A Murder of Crows: The Night’s King’s mark

It may be time for another Murder of Crows – but it’s also time for something of a twist.

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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).

Marc

Marc N. Kleinhenz:

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.

Dame Pasty

Dame Pasty:

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.

WinterPhil sigil

WinterPhil:

That’s an interesting interpretation, and I could definitely see something like that playing out.

White_Walker_4

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.

Axe

Axechucker:

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.

Petra

Petra:

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.”

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I’m not saying that’s what will happen, but that’s what I would prefer.

Sue

Sue the Fury:

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?

Previous Murders

The Dorne dilemma

The best season yet?

Teasing season six

Murder!

The countdown to season six

Season eight

The final word on season five

Should Game of Thrones be boycotted forever more?

“The Wars to Come,” season five, and you

What if season five sucks?

The year in review

Casting the recastings in a new light

Westerosi immersion

The best – and worst – season of Game of Thrones

149 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. I definitely think one of the last shots of season 6 will be the Tower of Joy. However, while it would be an awesome ending to the season, I still think it will end on some massive “holy fuck” moment like the Wall coming down or the White Walkers somehow making it past the Wall.

      But if it does end with Ned telling Howland Reed something like “Robert, the Baratheons, and the Lannisters must never know. He is of my blood… the son of my sister, Lyanna Stark and of Rhaegar Targaryen. I have sworn a promise… now I ask you to swear an oath to me. We will keep this secret together. This boy will carry the name Jon Snow. And when he is of age, we will tell him the truth… and let him decide who he wants to be” then a sweeping helicopter/drone shot with swelling music, that would be pretty awesome.

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    2. For me it looked more like what happened to Frodo when he got stabbed by the Nazgul, the sort of even if you win, the wound will get you in the end. It would play nicely with all that bittersweet ending theme, but in the show they might use it for more things. Turning off the Wall defences would be an obvious twist, but perhaps too obvious?

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    3. My bets are episode 6 will contain either.
      a) The Battle of the Trident, featuring Young Ned, Robert and Rhaegar.
      b) The Sack of King’s Landing, featuring Young Ned and Jaime.
      c) The Tourney at Harrenhal.

      I’m leaning towards (b) because we might have seen Jaime killing Aerys in the season 6 trailer, and do they really want to cast a Rhaegar? I’m thinking they wont to try and keep him mystical. I’m thinking Ned will then walk into the Throne room shortly after the sack to find Jaime on the Throne.

      I reckon the Tower of Blue Balls, part 2 will be a part of the finale, whether or not it’s the last scene I cannot say, but we’ll see. I’m going off that remark about Young Ned having a “significant showing” in episode 10. I could be wrong, but given the information we have that seems the most likely.

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    4. I think the logical cliffhanger to this season has to be the WW breaching the Wall or bringing it down, due to Bran passing through. The only snag in this is if its Benjen who saves the gang in ep 6, he’d likely warn them from crossing through for this very reason (or Bran might realise for himself).

      The other counter point to this though relates to Petra’s comment on why didn’t the 3ER warn Bran against going south. This is Brans destiny all along- he was meant to go snooping, be discovered by the NK, for the cave to be breached and for poor Hodor to become who he is. So it’s logical that Bran is destined to go south to fulfil his purpose (even though this means the WWs can pass through the wall).

      T3ER knew what had happened to Bran when he was touched, his explanation was quite matter of fact, as was his parting from Bran. He seemed almost content that he had done what was needed, and this makes me think that he knew all along what was/is to come, as do the COTF.

      We only have 13 more episodes after all, therefore we need there to be some heavy casualties in the north before Westeros take notice and join the fray. That will likely be in S7, which is why the Wall must surely fall in ep10.

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    5. House Applebee:
      My bets are episode 6 will contain either.
      a) The Battle of the Trident, featuring Young Ned, Robert and Rhaegar.

      We’d have heard about this if they were shooting it. You don’t sneak something that big past the spoiler hounds.

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    6. Interesting comments about marking Bran leading to the walkers invasion south. However, I don’t think that the mark can be used against the Night’s King. The Night’s King is over 10,000 years old and Bran is just starting to understand his powers. Without his mentor to teach him I think it will be a while before Bran truly starts to use his powers to help in the war to come.

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    7. Bran goes north to

      the curtain of energy at the top of Westeros revealed to Bran by the 3ER in Bran’s first vision in book 1. Beyond the wall is the reason Bran “must live, because winter is coming,” according to 3ER.

