Writing With Fizzle: Bran

(GoT – Spoilers)

To be honest, Bran was never a well-written character. He started out as a McGuffin from the moment Jamie Lannister says ‘the things we do for love!’ and pushes him out the window. He continues to be a McGuffin while comatose.

When he wakes up, he moves to the next phase of his arc, which is to become Super McGuffin. The fact that his character is disabled automatically makes this an even clumsier writing choice. Bran doesn’t get to be a fully realized, human character… ever. The most human and memorable part of Bran’s story – is Hodor, another disabled individual, who has his entire life altered and then sacrificed to save the McGuffin.

Bran, now the repository of human knowledge and memory, is then used to deliver exposition, which is somehow even more awkward than the show’s earlier tendency towards sexposition. He’s basically a block of wood in a wooden chair when not revealing important plot details.

And then, inexplicably – they make him king. To be honest, this conclusion felt like Benioff and Weiss sucking their own dicks and then congratulating themselves on being fantastic storytellers. Clearly, the most important thing about ruling a nation full of constantly squabbling noble houses is the ability to remember and tell stories! Oh, and not wanting to be a ruler.

That’s not how this works, dudes. That’s not how any of this works.

Anyway, back to Bran.

Here’s what they could have done: make Bran an actual human being. Let him be angry, and petulant, passionate and earnest. Have him driven to find a way to regain some mobility – he was a curious child that loved to explore and learn, let that be something he retains and takes forward. His efforts might not be the most efficient, but he does find ways to craft his own conveyance. He and Hodor become friends, and Bran genuinely cares about Hodor’s well-being and looks out for him as much as Hodor looks out for Bran.

Bran is being called by some mysterious power, which ignites his curiosity and desire to learn. He meets Meera and her brother, and they begin an epic journey to the north to uncover the power calling to Bran. He and Meera fall in love. Bran is a normal human being with normal human desires, dealing with a challenge that leaves him weak and frustrated, but he’s still finding a way to experience life and LIVE.

And then he finds the power that called to him, becomes the Three Eyed Raven, and the boy known as Bran undergoes a transformation that may as well be death. Bran Stark is gone, just another life in an an endless parade of lives, just one tiny, insignificant story lost among all the rest. There’s no more anger, no more passion, no more earnest desire to gain some control over his own fate – no more love. To the handful of people to whom Bran was a fully realized human being, this transformation is devastating.

Bran Stark would never have sacrificed his friend Hodor, but the Three Eyed Raven does. Bran Stark would never have sacrificed Meera, but the Three Eyed Raven does. The Three Eyed Raven will sacrifice anyone for the greater good.

The Three Eyed Raven knows that it can’t be king, and that the suggestion is a foolish one. It turns down Tyrion’s silly suggestion. A ruler that doesn’t want to rule will shirk their duty. You need someone smart, and clever, that knows running a kingdom requires efficient bureaucracy. Someone that doesn’t go out of their way to indulge personal vice. Someone that understands good diplomacy saves lives.

The Three Eyed Raven suggests Sansa become the ruler of Westeros. She is, after all, the only one truly suited for the job at the moment.

The Three Eyed Raven returns to the north. The North remembers.

(There would still be issues with this version of a story – you’d still be taking a disabled character and essentially axing them and making them a McGuffin, but at least he’d have been an actual character for a period of time.)

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