WARNING: Spoilers ahead.
An unexpected victor has emerged in Game of Thrones, and though it promises a snooze fest for Westeros going forward, to the shrewd watcher it should come as no surprise.
Ok, maybe as a bit of a surprise. He wasn’t exactly the sexiest choice for the throne, but it turns out it was a choice that was hiding in plain sight all along.
Without further ado, all hail Bran the Broken, first of his name, ruler of the Six Kingdoms.
Yep, six, because Sansa came good and is Queen in the North and honestly that’s the result I’m here for because Bran has been a total weirdo lately.
That said, he was actually a strong contender for the Iron Throne in the series’ final season, and there were a more than a few clues pointing towards this development.
The most blindingly obvious one was in a conversation that took place in episode four.
1. “I’m not Lord of Winterfell”
In the wake of the battle against the dead, Bran and Tyrion had a little pow wow in which Bran said two very uncomfortable things that also turned out to be whopping clues to him becoming king.
Tyrion tells Bran his limitless knowledge of human history in all its minutia will be helpful when he becomes Lord of Winterfell.
Bran simply relies, “I’m not the Lord of Winterfell”.
We all took this to mean he was too busy being mystic and Three Eyed Raveny, but it turns out he meant he had bigger fish to fry and on reflection it makes sense that all that knowledge might serve a greater purpose than one House in the North.
2. He wants nothing
The other heavy hint in the same conversation was the second blindingly obvious clue to his impending monarchy.
Tyrion asks whether he wants the Winterfell title.
“I don’t really ‘want’ anymore,” Bran replies.
Now, this was a really mood killer in the context of the party but probably the most explicit indication of all time.
Through the season we have heard time and again that he who doesn’t want the crown is generally most fit to wear it. It even formed the basis of Varys and Tyrion’s last conversation.
We thought it was advice dropped for the benefit of Jon Snow, but really nobody fits this bill more than Bran, the biggest buzzkill in all the seven, sorry six, kingdoms.
Somebody with no personal desires, the wealth of human history and the gift of foresight?
Really there couldn’t be a better - albeit more boring - candidate.
Given the series is now over and we don’t have to actually witness Bran’s yawn-inducing reign, it’s the perfect move for Westeros.
3. He kicked off the whole thing
As we all know the hit TV series is based off the book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.
The series are told from the point of view of a different character every chapter, and who narrates the very first chapter?
You guessed it, Bran.
Similarly in the show, the very first episode closes with Bran falling out of a window and he survives.
If Game of Thrones has been consistent on any point it’s that no one survives without a reason.
Given Bran, a seeming bit-player, survived such a high fall at such a pinnacle moment as the series got under way, we should always have known he had a bigger role to play.
4. He was bound to do something
Bran had one of the most intensive character arcs in the series.
He spent the majority of the show traipsing around north of the wall, he became the Three Eyed Raven, he stared into the face of the Night King and was his number one target.
In light of this, he didn’t really do much when it came time for the show’s final season.
He didn’t appear to save any lives in the Battle of Winterfell, he was absent when Daenerys threw that impromptu BBQ at King’s Landing, and he just kind of moped in the background and made everyone feel uncomfortable.
We all knew he was built up for something, and on reflection it makes perfect sense that he was biding his time to sit on the Iron Throne as the ultimate impartial ruler.
5. The bookies called it
Believe it or not Bran was a favourite contender on betting sites for a while.
USA Today Sports reported that Bran was a number one contender among Vegas bookmakers, and he’s been the favourite on Sportsbet for at least 6 months.
Looks like some, at least, won’t be surprised.
Really, none of us should be had we been paying closer attention.
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