      Beyond the wall, the WWs are running the machineries that terraform Westeros to cold and disturbing the rhythm of the seasons, Once the curtain of energy is neutralized, the WWs fall to the ground and cannot animate dead mammals. The wights also fall inanimate. After the climate changing hardware is destroyed, the area gradually returns to its normal weather. The wall has to go, because it was built by the WWs to keep in the cold.

      Unemployment in the north goes to zero, because all are needed to burn the bodies of the wights and to stab the WWs with Dragonstone and dragonsteel. The WW bodies will dissolve to mist and blow away, as when killed by Sam the Slayer.

      Sadly, the much anticipated war waged by flying flaming dragons on WWs will not occur once the WW’s energy source is disrupted.

      The results of Bran’s Frodoesque solution to the Problems posed by the WWs will ripple out.

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    8. Apollo,

      Totally agree on Bloodraven, he always seemed like a shifty bloke. After I read Dance I was even going so far as to think he was the villain pulling the strings.

      Regarding 13 episodes remaining, nothing is confirmed really. I’m sure if D&D really thought about it they could easily make 20 good episodes, and I’m sure that’s what HBO would want. Nothing is set in stone yet. That comment that they made they probably said in passing without too much thought. Only now will they be thinking of episodes 61-70. And once they’ve done that, then they’ll start looking at the final curtain.

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    9. Calling it here folks – the mark will allow Bran, at some point, to warg into the Night King with unforeseen consequences on both sides…

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    10. No I don’t think the mark will have anything to do with Wall coming down. They could have easily marked Sam or those 2 rangers who came back dead with Benjen horse if mark was essential for Wall to come down. We don’t know if the magic that was guarding the same is the same one guarding the Wall. Wights are able to cross the Wall so I guess both these magic are different. The entire arc of Bran will be anticlimatic in the sense that 3ER himself asked him to come to him and didn’t even inform about this situation.

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    11. Regarding ToJ part 2. The way I could see it play out: episode 10 starts with Bran having the vision and finding out the truth about Jon, the scene ends with close up of the baby – cut to recent time Jon, walking on the battlefield with Sansa, thousands of bodies on the ground (since Bastardbowl is in ep. 9).

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    12. Cersei’s Brain:
      Calling it here folks – the mark will allow Bran, at some point, to warg into the Night King with unforeseen consequences on both sides…

      People are reading too much into the mark. First, GRRM is unlikely to do anything like this so it was probably something D&D invented in order to get us to that Hodor moment while wiping out several characters and decreasing the budget.

      I’m calling it now (whatever that means)… the mark will fade and lose its power.

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    13. House Applebee,

      That’s true I guess and I really hope they do 2 more 10 episode seasons, as otherwise there’s way too much to squeeze in.

      I suspected when they announced the truncated seasons, that this was a ploy by D&D to make sure HBO gave them a hyooooge budget for the last two seasons. Let’s hope 😉

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    14. Apollo:
      House Applebee,

      That’s true I guess and I really hope they do 2 more 10 episode seasons, as otherwise there’s way too much to squeeze in.

      I suspected when they announced the truncated seasons, that this was a ploy by D&D to make sure HBO gave them a hyooooge budget for the last two seasons. Let’s hope

      They didn’t need to trick HBO. They already have the BIGGEST BUDGET EVER. It’s no ploy. They are streamlining the fuck out of ASOIAF in order to end the series quicker because they don’t want to spend the next decade having no social life. It’s that simple.

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    15. Since we know that Bran will have more visions, does anyone think it would be possible for Bran to travel back in time to 3ER cave to complete his training, ask him about the mark etc?

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    16. GeekFurious,

      Oh I never thought it had anything to do with the budget or streamlining. I’m talking about hype and profit here. HBO is a business. Why would they want to shorten their last few seasons to their most popular show. My point was this is early in the game and I’m sure if D&D thought about it more they may get around to writing another few episodes, it may not be another 7, but more than 13. I think that’s a really mean number to be waiting a year for so I have my doubts that they wont do 2 x 10s. Regardless they are going for 2 more years, why not go out with a bang? Not every scene is monumentally expensive.

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    17. Question – Has it ever been specifically stated in the show that there is magic in the wall preventing the white walkers from going through? There have been jokes about hoping they don’t learn how to climb it but I honestly don’t remember the magic being addressed. Maybe it was mentioned by Mance to Jon? Or even earlier when Jon first went to Castle Black?

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    18. House Applebee: Why would they want to shorten their last few seasons to their most popular show.

      They don’t want to let go of the cashcow that is GOT, but at the same time they respect D&D’s vision… and if D&D tell them that:

      a) They only need 13 more episodes to conclude the story (and that has been their vision from the very start.. 70 episodes is what they’ve been building to since the inception of the tv show).
      b) They won’t have the time and the ressources to produce more than 6/7 episodes, considering that the scope is bound to be way bigger in the final episodes.

      Then HBO will simply respect that.

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    19. Knowing the consequence, and I presume he would after meeting Benjen, WHY would Bran voluntarily cross the wall??? Or does that mean he is now permanently in the state of green seeing and somebody else takes him across the wall???

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    20. House Applebee,

      House Applebee:
      My bets are episode 6 will contain either.
      a) The Battle of the Trident, featuring Young Ned, Robert and Rhaegar.
      b) The Sack of King’s Landing, featuring Young Ned and Jaime.
      c) The Tourney at Harrenhal.

      I’m leaning towards (b) because we might have seen Jaime killing Aerys in the season 6 trailer, and do they really want to cast a Rhaegar? I’m thinking they wont to try and keep him mystical. I’m thinking Ned will then walk into the Throne room shortly after the sack to find Jaime on the Throne.

      I reckon the Tower of Blue Balls, part 2 will be a part of the finale, whether or not it’s the last scene I cannot say, but we’ll see. I’m going off that remark about Young Ned having a “significant showing” in episode 10. I could be wrong, but given the information we have that seems the most likely.

      we might have seen Jaime killing Aerys in the season 6 trailer
      What trailer and what scene are you talking about? I don’t remember anything like that in the trailers.

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    21. Being a show-watcher only, I was quite unimpressed by the ToJ scene in Episode 3. So to have this season, already filled with iconic moments by the mid-way point, end with just a reveal of Jon Snow’s parentage, will feel like an immense let-down and loss of momentum! 😉 So I do hope it’s something really big, like the Wall coming down, or the Wall being built (past, of course), or something of that stature.

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    22. What if the ToJ finale ends with Bran showing Jon the vision at the wall… Then the WWs attacking the wall right after the reveal.

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    23. Petra: 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.

      Unless the Three Eyed Raven wants the White Walkers to cross the Wall for whatever reason, because of something he’s seen. And also, since Bran is seen as the chosen one to defeat the White Walkers, allowing him to die North of the Wall isn’t much of an option.

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    24. House Applebee:
      GeekFurious,

      Oh I never thought it had anything to do with the budget or streamlining. I’m talking about hype and profit here. HBO is a business. Why would they want to shorten their last few seasons to their most popular show. My point was this is early in the game and I’m sure if D&D thought about it more they may get around to writing another few episodes, it may not be another 7, but more than 13. I think that’s a really mean number to be waiting a year for so I have my doubts that they wont do 2 x 10s. Regardless they are going for 2 more years, why not go out with a bang? Not every scene is monumentally expensive.

      HBO doesn’t want to shorten it. HBO wants to go for 10 more years. 100 more years if they can make it work. But HBO also has a reputation for being a creator’s dream workplace. They can’t very well sell future producers on going to them if they usurp the creative process from their biggest hit. Not to mention that D&D and GRRM have intrinsic creative power over the entirety of the franchise… and HBO would rue the day they ever went against their public interest.

      So, if D&D want to end the series as they’ve said they do, and there is NOTHING to suggest they won’t, then that’s what HBO will do, because it benefits them in the long term to not get greedy. Not to mention, they still have GRRM willing to make tons more in the ASOIAF realm. They just need to find new showrunners for that… but they’d do it with the blessing of D&D as well (again, that intrinsic power). I am going to go out on a limb and posit that there is a certain EP making a show on HBO right now… that has received major critical acclaim of late… who is ending that show next year… who LOVES the fuck out of GOT and ASOIAF… who used to make a show that was enormously famous… directed by the guy who just directed an episode of GOT.

      #nonames #lindelof

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    25. GeekFurious: They didn’t need to trick HBO. They already have the BIGGEST BUDGET EVER. It’s no ploy. They are streamlining the fuck out of ASOIAF in order to end the series quicker because they don’t want to spend the next decade having no social life. It’s that simple.

      Or perhaps they actually think it’s what’s best for the story. I’ve never bought this narrative, D&D may be tired but I’ve seen no indication that they’re truly desperate to be done with the series.

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    26. Petra: 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.

      Unless The Raven DID tell him, while he was downloading everything Bran he needs to know going forward on his own.

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    27. Jeez, and I was thinking Meera was going to chop off Bran’s arm first thing. That mark is essentially a beacon, at least as far as she knows. If I was her, that would be my first move. If the odd coloring stays, and they don’t do something about it before traveling all the way to Wall, it’d be a bit hard to believe.

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    28. High Sparrow,

      The castings are clearly misleading. Young Lyanna in episode 2 was completely out of left field. I think many people were expecting an adult Lyanna in the Tower of Blue Balls but not the young one. They use codenames when it comes to casting big roles. So siting the casting is useless, it proves nothing.

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    29. GeekFurious,

      Mate, my main point is that it is early days in the production of season 7, and even earlier for season 8. When they sit down to do the scripts this time next year they may realise they can do a full season. Their remarks about having 13 episodes, while accompanied with the phase “we think”, was a passing comment and is not locked in stone. People need to stop treating it as if it is, it could be 13 episodes left, or it could be 20, or anything in-between.

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    30. Been wondering this since the mark first appeared on Bran – what would happen if his arm was cut off? I wouldn’t want that, but wondered if just removing the mark would stop the WW from doing more damage?

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    31. House Applebee,

      Nothing is set in stone, no, except :

      They did stick with the idea that “any upcoming seasons may be shorter than the full 10 episodes of seasons past.”

      So why the change? There isn’t enough time to produce ten episodes in a year. Weiss says, “It’s crossing out of a television schedule into more of a mid-range movie schedule.”

      You won’t get 10 episodes long seasons after S6. Things are bound to become way bigger in the final episodes, and it won’t just be possible for them to keep producing 10 hours of footage a year, which is completely understandable.

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    32. Looper,

      I posted before reading this – great minds think alike it seems. I do wish that the 3ER tought Bran something during his one year hiatus. Like how to time travel, or how to warg NWs….

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    33. Lord of Coffee:
      Question – Has it ever been specifically stated in the show that there is magic in the wall preventing the white walkers from going through?There have been jokes about hoping they don’t learn how to climb it but I honestly don’t remember the magic being addressed.Maybe it was mentioned by Mance to Jon?Or even earlier when Jon first went to Castle Black?

      I didnt remember anything magical about it, but there are supposedly some ancient spells woven into it to support the protection. That was addressed in a chapter with Coldhands as the reason he can’t pass through. That isn’t to say that the NK can destroy the wall because of it though. At the cave he was able to destroy the magic but the cave didn’t collapse. If it’s a case of similar results we could guess they’d then be able to attack the Wall but still have to manage to break through physically.

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    34. HBO cannot but realise that they will not be able milk this cow for more than two seasons. It’s impossible to hold a global audience’s attention intact with “tits and dragons” and endless mysteries. There is an expiry date for all this and they know it. The logical should be that they have worked hard to find an alternative.
      Night King’s mark on Bran will have consequences. We all saw that NK didn’t care much about Brann when in cave. He annihilated (?) BR and that was enough for him. Which means that he wants Bran on the loose. Now I don’t think that the NK doesn’t know the way to the Wall and that he needs a guide to find it. I think that there is something else. If we go back to Hardhome we will remember that the NK didn’t want to kill Jon, he didn’t even try. Jon captured his attention when Jon killed his White Walker general and then he made a show to Jon with the resurrections of the dead. It was a message not only to what is coming but also personally to Jon. It seemed as an invitation to me. Maybe I am wrong but I believe, and others have said it already, that the NK has a certain connection with the Starks and that Bran’s mark will play pivotal role to find out what is this connection. I am also sure that the Wall will fall in the episode 10 and that we might have a similar situation as in ep5 with Bran at the TOJ and the WW attacking the Wall. We have also witnessed that Bran can influence the past through future and this cannot just go unnoticed. D&D have avoided to in depth visualize the magic involved in the story but now I think that they are forced to do it because magic is one of the components of this story. As long as TOJ’s revelation was left for the last episode it cannot just be of importance for Jon as a character but also for Jon as crucial hero of this story. So maybe the implications of this revelation go further than just Jon’s genealogy… What if the NK is involved in Bran’s revisiting of the TOJ via his mark?

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    35. Iain,

      As D&D are moving forward full force, I doubt any time will be spent in the show on greenseeing back to the tree cave. In the books, training will be completed prior to Bran leaving.

      As to the mark and Bran warging into the Night King, I doubt it will be accomplished the same way in the books but think it will happen before the end.

