Tower of the Hand

Bran, First and Last of His Name

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Mar 16, 2020, 8:00 AM ET
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Of the characters who lent their perspectives to the chapters of the very first book, six survived to the final episode of Game of Thrones' final season: three Starks, one Lannister, one Targaryen, and one Snow. Throughout the week we'll be devoting a thread to each of these original protagonists, recalling their humble introductions from the book and asking if the show gave them a proper sendoff.

We begin with Bran Stark: second son of Eddard and Catelyn; Prince of Winterfell; the Three-Eyed Raven; and King of the Six Kingdoms.

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The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer. They set forth at daybreak to see a man beheaded, twenty in all, and Bran rode among them, nervous with excitement. This was the first time he had been deemed old enough to go with his lord father and his brothers to see the king's justice done. It was the ninth year of summer, and the seventh of Bran's life.

AGOT 2: Bran I
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It was not the first time that the throne was vacant without an obvious candidate to its next claimant. As had happened after the deaths of Crown Prince Baelon in 101 AC and King Maekar I in 233 AC, a great council was convened to determine the future king, this time featuring the surviving lords of Westeros, from Winterfell to Dorne. But Tyrion Lannister, who himself served would-be monarchs from all sides of the War of the Five Kings, made the argument that from that point on, great councils would always choose the next king or queen. No longer would the throne be inherited by right of blood or name. Only those who best serve the realm would be selected.

Furthermore, Tyrion had a suggestion for the first benefactor of this new parliamentary procedure:

"What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There's nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it. And who has a better story than Bran the Broken? The boy who fell from a high tower and lived. He knew he'd never walk again, so he learned to fly. He crossed beyond the Wall, a crippled boy, and became the Three-Eyed Raven. He is our memory, the keeper of all our stories. The wars, weddings, births, massacres, famines. Our triumphs, our defeats, our past. Who better to lead us into the future?"

Tyrion Lannister, "The Iron Throne"

Thus Bran Stark went from learning his first lesson about ruling -- the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword -- to becoming the ultimate ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Well, Six Kingdoms. Ironically the first Stark king would not hold domain over the North, having granted Sansa its independence as his first official act.

When asked if he would accept the crown, Bran replied, "Why do you think I came all this way?"

Why indeed. Looking back at Bran's journey from beginning to end, does it make sense that he wound up as king? Were there hints throughout that pointed to this destination, or did it seem that he was destined for something else? Are you satisfied with Bran's arc on Game of Thrones? Lastly, would you want to see Bran meet the same fate in the books?

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