In last night’s Season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones, a lot of things happened — as Game of Thrones episodes are wont to do. And while the episode mostly gave us a nice geographic run-down of where everybody is — Arya is traveling to King’s Landing to kill Cersei, Jon and Sansa are still regrouping at Winterfell, and Daenerys has touched down at Dragonstone — one character who didn’t get a lot of air time has still managed to brew up a big theory involving Bran, time travel, and the Night King.
When we encountered Bran Stark last night it was only for a moment, as he and Meera showed up at the gates of the Wall. Bran had a vision of the White Walkers moving towards the south, but, duh, we already knew that. After being suspiciously greeted by Edd Tollett, they were ushered in by the Night’s Watch. So not much new here, and there’s also been nothing to stop the internet from maintaining its new pet theory: that Bran is actually the Night King.
Wait, what? The Night King is marching steadfastly towards Westeros, and Bran is also simultaneously hanging out at the Wall, so how does that make any sense? Time travel, obviously.
The theory in question was posited by Reddit user turm0il26 back in June. The logic goes that since Bran has now discovered his ability to travel to moments that have already happened, he may try to go back in time and stop the White Walkers from ever coming into existence. Remember, he has witnessed the moment the Night King was created.
But things don’t go as Bran has planned, according to turm0il26’s theory:
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. He wargs into him to instead stop the “dragonglass into the heart”-event from happening. 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 wierd 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 to 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.
Social media has picked up on the thread.
There is undoubtably a connection between Bran and the Night King — remember, during one of Bran’s visions the Night King went out and touched him, leading to a whole lot of calamity, death, and running away from the cave. But whether that connection is that the Night King is in some sense drawn to Bran and vice versa because they are the same person seems a little shaky.
For another thing, the idea of actual time travel — as opposed to run-of-the-mill visions — hasn’t really been tested in Game of Thrones, so it seems like a leap and a bound that the show would employ a whole new element in the second-to-last season. Sure, we’ve seen hints that Bran can influence the past, but straight-up warging into someone 1,000 years ago, and then living as them, all the while continuing to exist as Bran is a lot.
It’s probably worth putting this theory aside for a moment, however, as there are more pressing Bran-related concerns to talk about. For one, he’s just entered the Wall, and we know that the Night King has some kind of mystic, icy homing device on him. It’s easy to imagine the White Walkers are now coming straight for Bran and Night’s Watch.