It may be time for another Murder of Crows – but it’s also time for something of a twist.
We decided to shake things up a bit with our roundtable discussions and to do a fast, down-and-dirty murder. What we ended up with is something short but sweet, quick but (hopefully!) insightful; interestingly enough, talk of Bran’s new supernatural mark quickly led to what this season’s finale will have in store – and that, in turn, leads to some incredibly interesting speculation for the future (not that there’s too much of that left after this current season).
We got a reader-submitted question for this one:
“Do you all have a discussion on Bran being touched and what that means? Or do you know where I can find one? It’s killing me.”
Let’s not kill our readers any longer. Please to share any of your thoughts, analysis, and predictions below.
I think it means that any spells that kept the White Walkers at bay are voided whenever Bran is present. That means the minute he goes through the Wall, so can the White Walkers – which, in turn, means that the Walker invasion will happen this season. Unless, of course, they intend to drag it out and have Bran take the entire season to even get to the Wall – but since there is talk of only having six eps each in the final two seasons, I think the White Walkers will cross the Wall no later than this year’s finale.
That’s an interesting interpretation, and I could definitely see something like that playing out.
I didn’t really think it had much significance when I first watched it; I just thought it was a convenient narrative excuse for getting Bran out of the cave. It’s a pretty common trope (magical barrier no longer is effective when something “tainted” has entered it), and one that was easy to go to when they needed a reason to get Bran moving. It also allowed them to set up the now-iconic “hold the door” moment. George R.R. Martin has already said that Hodor’s death will play out differently in the books, so I suspect that they will leave the cave for some other reason, and the whole “Bran being touched by the Night’s King” development won’t happen in the novels.
But in the show, I can definitely see it being used as a reason for why the White Walkers can get through the Wall, especially since they haven’t set up the Horn of Winter at all.
I agree with this line of thinking. Bran is probably going to be a key to the proverbial door – a “key to the south,” as Sansa was the alleged “key to the north.”
Now, then, do I think they cross the Wall or bring it down this season? Still not sure. The last shot we get may be the massive and massed entirety of the Night’s King’s forces gathered at the very base of the Wall. It’s that or R+L=J absolute confirmation. I don’t know if we’ll be getting any Horns of Winter at all – and for this story, they may not be necessary.
Similar to Phil, I didn’t give the mark much thought beyond its function in “The Door” (to be fair, after the “hold the door” revelation, I was numb), but I think Dame’s right – Bran is the White Walkers’ key to the south now. It would explain why the Night’s King grabbed him in the first place. Of course, if this proves to be the case, I’ll wonder why the Three-Eyed Raven didn’t say, “You must leave now… but don’t go south of the Wall, ‘cause if you do, the White Walkers will follow” once he learned what Bran had done. But I suspect it’ll be one of those times, like the underuse of the eagles in The Lord of the Rings, in which drama > logic.
I’m hoping the final scene in season six will be the R+L=J reveal, simply because (a) we already got a scary look at the White Walkers as our closing shot for season two, and (b) it will feel like a bookend for the season, a conclusion to the cliffhanger Bran left us on when he didn’t enter the Tower of Joy in “Oathbreaker.”
I’m not saying that’s what will happen, but that’s what I would prefer.
Clearly, Bran is marked by the Night’s King, and that connection is going to be used to break other barriers – probably the Wall’s magic barrier, as others are suggesting. I’m wondering if, in time, Bran will learn to use that mark himself somehow. If the mark connects him to the Night’s King, is there a way Bran can ride that magic back to him and use it against him? Bran is in panic mode and won’t consider strategic and offensive modes for some time, I suspect, but it’s something I’m wondering about, for further down the road in the series. Can the mark be turned against the Night’s King somehow?