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SiSt

Bran, time travelling body snatcher?

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Posted (edited)

Bran, the time travelling body snatcher?

Disclaimer: I´m no fan of time travel, and I hope this is not how things are going to turn out, but it does fit quite a few things in the text IMO.

A little background:

We know Bran has a special connection to the Winterfell godswood and heart tree. It´s a place of comfort for him. We also know that he´s more familiar with Winterfell than possibly any other character, knows the rocks, the gargoyles, a secret passage inside the walls etc. He also has a special relationship with the birds, particularly the ravens.

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He liked how it felt too, pulling himself up a wall stone by stone, fingers and toes digging hard into the small crevices between. He always took off his boots and went barefoot when he climbed; it made him feel as if he had four hands instead of two. He liked the deep, sweet ache it left in the muscles afterward. He liked the way the air tasted way up high, sweet and cold as a winter peach. He liked the birds: the crows in the broken tower, the tiny little sparrows that nested in cracks between the stones, the ancient owl that slept in the dusty loft above the old armory. Bran knew them all.

Most of all, he liked going places that no one else could go, and seeing the grey sprawl of Winterfell in a way that no one else ever saw it. It made the whole castle Bran's secret place.

 

The first bolded part has always evoked images of roots digging into the ground and in cracks in rocks to me. Tree imagery and an equation of what he´s doing to what trees do. The second bolded part is evoking a birds-eye-view, or a spirit view of the castle, seeing as no one else can. There are many more relevant quotes to pull out, but I feel the connection of Bran to Winterfell, the godswood and the heart tree is well established and non-controversial, so I´ll skip that part.

Fast forward to Bloodraven´s cave.

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"A … crow?" The pale lord's voice was dry. His lips moved slowly, as if they had forgotten how to form words. "Once, aye. Black of garb and black of blood." The clothes he wore were rotten and faded, spotted with moss and eaten through with worms, but once they had been black. "I have been many things, Bran. Now I am as you see me, and now you will understand why I could not come to you … except in dreams. I have watched you for a long time, watched you with a thousand eyes and one. I saw your birth, and that of your lord father before you. I saw your first step, heard your first word, was part of your first dream. I was watching when you fell. And now you are come to me at last, Brandon Stark, though the hour is late."

"I'm here," Bran said, "only I'm broken. Will you … will you fix me … my legs, I mean?"

 

I hardly think BR is looking at every birth in the seven kingdoms, so he knew where to look, specifically to Winterfell and the Starks. We know from Jon´s POV that wargs can recognize each other immediately, so having BR immediately see that Bran is a greenseer is not much of a stretch. Once seen, BR kept following Bran, in his dreams etc, being the most invasive peeping Tom ever, but for a good reason. 

I think BR knew where to look. That he knew there would be a Stark born as a greenseer destined to become instrumental in the fight against the others. How could he know? There´s of course the whole "weirwoods live outside the stream of time"-thing, but it seems predictive prophecy is a very hazy and difficult subject. Very few (if any) interpret it correctly, the hints are very vague, and the more spceific ones such as the danger to Jon seen by Mel at the wall are not really predictions at all, but read the general vibe of danger to his person, not his imminent death by betrayal.

There´s also Jojen, and his knowledge of where he has to take Bran, as well as the predictions he makes for the people of Winterfell following the attack by Theon and the Ironborn. Jojen is correct, so we see that predictions in which Bran is personally involved are indeed correct. Both Jojen and BR are hooked up to the Weirwoodnet, which is the important part here. This will make sense in the end. Off the top of my head I can´t think of any predictive prophecy that has come true, except the ones in Bran´s timeline. Open for suggestions here.

Time travel:

We know that Bran can travel in time, and more importantly, he can affect the past. At least through the Winterfell heart tree.

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… but then somehow he was back at Winterfell again, in the godswood looking down upon his father. Lord Eddard seemed much younger this time. His hair was brown, with no hint of grey in it, his head bowed. "… let them grow up close as brothers, with only love between them," he prayed, "and let my lady wife find it in her heart to forgive …"

"Father." Bran's voice was a whisper in the wind, a rustle in the leaves. "Father, it's me. It's Bran. Brandon."

Eddard Stark lifted his head and looked long at the weirwood, frowning, but he did not speak. He cannot see me, Bran realized, despairing. He wanted to reach out and touch him, but all that he could do was watch and listen. I am in the tree. I am inside the heart tree, looking out of its red eyes, but the weirwood cannot talk, so I can't.

