Since Bran Stark returned to Game of Thrones in season six and started using his mystical ‘greensight’ abilities to fling himself through time, we’ve been getting all kinds of insights and hints about the past and the future.
In the latest episode, Blood of My Blood, we were shown a huge mash-up of scenes absorbed by Bran in one go. It included glimpses of Aerys Targaryen – AKA the Mad King – being all mad, and of Jaime Lannister earning himself the title of King Slayer by sticking a sword in Aerys’s back.
Whatever else he may have done, Jaime is something of an unsung hero for that act, which saved the people of Kings Landing from mad Aerys’s mad plan to “burn them all” with deadly wildfire (although, from what we saw of the flickering green flames careering down the castle corridors later in the vision, that wildfire may still be put to use at some point in the future, quite possibly by Cersei who in the past has threatened to “burn this house to the ground” when things weren’t gong her way, or even by Littlefinger, of whom Varys once said “he would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes”).
But what first put the idea in Aerys’s head that it would be kind of cool to be the ruler of a big pile of cinders? Could it be Bran himself who made the Mad King mad…?
We don’t know for sure but it seems from the amalgam of scenes running through Bran’s head that he has perhaps made a connection between the deadly properties of wildfire and the fact that the undead army of the White Walkers can only be destroyed with flames.
And it’s recently become clear that Bran is not just an observer during his visions but can influence both people and events. One of those occasions was when a young Nedd Stark apparently heard Bran calling to him outside the Tower of Joy and another was when Hodor, then plain Wylis, heard a command from the future, “Hold the door!“.
So instead of originating from the Mad King, perhaps the words “burn them all” were actually uttered by Bran when he realised he had found a way to tackle the wights, and could then have found their way to Aerys as Bran was flitting from place to place and time to time.
After all, having a disembodied voice whisper instructions in your ear is exactly the kind of thing guaranteed to send you mad…