame.

More: Game Of Thrones: What Happened To The Red Priestess, Kinvara

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