How Bran Stark Could Have Made King Aerys II Targaryen Go Mad in Game of Thrones

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

Ever since the first time Bran Stark’s warging skills were introduced in Game of Thrones, fans have speculated about the extent of his powers. When we first see Bran travel to the past, it’s as if he’s only an apparition—not really there, just watching. We now know that Bran has more power over changing past events than we thought possible. He isn’t just a spectator, he is a willing participant, as we saw in the scenes where he called out to a younger Ned Stark and caught his attention, as well as when he unknowingly messed up Hodor’s mind.

The mysterious magic that takes Bran to the past lets him change it, which is why fans have started to wonder whether Bran might be responsible for other key events that took place in the past—namely, making King Aerys II Targaryen, a.k.a. The Mad King, go insane. One fan believes that a well-intentioned act on Bran’s part could have inadvertently led to the wars we see happening in the present on Game of Thrones.

Redditor mvmchugh believes Bran went back in time to warn the Mad King (before he was the "Mad King") about the White Walkers, but was actually the cause of his madness after he told Aerys to “burn them all,” referring to the undead. Just like when young Hodor heard “hold the door,” Bran's warning messed with Aerys's mind—resulting in him going insane and wanting to burn the whole city down.

The theorist brings up the fact that in the season 8 premiere, Bran calls Jaime Lannister an “old friend.” While fans thought he might’ve meant this sarcastically, as Jaime is the reason he’s paralyzed, the Redditor thinks he called him that because Jaime is the only one who ultimately stopped the Mad King (which is how he earned his "Kingslayer" title. If it was Bran’s fault that the king went mad in the first place, he would owe Jaime thanks for saving King’s Landing.

The theory may seem a bit out there, but if there's any truth to it, we have been seriously underestimating the full power Bran has on the outcome of both the future and the past. With a popular fan theory arguing that Bran is actually the Night King, it’s clear we’re expecting something major to come out of the youngest living Stark's abilities in the final season. All we can do is watch it to find out.

How Much Are You Spending on Streaming Services? This Handy Calculator Can Tell You

LightFieldStudios/iStock via Getty Images
LightFieldStudios/iStock via Getty Images

With the recent debut of both Disney+ and Apple TV+, not to mention upcoming launches for HBO Max, NBC’s Peacock, and more, streaming services are officially coming for cable television’s throne—and might sneakily empty your bank account while they're at it.

While a monthly fee of $10 to $15 seems easy enough to justify if you’re willing to sacrifice a burrito bowl or fancy cocktail once a month, the little voice in the back of your head is probably whispering, “but it still adds up.” To find out just how much, MarketWatch created a calculator that will not only tell you how much you’re spending on streaming services every month; it’ll also add up the lifetime cost of all those entertainment expenses.

The calculator covers Netflix, CBS All Access, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Sling TV, Disney+, Apple TV+, and YouTube TV, and it also includes a whole host of add-ons that you might not even have realized were available. Through Amazon Prime, for example, you can subscribe to HBO, Showtime, and other premium channels—but there are also more niche options like Hallmark Movies Now and NickHits (with iCarly, The Fairly OddParents, and other Nickelodeon classics).

As you check off services and add-ons, you’ll see your monthly bill on the right side of the total box, and the lifetime cost—which accounts for 50 years of streaming, adjusted for inflation—will balloon before your eyes on the left side. Below that, there’s an even larger number labeled as the lifetime “true” cost, which estimates how much you would’ve made if you had invested that money instead.

For example: If you sign up for basic monthly subscriptions to Netflix and Disney+ for $9 and $7, respectively, your lifetime cost totals around $16,200. However, if you had opted to invest that money, the 50-year prediction sees you walking away with almost $74,000.

Having said that, it’s understandably hard to look that far into the future, especially when Disney+ is tempting you with the Lizzie McGuire series, Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian, and practically every beloved animated Disney movie from your childhood.

[h/t MarketWatch]

Hallmark Released Some Adorable Harry Potter Ornaments—Just In Time for Christmas

Amazon
Amazon

Even if you never received your letter of acceptance to Hogwarts on your 11th birthday, you can still add some magic to your Christmas tree this year with some Harry Potter Christmas ornaments from Hallmark. These pieces have more of a minimalist style than Hallmark's other Potter releases, which are modeled to look identical to the characters' movie counterparts. But with that simplicity comes a unique charm that is sure to be popular with Potterheads.

Shoppers can look for seven different ornaments, which include Harry, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger in mid-flight, as well as Hedwig, the Sorting Hat, Dobby, and the Hogwarts Crest. Each one comes with a hanger, so is ready to be put on your Christmas tree as soon as its out of the packaging. You can find each one for $9 on Amazon—though be forewarned that Harry is currently out of stock (but you can find an equally adorable replacement Potter for $8).

If you can’t get enough wizarding gifts this holiday season, then check out our Harry Potter gift guide, which includes everything from magical cookbooks to chess sets.

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