 

I take this as Bran affecting the past. He interrupts Ned mid-sentence, and the text flat out says he whispers on the wind, rustles the leaves. The amount of stuff he can do at this point is irrelevant, he´s actually affecting the past, no matter how slightly. More importantly, this is the first time he tries, so he´ll likely get better at it in time. We know from Theon in his last Winterfell POVs that the heart tree is changing its expression from time to time, so Bran is certainly getting better at manipulating the present.

There´s also BR saying that changing the past is impossible, as people can´t hear him, BR is limited by his own ability, and Bran has another advantage that BR lacks IMO:

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"But," said Bran, "he heard me."

"He heard a whisper on the wind, a rustling amongst the leaves. You cannot speak to him, try as you might. I know. I have my own ghosts, Bran. A brother that I loved, a brother that I hated, a woman I desired. Through the trees, I see them still, but no word of mine has ever reached them. The past remains the past. We can learn from it, but we cannot change it."

 

As argued above, Ned can hear Bran, even on his first try. You might say that this is "just" due to Bran being a more powerful greenseer, and that may be right, but I believe there may be another explanation.

Bran is also, as we know, a very powerful skinchanger. He regularly changes into Hodor and goes along with Meera and Jojen. This is of course an abomination, but Bran is just a kid and has no training, so he can´t really be faulted too much for this. It does demonstrate that he´s powerful, even without training. He does have a special bond to Hodor, and Hodor is "weak minded", but it still speaks to ability IMO. Also, Bran is getting increasingly casual about this, and his powers are growing rapidly. Without restraint, he will keep pushing the envelope.

Now to the crux:

 

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Then, as he watched, a bearded man forced a captive down onto his knees before the heart tree. A white-haired woman stepped toward them through a drift of dark red leaves, a bronze sickle in her hand.

"No," said Bran, "no, don't," but they could not hear him, no more than his father had. The woman grabbed the captive by the hair, hooked the sickle round his throat, and slashed. And through the mist of centuries the broken boy could only watch as the man's feet drummed against the earth … but as his life flowed out of him in a red tide, Brandon Stark could taste the blood.

The wording in the above quote is highly ambiguous. Especially in the last part. The broken boy, the man, Brandon Stark, who´s POV is this, really, who is the one tasting the blood? My suggestion here is that it´s all three, as they´re the same person.

Bear with me, timeline below:

Bran is born, lives through the five books, ends up north in the cave.

At some point in his own future, Bran has to intervene in the past for some reason, and ends up skinchanging into a person in the past. At that point he´s caught and can´t skinchange back out, ref Varamyr, Bran´s not dead, but he won´t be born in another few thousand years, so there´s no way back to the future. All the separate elements here are shown in the text. Spiritual time travel, skinchanging and affecting the past have all happened already. This just turns it up to eleven.

Bran then heads to Winterfell, where he likely help in the construction (edit: not saying he's Bran the builder, he only has to be around in time for the first sacrifice to the heart tree), but either willingly or not ends up being sacrificed to the Winterfell heart tree in the ritual we witnessed, giving the tree its face. His blood and spirit goes into the tree, making his memories of the future accessible to the weirnet.

This explains a lot of things. Brans affinity with the heart tree, godswood and Winterfell. BR and Jojen being able to accurately predict Brans future, and various events Bran witness first hand. Coldhands saving Sam and Gilly at just the right moment, and getting Bran through the Black Gate with their help. It also gives a possible explanation to how Bran is extra powerful through the Winterfell heart tree, and can affect the past through it, since he was/is already in the tree (the skinchanging part has to happen earlier than this, I know, possible major roadblock).

Bran is the Stark in Winterfell. He´s been in the tree since it was founded, and will remain there forever.

Edited by SiSt
Clarity

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Posted (edited)

I do think Bran ends up staying in Winterfell's godswood regardless of what happens to Winterfell, as the TEC. "The North remembers" I think is supposed to relate to that, but the North has forgotten or chosen to forget at some point, and I assume that by the end of the story Bran will be the one remembering, and existing a bit as a living book, so that the north may remember. But who knows, it can go so many ways.

The idea that Bran has repeatedly skinchanged into people in the past and gotten stuck there, causing multiple Brans to exist at different points in history if not at the same time is interesting though, even if maddening.

Edited by NonoNono

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Posted (edited)

Yeah, I'm not arguing multiples, just the one time. Multiples would be too fanciful for the story, I think, and completely unnecessary in order to explain the many Brandons. 

Edit: If there are older threads discussing these things that anyone knows, please let me know. I found nothing through a quick search, but I have no illusions as to this being an original idea. 

Edited by SiSt

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Brandon the Builder is Brandon the Broken going back in time?

