The season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones was full of great moments that set the table for the season and gave us an idea of who will be facing off in the wars to come. There weren’t any huge revelations and there are still plenty of questions in need of answers. Many characters seem to have a somewhat clear arc based on clues we’ve seen and traditional story structure. But Brandon Stark is a wildcard.
Last season’s reveal of the extent of Bran’s greenseeing abilities was a gamechanger. The ability to look into and potentially influence the past opens up a ton of interesting possibilities. Bran has already seen the truth of Jon’s parentage but there are many more historical mysteries his powers could bring clarity to.
George R. R. Martin recently quashed rumors and hopes of a Robert’s Rebellion prequel series. His reasoning is that when the books are finished, we will know every important thing that happened during that time period and thus such a prequel would be lacking in any surprises or revelations. But just because we aren’t getting a prequel doesn’t mean that we won’t see some of these events via Bran.
In the Game of Thrones season 7 premiere, Bran seemed to be using his power to do reconnaissance on the army of the dead. Some of that recon could also involve going into and learning from the past to fight for the future.
So here are some possible events and time periods Bran could travel to in Game of Thrones season 7.
The Tourney at Harrenhal
This was in many ways the event that precipitated a civil war that cast the realm into chaos and war and overthrew a dynasty. Lord Whent’s tourney at Harrenhal was the spark that set off a chain of events leading to where the story is now.
On the show, Littlefinger said to Sansa that this was the moment when “all the smiles died” and “how many tens of thousands had to die because Rhaegar chose your aunt?” Beric Dondarrion even alludes to meeting the Hound at a tournament in the season 7 premiere.
The Knight of the Laughing Tree, the crown of winter roses, Rhaegar versus Barristan, this single event had massive ramifications for the realm and is rich with story to explore. Seeing this could help Bran to understand the catalyst for the war that tore the realm apart.
The Battle of the Trident
When George R.R. Martin said that Robert’s Rebellion would not be one of the Game of Thrones prequel series, this was the scene I most lamented the prospect of seeing depicted onscreen. This legendary and iconic battle between warhammer-wielding rebel Robert Baratheon and the poet warrior Rhaegar Targaryen demands to be committed to film.
This has the potential to be the greatest single one-on-one fight in the history of the show. This was the decisive fight in the decisive battle of the civil war that ended a dynasty. Robert’s warhammer striking the killing blow. The rubies from Rhaegar’s armor flowing down the river. The Battle of the Trident is full of iconic moments deserving to be seen.
How the Mad King earned his name
The Three-Eyed Raven has already taken Bran to see his family in happier times at Winterfell. He saw his father, aunt and uncle when they were young, as well as his grandfather, Rickard Stark.
During his huge download from the weirwood network, Bran saw flashes of important historical events. He saw the Mad King ordering the burning of King’s Landing and Jamie becoming a kingslayer. What we have not seen is what actually happened to Bran’s grandfather Rickard and his uncle and Ned’s older brother, Brandon.
These two characters were tortured and murdered at the hands of the Mad King. Seeing this would give Bran more insight into the events of the past and why pyromaniacs prove problematic monarchs.
The Romance of Rhaegar and Lyanna
It is widely assumed among fans that Rhaegar and Lyanna were in love and kept their relationship a secret. However, within the world of the show most characters believe that Rhaegar kidnapped and raped Lyanna. It is clear based on the flashbacks Bran has already had that Lyanna is extremely important.
The truth about Lyanna’s relationship with Rhaegar has massive implications for Jon Snow and his claim to the throne. By greenseeing these events Bran could gain clarity for himself and the audience. If they were indeed in love, they may have gotten married in secret. Rhaegar was already married to Elia Martell of Dorne. But for a family with a proud legacy of incest I can’t imagine polygamy is where they draw the line.
If they were indeed married then Jon would not be a bastard and would be the true born son of a Stark and a Targaryen. This would give him a greater claim to the throne than Daenerys and could cause potential conflict between them. There is even reason to believe that Rhaegar has already been cast.
The Doom of Valyria
Valyria is analogous to the Roman Empire or tales of Atlantis. This ancient civilization was full of magic and mystery. It is still unknown what caused the event that brought down the greatest empire the world has ever known. Even book readers only have clues, but no full answers. This Pompeiian-esque cataclysm was so destructive and lasting that even hundreds of years later the people of this world still avoid the remains of Valyria.
This wouldn’t be a mystery if it wasn’t important. The Three-Eyed Raven said that Bran needed to learn ‘everything’. Learning the truth about what happened to Valyria would solve one of the greatest mysteries in the world of ice and fire.
Brandon the Builder and the Creation of the Wall
There is a great deal of speculation about the magic in the wall that keeps the dead at bay, how it stands and what could bring it down. There is even speculation that there could be an ice dragon frozen inside the wall. Given the threat of the army of the dead and the white walkers, the wall is more important than ever.
This time period has not been mentioned a great deal on the Game of Thrones show but it is a time rich with myth. Seeing the legendary Bran the Builder and the construction of the wall could help Bran understand how the Night’s King might attack it and how to protect it.
The Long Night and the Battle for the Dawn
Despite being two of the most physically weak characters on the show, Bran and Sam may have the biggest impact in the great war. That is because, as Littlefinger has said, knowledge is power. Sam is seeking knowledge in the library of the Citadel. Bran is using his greenseeing to travel into the past and witness events for himself, with nothing lost in translation. Both of these characters could discover the keys to prevailing in the great war.
Bran has already seen how the white walkers were created by the children of the forest. Now he can go back and see how the White Walkers were defeated and the Long Night was ended the first time. This legendary time during the Age of Heroes also contains clues about Azor Ahai, the prince that was promised and the last hero. This may be the most important time Bran could visit in order to gain information that can save Westeros.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.