BRAN THE BROKEN: CLASSICAL PRECEDENTS FOR THE FIGURE OF BRAN STARK IN G R R MARTIN’S A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE NOVELS AND IN THE GAME OF THRONES TELEVISION SERIES

S Sharland

Abstract


This article seeks to explain why many viewers and fans of the Game of thrones  series and the novels that inspired them were disappointed and frustrated with the ending of the eighth season. Although it has long been observed that kingship often coincided with magical powers or the abilities of the seer in a wide range of early human societies, we have come to prefer the heroes whom we celebrate and the seers or wise people who advise them to be separate entities.  Bran Stark endured physical disability as the result of an attempted assassination as a child; either in spite of this or because of this, he developed soothsaying powers as a ‘greenseer’ and journeyed beyond the Wall to become the next Three-Eyed Raven.  While disability has traditionally been linked to the ambiguous
powers of the seer, there is also a strong tradition for this not to
be associated with kingship. Then there is the nature of Bran himself.
In some ways Bran has remained a child, avoiding normal human
relationships and the usual progression of life; at the same time,
however, Bran is an old man, with hints of omniscience, longevity
and even immortality. He fulfils the Jungian puer-senex archetype.
Both Classical and other precedents are used to view Bran as an
ambiguous and dualistic figure with whom most fans of Game of
thrones can no longer sympathize.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7445/64-0-1010

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ISSN 2079-2883 (online); ISSN 0303-1896 (print)

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