Gods old and new and red, no! This isn’t the show.

 

Bran is Brandon the Builder who warged into Bran but has warged around for so many life’s there’s not much left of him? 

Now this is some cracked pot theory with tin foil all around it to prevent the holes from leaking the good old Bookworthy stuff! 

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Brandon the Builder is Brandon the Broken going back in time?

Gods old and new and red, no! This isn’t the show.

 

Bran is Brandon the Builder who warged into Bran but has warged around for so many life’s there’s not much left of him? 

Now this is some cracked pot theory with tin foil all around it to prevent the holes from leaking the good old Bookworthy stuff! 

 

 

 

Uhm, no, that's not really what's being put forward, but have it your own way of you like. 

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19 hours ago, SiSt said:

I take this as Bran affecting the past. He interrupts Ned mid-sentence, and the text flat out says he whispers on the wind, rustles the leaves.

The whisper on the wind and the rustle in the leaves is highly poetic. The fact that the three-eyed crow uses this same wording later makes it clear.

Bran doesn't interrupt Ned. Ned finishes his prayer and looks up when he hears the wind and the leaves thinking it is the gods answering his prayers. It could be that Bran made the wind blow or it could be that the wind happened to blow and Bran thought he made it happen.

If greenseers could look back in time and make the wind blow, godswoods would be very windy places.

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5 minutes ago, Syl of Syl said:

The whisper on the wind and the rustle in the leaves is highly poetic. The fact that the three-eyed crow uses this same wording later makes it clear.

Bran doesn't interrupt Ned. Ned finishes his prayer and looks up when he hears the wind and the leaves thinking it is the gods answering his prayers. It could be that Bran made the wind blow or it could be that the wind happened to blow and Bran thought he made it happen.

If greenseers could look back in time and make the wind blow, godswoods would be very windy places.

That may definitely be the correct interpretation. 

I'm not arguing that this is something every greenseer can or could do, not that they could do it from any heart tree, only that Bran possibly can from the heart tree in Winterfell. 

I'm not trying to be definitive here, merely offering one possibility through mechanisms already (arguably) in the text. 

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Bran can see the past but he can't go there physically.  He does this maybe through the weirwood trees.  The trees have long lives and the faces carved on the trunks can see.  What they saw stays in their memory.  Bran is one with the trees and can decipher the memory.  

Reincarnation can make it possible for Bran to be the Brandon the Builder.  His soul gets reincarnated again and again.  Jon was the Nightsking and Arya was his corpse bride.

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1 hour ago, Unit A2 said:

Bran can see the past but he can't go there physically.  He does this maybe through the weirwood trees.  The trees have long lives and the faces carved on the trunks can see.  What they saw stays in their memory.  Bran is one with the trees and can decipher the memory.  

Reincarnation can make it possible for Bran to be the Brandon the Builder.  His soul gets reincarnated again and again.  Jon was the Nightsking and Arya was his corpse bride.

Not arguing physical time travel, merely a  potentially spiritual one. 

He can spiritually observe the past, and arguably affect the past (depending on your interpretation of his vision of Ned). He can skinchange into humans, ref Hodor. 

The question is whether his spirit can jump out of the weirwoodnet. BR argues he'll be able to see beyond the eyes of the trees in time, which is basically spiritually leaving the www.

Could he then inhabit a body in the past? This would be a one - way street imo, as it's laid out by Varamyr. 

Possibly, he reaches out to stop one of his ancestors being killed, gets stuck in the body of that person and eventually sacrificed to the Winterfell heart tree for threatening the life of the lord of WF. 

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Posted (edited)

I think there's considerable merit in your theory. If the show can only address the points in the most superficial manner, at least when Bran meets Jamie he will understand that Jamie was merely an agent in that Bran's fall was predetermined.

But yes, Bran is 'one with' the WF heart tree, which is maybe a nerve centre of the weirwoodnet.  Interesting how it was untouched when Ramsey burnt down WF. Bran has done a couple of things that Greenseers are not supposed to do - warging into Hodor, and actually affecting the past rather than just being aware of it. This makes his potential Greenseer power unprecedented. But there's something else. He was present at another weirwood - the one where the NK was created, and was touched by the NK. I don't think he can 'see' outside the weirwoodnet or warg into someone from the past, no. For some reason, I've got this hazy notion that Jon is going to be re-killed and resurrected as an undead, and that Bran is going to somehow warg into him to fight and defeat the NK.

Edited by House Cambodia

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Thanks!

I'm keeping this books-only, as the show has gone way off from the source material. 

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