It is safe to say that a lot has changed for Bran Stark and Isaac Hempstead-Wright since the end of Game of Thrones season 4. Once a shaggy haired child crippled, literally and figuratively, with strange visions, Bran Stark was noticeably absent this past year of the HBO flagship drama. But he is coming back for Game of Thrones season 6 in a big way, and with him will likely come amazing world-building secrets.
Indeed, Hempstead-Wright revealed as much when he chatted with Entertainment Weekly for this week’s issue. Now standing tall at over six feet—and with a noticeably cropped haircut—Bran Stark has gone from novice to master of his psychic and warg abilities. The actor compares this transition to the time jump used for Luke Skywalker between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
“And they’re completely right,” Hempstead-Wright said. “I would have just been sitting in a cave going, ‘Oh, I can nearly do it now.’”
But in Game of Thrones season 6, fans will get to see the full power of Bran Stark as he finishes mastering his abilities alongside the Three-Eyed Raven, who has now been cast with the legendary actor Max von Sydow in the role (you should know him for The Seventh Seal, The Exorcist… Star Wars: The Force Awakens [sigh]). This will also include Bran Stark now being able to see visions of both the past and future.
“Previously Bran’s seen tiny glimpses of future or past but never has he been very much in control in the situation,” the actor said. “Now we’re given looks into very important events in the past, present and future of this world and Bran is beginning to piece them together like a detective, almost as if he’s watching the show. Equally, he’s now discovering how crucial he could be in the Great War. It’s quite Inception-y.”
Off the bat, it should be curious to know that the upcoming conflict is being called “the Great War.” Previously, season 2 through season 5 seemed focus on what Westeros deemed “The War of Five Kings” (even if the Southron lords considered it finished long before Stannis’ defeat on the outskirts of Winterfell).
This “Great War” title is most likely seems to be in reference to the impending war between the White Walkers and Westeros, and the living and the dead. We already have received a juicy hint that the White Walkers will return for the Game of Thrones season 6 finale.
Additionally, we can easily deduce that one of the flashbacks Bran will have is to a time when his father Ned Stark was a boy alongside his elder brother Brandon Stark and a young, much more handsome Robert Baratheon. After all, we have a casting call for three boys who match just such descriptions.
But what other visions might Bran Stark have? Certainly, he will glimpse the upcoming White Walker war, but perhaps he might also finally learn what many speculate is the true cause of the original war between the Mad King and Robert Baratheon, as well as the secret behind Jon Snow’s parentage. But that is purely idle speculation on my part for the time being… still it has to come up eventually, right?
And while we have had few flashbacks to date on Game of Thrones (the first was in season 5), Daenerys Targaryen has had visions of the future already when she visited the House of the Undying in Qarth during season 2. In that vision, she saw an abandoned Iron Throne covered in snow. Make of that what you will.
Game of Thrones season 6 returns in April. Below, we have the full image of Bran Stark from it, as well as the season’s first teaser that featured Bran’s latest lesson from Max von Sydow.