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Does Bran Stark Walk Again?

Updated on May 20, 2013

Bran Stark

Bran Stark as portrayed by Isaac Hempstead-Wright in the TV version of Game of Thrones
Bran Stark as portrayed by Isaac Hempstead-Wright in the TV version of Game of Thrones

Spoiler Alert

As has become custom, it’s only fair that I begin this hub with a warning as to its content- we will be discussing plot points and character development that will spoil this excellent collection of books for you if you have only read the first couple.

Who is Bran Stark?

Brandon Stark is a character in George R R Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books. The second youngest son of Ned Stark of Winterfell, Bran is a contemplative and quiet child. When we first meet him he is in awe of his older brothers and the family’s ward, competitive with his sister Ayra and desperate to grow into a fierce-some knight or Lord. Bran is something of a loner and spends a great deal of his time climbing the walls of the rambling walls and turrets of the Stark seat Winterfell. During the state visit of King Robert Barratheon it is this near compulsive climbing which is nearly the cause of Bran Stark’s demise. While climbing the walls of the castle, Bran accidentally chances upon a lustful meeting between Queen Cersei and her twin brother Jaime Lannister, leader of the Kingsguard. In order to keep their secret incest quiet and to protect the name and position of his sister, Jaime pushes Bran from a window such that he falls a considerable distance.

What Happens to Bran Stark?

When Bran finally awakes we learn that he is disabled from the waist down. As might be expected this has a pronounced impact on the character of the boy and his position within the cycle of novels. As civil war blows up across Westeros and his family are dispatched to its four corners and embroiled in various adventures, Bran is kept within the confines of Winterfell for the majority of the first few novels. With few other people for company, Bran’s companions consist mainly of Winterfell’s Maester, Luwin, Osha, a wildling from the North, and Hodor, a simple servant of Winterfell who takes to carrying Bran around in a wicker basket on his back.

As the civil war escalates, however, Winterfell itself becomes embroiled in the fighting and falls first to the treachery of Theon Greyjoy then to the evil of Ramsay Bolton. In the midst of this murderous turmoil, as the heirs to Winterfell, Bran Stark and his younger brother Rickon are spirited from the castle and taken to the North. Assisted by Meera Reed and her bother Jojen who are the children of Ned Stark’s Crannogman bannerman, Howland Reed, Bran and Hodor are taken far beyond the wall into the wild north of the land, while Osha takes Rickon to the the island of Skagos.

Bran and Hodor

Loyal Winterfell servant Hodor became Bran's surrogate legs after his accident.
Loyal Winterfell servant Hodor became Bran's surrogate legs after his accident.

Will Bran Stark Walk Again?

While in the North, Bran meets a true greenseer, and learns his craft. Appearing in his dreams as a three-eyed crow, this creature has been calling Bran northwards all the way through the Ice and Fire novels. He is found ensconced in cave with the ancient people of the North, the Children of the Forest. Through the teachings of the Last GreenSeer Bran is able to look into the past through the faces of Weirwood trees across Westeros. Through this mechanism GRRM is able to begin filling in some of the gaps in the epic, sprawling Westerosi backstory.

Bran Stark the Warg

Through a mysterious innate ability, Bran Stark is able to occupy the minds of other creatures. Initially he does this with his direwolf, Summer. Like all the Stark children Bran has an affinity with his direwolf that allows him some mysterious connection with the beast. Unlike his siblings, Bran is able directly to control the direwolf and occupy its brain, and he is eventually also able to do this with other animals and even people, including Hodor. Through this warg ability, Bran is able to be mobile once more- in some respects you might argue that this is Bran Stark walking again. However, his own body remains a crippled and wasting shell. The more time Bran spends underground with the Last GreenSeer, the more the reader begins to expect him to waste and atrophy as his teacher has done- his physical self reduced to a shattered waste while his mind is free to roam the entire nation unencumbered.

In this sense, it could be said that Bran Stark will walk again, however at this stage in GRRM’s cycle of novels it seems unlikely that he will physically manage the feat once more.

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      Anonymous 3 years ago

      I love how he never answered the question of "Will he ever walk again?"...