New Game of Thrones Teaser Has Fans Debating: Where Is Bran Stark?
On Sunday, January 13—just ahead of the premiere of True Detective season three—Game of Thrones fans were delighted to finally find out when the epic series' eighth season will premiere, and to be treated to a full 90-second teaser that hinted at what is to come in the highly anticipated final season (albeit cryptically).
Since season seven came to an end in August 2017, viewers have spent countless hours speculating about how the series might conclude, and have managed to come up with some truly wild fan theories. But the most recent teaser seems to have ignited an even bigger question about the final season: Where is Bran Stark?
The epic new teaser shows Jon Snow and Sansa and Arya Stark walking separately through the Crypts of Winterfell with the late Lyanna, Catelyn, and Ned Stark speaking in voiceover as the living characters pass by their statues. As Jon, Sansa, and Arya come together, they see what appear to be statues of themselves, before being distracted by a swell of icy winds coming toward them. But where was Bran?
Many viewers have taken to social media to share their thought about why Bran wasn't seen in the latest teaser, with one of the most popular beliefs being one of the oldest (and still-possible) theories for the show: Bran Stark is the Night King.
While TIME acknowledged the popularity of this ongoing theory, it also pointed out how Bran's absence could actually be proof of him being the Three-Eyed Raven instead—yet another popular fan theory that initially gained traction in season three, when Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) appeared to Bran in a dream to tell him that the Three-Eyed Raven “is you.” In season six, the Three-Eyed Raven told Bran that "The time has come ... for you to become me." But when Sansa asked Bran point blank whether he was the Three-Eyed Raven, he replied: "It’s difficult to explain."
And confusing! As with most things related to Game of Thrones, nothing is ever quite as it seems.
While the series' stars are sworn to secrecy regarding any spoilers regarding their characters or plot lines, Isaac Hempstead Wright—who plays Bran—isn't buying the whole Night King thing. "It just doesn’t feel like Game of Thrones,” Hempstead Wright told Nerdist in 2017. "It feels a little bit too Hollywood." Which may be one more hint that he indeed is the Three-Eyed Raven.
Whether Hempstead Wright was legitimately trying to shut the theory down, or engaging in a little misdirection, we'll finally start getting answers when Game of Thrones returns for its final season on April 14, 2019.