This Game Of Thrones Time Loop Theory About Bran And The Night King Explains What's Happening In Season 8
At this point it's safe to say that Game of Thrones fans are frustrated with Bran. If he's this all-seeing ancient entity, shouldn't he just tell all of his friends and family exactly what they need to know to defeat the Night King? Instead he just drops cryptic hints like what he said in Episode Two when they ask why, exactly, the Night King would be coming for Bran.
"Yes he will he'll come for me. He's tried before many times with many Three-Eyed Ravens," Bran says.
When Sam asks what the Night King wants, Bran responds: "An endless night. He wants to erase this world and I am its memory."
Okay, that's something at least, but what does this mean? Sadly, no one in that room bothered to ask this very obvious question. But one Reddit user has a theory that Bran is actually stuck in a repeating time loop in which the humans fight the Night King.
So, Bran has fought tried to stop the NK many times before and failed each attempt so far. Each time he purposefully gets himself stuck at some point in the past to try again. This is also where I think he is pulling the Lord of Light nonsense as well as becoming Bran the Builder, trying to affect the path that history is taking before the Long Night comes.
As the show has established, Bran can't stay in a vision for too long or else he'll get stuck in the past.
Bran says the NK will come after him during the battle, risking the loss of his entire army. He says he has done it many times before to many 3ERs. Even the book only mentions one other 3ER, and one other time the NK has tried to destroy men. He’s not saying that the NK likes to kill 3ERs, he’s saying he would be willing to risk a trap to do so. The Night King needs to kill Bran to ever succeed. Bran can restart the loop at any time if he wants.
Bran says that he doesn’t know if dragon fire will kill the NK, and that no one has ever tried. This is a strange way to phrase it if there has only ever been one other attempt at killing the NK (the long winter or whatever they called the last time the NK marched). This is also where it gets a little more interesting than just a crappy time loop. If this is the first time dragons have been involved (for both parties no less), we may be getting ready to close the loop. I believe this iteration of Bran is being the most aggressive. He may be the only 3ER that has ever been marked, and essentially invited the NK across the wall. And also into Winterfell, the walls of which are supposedly imbued with the same anti-white walker shit that went into the Wall and around the trees. It's the first thing Bran the Builder does when he starts over - to protect the Starks before there's an opportunity to pass the 3ER ball. Bran is inviting the NK into Winterfell just like he invited him past the wall.
That's a lot to take in, but this is basically saying that Bran has started over this whole loop multiple times waiting for the one reality in which the humans can defeat the Night King. That also means that there could be other events that he set in motion to give humans the best chance to succeed:
Bran may have orchestrated the entire R + L thing (we saw him affecting that scene already) just to get the dragons there for the first time. On a side note, the NK may be in the same boat as Bran and set this whole thing up to get the dragons there (Remember how it was more important for him to scare the shit out of Jon than to actually kill him at Hardhome? How else would anyone convince the mother of dragons to come across the wall?).
This user goes on to point out some pretty interesting clues in the show that support this theory:
Some lines casually dropped by Bran this season: To Jamie, “How do you know there is an after?” He could mean that they all might die, or he could mean that there’s never been an after because he keeps needing to restart everything. When asked what he’s doing by himself in the courtyard, Bran says, “Waiting for an old friend”. Well he doesn’t really give a shit about people anymore. Certainly not Jamie or Sam. His old friend may be the Night King, who they are all literally sitting around waiting for right now.
There's also that thing about the symbol that the White Walkers keep using. Is that being used to taunt Bran? The user points out that "the first symbol from the pilot looks like a circle with a line through it (Φ). So the NK is saying he's going to break the circle. Later they show the symbol of the Children with stones radiating in lines out from the Weirwood tree in the centre. The trees are indeed the only thing connecting these separate timelines and the only way that the 3ER and NK can remember them."
Yes, this is all overtly complex, but that's kind of what happens when you introduce time travel into any sort of story like this. And it seems unlikely that the writers would throw that wrench into their narrative with Hodor if it wasn't going to play a big role in the end game. Let's see if Bran can win this time.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.