Game of Thrones has had more than its fair share of convincing fan theories about what’s next for its huge cast of characters, from the proven (R+L does equal J), to the likely (Cleganebowl is coming, get hype) to the almost definitely untrue (Varys is not a merman).
And falling somewhere between these three camps? The ever-popular theory that White Walker leader the Night King and psychic Stark son Bran are somehow the same character, an idea that first emerged when fans noted the similar facial structure and dress sense of the two characters.
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Since then the idea has snowballed, with one of the most popular theories involving Bran using his Three-Eyed Raven abilities to either accidentally create the mystical White Walker boss or become him (possibly through a combination of Bran’s abilities to look into the past and possess, or warg, the people there).
However, for actor Isaac Hempstead Wright, who’s played Bran since the very first episode, the continued focus on the theory is becoming intolerable.
“Whenever I post anything on Instagram I just have a barrage of comments going ‘Night King! Hello Night King! You are Night King! Hello the Night King!’” Wright groaned when we broached the topic, telling RadioTimes.com that the ‘Bran is the Night King’ theory had become the bane of his life.
“I mean I suppose Bran is quite an interesting character to theorise over because of his whole link to time travel and whatnot. Because you can kind of get away with anything theory-wise and make it sound convincing if you’ve got time travel involved.”
Despite that, though, Wright said he found the idea of the characters being one and the same “cheesy,” telling us it lacked dramatic heft compared to other character revelations in the series (like Jon Snow’s true parentage).
“I mean it’s quite an interesting theory, the Night King one,” he mused. “I just think it seems a bit obvious. A bit cheesy.”
Of course, proponents of the theory are unlikely to be put off by these words, especially when they may have been given new evidence hinting at its validity in the promo campaign for the series.
Specifically, many have noted that in one of the specially-filmed teasers for the series (not the new trailer), all the Starks are reunited in the family crypt where they find their own stone memorials, before the walls begin to freeze around them.
However, Bran is nowhere to be seen.
Since then, some have wondered whether this is a clue about Bran and the Night King’s connection – maybe he was there, but approaching as the enemy? – but Wright said he’s not even sure himself why he wasn’t involved in the promo.
“Yeah, I don’t know what the f*** that’s about!” Wright laughed. “I actually don’t know why I’m not in that.
“We were looking at it and I was like, ‘Why am I not in this? All the other Starks are in it.’ So I dunno – ask my agent. Get a look in there.”
Still, whether Bran ends up as a White Walker or just a creepy little brother, Wright says he’s “definitely” happy with how season eight’s storyline leaves his character in his final episode – and looking back over the years, it’s been quite a journey.
“I think Bran has got one of the most extraordinary character arcs of anyone in the entire show, I would argue,” he told RadioTimes.com.
“When [series showrunners] Dave and Dan gave their little goodbye speech at the end of production, they said that moment, that cliffhanger where they pushed 10-year-old Bran out of the window [in the very first episode] kind of sets the bar for what Game of Thrones was.
“That is the moment we knew we had a hit show,” he continued. “So absolutely, a really incredible thing to be a part of that kind of moment, that also sets off so many of the dominoes that are still, I think, falling in season eight…”
And who knows? If the theory IS true, maybe we’ll get to see the Night Bran throw Jaime Lannister out of a window this year in revenge. That’d almost be worth all the Instagram grief.
The final series of Game of Thrones will air on the 15th April at 2am and 9pm on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV