‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8: Is Bran Stark Actually Evil?

The last season of Game of Thrones has felt hit or miss for some fans. It’s been a polarizing season, with viewers seeming to either love or hate the episodes, with little wiggle room in between. After seven seasons of scheming, plotting, mythology, and lore, it’s surely a challenge to wrap everything up in one six-episode season.

That’s especially true given how many plot threads and implications there are sprinkled throughout the history of Game of Thrones. It’s no stretch at all to say that there are tons of fan theories swirling around on the internet about the remaining characters, and where they’ll end up in the last episode.

One of the more controversial theories holds that Bran himself may be the show’s most evil character, manipulating the current events behind the scenes. Could it be true? Here’s why some fans think Bran Stark might be evil.

The mark of the Night King

There’s speculation that Bran Stark may have been tainted by the Night King. Remember when the Night King grasped Bran’s arm, leaving a mark behind? Some believe that this might have turned Bran in some way.

Twitter user Vladimir Furdik’s tweet supports this idea. He writes, “How did the #NightKing change Craster’s babies? By touching them. How did he change Viserion? By touching it. What did Bloodraven say to #BranStark in the cave? ‘He touched you.’#foodforthought#nightking #GameofThrones

Mehera Bonner of Cosmopolitan writes, “Generally speaking, Bran is highly sus. He’s never given anyone a sufficient explanation about what he’s up to, and furthermore, his explanation for the Night King’s ultimate plan seemed like a total lie. On top of that, Bran didn’t bother informing anyone that Euron was planning to ambush Dany as she approached King’s Landing. For someone who ‘sees everything,’ holding this back felt more than unhelpful. It felt intentional.”

Warging into Drogon

Daenerys Targaryen
Daenerys Targaryen | HBO

If Bran truly has been corrupted, then this next idea might have some credence. There’s a debate right now around whether or not Bran might have been controlling Drogon when the dragon burned down King’s Landing.

Redditor u/ratcliffeb theorizes that Bran, or the Three-Eyed Raven, has been manipulating events this whole time. Ratcliffeb posits that Bran was trying to send Dany reeling into madness, so she’d burn down King’s Landing and turn the others against her.

“Problem is he underestimated Dany and instead of burning down Kings Landing she was headed for the Red Keep so the [Three-Eyed Raven] warged into Drogon and did it himself,” writes u/ratcliffeb.

“Dany’s eyes are LOCKED onto the Red Keep when she takes off and shes beelining for it for quite a while. Its only after we see the identical scene of Bran’s vision from an earlier season of Drogon’s shadow flying over King’s Landing that Drogon changes directions and starts lighting everyone up. They don’t show a close up of Dany again after that.”

Bran would be a terrible king

Bran Stark
Bran Stark | HBO

Some fans are theorizing that Bran Stark might be the character who winds up on the Iron Throne. It seems to be a pretty niche speculation right now — not quite in line with the idea that Bran might be evil. It relies heavily on the idea that Bran no longer “wants” anything, as the Three-Eyed Raven.

The reason some people think he might gain the throne is because of a conversation between Tyrion and Varys. In Season 8, Episode 4, Varys says to Tyrion, “Have you considered the best ruler might be someone who doesn’t want to rule?”

Before that, Tyrion had a conversation with Bran. Tyrion said to Bran, “You’re the only surviving trueborn son of Ned Stark.” After a moment of thought, Tyrion adds, “You don’t want it.” Bran says, “I don’t really want anymore.”

However, if Bran is as apathetic and detached from humanity as he might seem, he would make a terrible king. Sure, he’d be impartial, and have history at his fingertips, but he wouldn’t be able to empathize.