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    36. My wishful last scene would be a bittersweet Winterfell celebration enhanced by a choral score but suddenly interrupted by an earthquake in the north and then a cut-scene to wall in crumbles with awakening ice dragon in the middle of it.

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    37. Marlana,

      heh, this is not Lord of the Rings!

      I, myself, am skeptical that this will be what lets the Walkers through the Wall. I would lean towards a more “human” cause. And, as Looper has suggested, I could see Meera chopping off Bran’s arm first! Of course, I’m not sure she has anything with which to amputate an arm: that’s really not very easy.

      GeekFurious: So, if D&D want to end the series as they’ve said they do, and there is NOTHING to suggest they won’t, then that’s what HBO will do, because it benefits them in the long term to not get greedy.

      HBO is a corporation. The next corporation to put long-term profits over short-term profits will be the first. The system is set up based on how good a return they provide to their shareholders here and now.

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    38. Lord of Coffee,
      Clob,

      Didn’t Melisandre have some off-hand comment about the magic woven into it?

      Of course, viewers would be assuming that there has to be something magical about the Wall. After all, Castle Black would be long since buried by periodic ice falls if the Wall were not unnaturally held together. (Then again, viewers might be assuming that because this is based on a fantasy novel, silly things happen because most fantasy novels are an endless litany of silly things happening.)

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    39. jinx47,

      Isn’t there a weirwood tree with a face on it, where Jon & Samwell took their Night’s Watch vows? Doesn’t Bran need one of those trees for his visions?Maybe Bran will inhabit that Tree and become a full fledged greenseer as opposed to a greenseer in training. So technically he never breaches the Wall.

      I’m still haunted by the way Jon and the Night’s King looked at one another at Hardhome. It was as if the Night’s King knew who Jon was, knew that they would meet again.

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    40. GeekFurious,

      you know it’s possible D&D could end their involvement with the writing of it, and just executive produce and let other people handle more & more of the writing and day to day stuff. My point is, if HBO wants to continue, and the contracts allow it, they could extend it to ten seasons, with ten episodes in each one.

      It’s so successful & so profitable I could see a lot of writers wanting to be a part of it, and I can also see D&D beginning to phase out their direct, day to day involvement. I think they both want to move on to other things. They may feel stale at this point. There is only so much time to do the things you want to do in life. Game of Thrones, while it is wildly successful, is something both of them may feel restless about & are ready to move on.

      On one hand they don’t want to outlive the freshness and they want to avoid getting stale. But on the other hand, why rush the ending of the series, and pile up too many events & developments in to 13 or 14 remaining episodes after Season 6? I think they would not serve the story or the fans if the rush this to a close just because they are sick of it. All their care and dedication these first five or 6 seasons and the quality would be weakened by rushing just as much as it would by dragging it out.

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    41. I don’t think the season will end with the White Walkers crossing the Wall, because realistically there is absolutely nothing to stop them simply swarming across the realm once they breach the Wall.

      They’ve got an army of hundreds of thousands of undead wights; and they can reanimate anybody they chop down, replenishing their army as they go.

      Unless the Westerosi dig up a few thousand more Valyrian steel swords or arm every soldier with dragonglass weapons at a moment’s notice, the White Walkers themselves are unbeatable alone.

      This isn’t going to be a war of attrition. Realistically the White Walkers could have swept across the country after just a handful of major battles and a lot of barely contested slaughter.

      If they cross the Wall at the end of the season and Daenerys is only just setting off for Westeros at the same time, and the North has only just been won, the White Walkers realistically should’ve easily swept across the realm by the time Daenerys reaches the shores of Westeros.

      I think the season will end with the realisation that the White Walkers can now cross the Wall, but not necessarily with them doing so.

      I think there still needs to be a bit of scene-setting in Westeros, most likely taking place in the first half of season 7, before the White Walkers cross the Wall and come into contact with the armies of Westeros.

      As for the issue of the number of episodes left, I would be absolutely amazed if HBO let the producers get away with anything less than 8 episodes a season, especially since they’ve already green-lit season 7. I’m sure they wouldn’t have done so without some idea of how many remaining episodes they expected from the producers in total, and I doubt it was as low as 13.

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    42. HBO surely makes money from GoT and uses it to promote their other shows, but they will survive without it and would be willing to do so especially if it becomes prohibitively more expensive to produce due to rising actor salaries. It was big news a couple years ago when HBO picked up the seventh season option on all the primary actors that brought them all big raises for season seven. If HBO has to renegotiate for an eighth season they will certainly have to increase salaries yet again.

      So for these reasons I think season seven will be the last with thirteen episodes split between spring and fall.

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    43. I said this before and I’ll say it one more time. If the mark on Bran is what the Night King needs to get through the wall then this is sloppy writing. Unless there is something uniquely important about Bran that gets them beyond the wall. There have been plenty of opportunities for the Night King to mark one of the night’s watchman in earlier seasons. How many crows have died that could have been used as the key to the wall? Plus, there is also the fact that the wall is fuckin’ big and they need to get over it. A bunch of dead henchmen can climb a ceiling in a tunnel layered in roots, but can they climb the wall? I’m really hoping the Nightfort becomes more integral to the story. It seems like it was going to in the book with Stanis having it rehabilitated. I’d love to see the Night King have to get through the gate at the Nightfort and then kill a bunch of Crows to open the door at Castle Black to let his army through. That would be much more satisfying and epic.

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    44. Cersei’s Brain:
      Iain,

      As to the mark and Bran warging into the Night King, I doubt it will be accomplished the same way in the books but think it will happen before the end.

      The NK may have an origin story different from the one we saw by the CotF, continuing the general theme of everyone remembering history differently. His version may give a clue to a happy ending.

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    45. While I’d love for GOT to go on for many years, I also don’t want the show to jump the shark. I want it to go out at its top, with a satisfying ending (that does not mean a happy one, but one that says yes, thats the end of a great story). If the producers see that end in sight, then so be it. In the meantime I’ll just take one episode at a time.

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    46. Roz’s Ghost,

      Game of thrones is D&D’s creation and there is no way they will leave it in the home run.They have put far too much of themselves in this.People keep saying that they are rushing things but nobody knows how much material is left.They are not adapting anything anymore and only they know the outline and how much time is needed.Eight seasons is more than enough for a tv show of this calibre.The ratings will never hold for ten season no matter the quality and good luck keeping all the actors for ten years.HBO knows this and will let them end it when they want.

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    47. Roz’s Ghost: My point is, if HBO wants to continue, and the contracts allow it, they could extend it to ten seasons, with ten episodes in each one.

      Not really. They cannot keep the cast, and the characters are in what the audience is invested.

      Roz’s Ghost: I think they would not serve the story or the fans if the rush this to a close just because they are sick of it.

      Again, this is a “fan” vs. “viewer” dichotomy. Viewers do not feel that stories are well-served by drawing them out: on the contrary, viewers feel that stories are harmed by too much narrative. (This is why “it was slow” or “it was too long” is a damning audience criticism.)

      Now, I do get that many fans want to see things drawn out: I am not one of those fans, but my long experience in interacting with other fans has taught me that some fans are different from viewers/readers: some fans want to wallow in the experience. However, for every fan watching a show/film or reading a book, there are dozens of viewers/readers. And once the overarching story for Jon, Daeny, Arya, etc., wraps up, the viewers will be done with this.

      (Remember: they feel the same way about this show as you feel about most of the shows that you watch!)

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    48. Ramsay's 20th Good Man: This isn’t going to be a war of attrition. Realistically the White Walkers could have swept across the country after just a handful of major battles and a lot of barely contested slaughter.

      But, again, we need to keep in mind how all of the stories up to this point have proceeded. Everything hinges on damned if you do or don’t internal dilemmas for the main characters. The Walkers are going to lead to the biggest one yet. What that will be, we don’t know, but last week must have given us a huge clue. The Walkers themselves are not “evil” but a weapon created to fight an “evil” (ironically, humans!) that seemingly went Cylon on their creators.

      We probably are missing a couple of more key pieces to this puzzle. Once we get these, then we should have a much better idea of why dealing with the Walkers will create such perplexity for our “I want to save the world!” protagonists.

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    49. Iain:
      Since we know that Bran will have more visions, does anyone think it would be possible for Bran to travel back in time to 3ER cave to complete his training, ask him about the mark etc?

      I do. Either that or he’ll flash back on 3EC teachings that we missed during his absence from the show. There is that line that we’ve heard by Max in teasers that hasn’t surfaced in show… It would make sense. I guess it’s also possible that the hooded figure is some other version of the 3ec, though it would be a disappointment to those of us hoping for BS or CH.

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    50. Ramsay's 20th Good Man,

      I agree. The end of this season is too early for the Wall to fall, what with Dany still in Meereen till Ep 10. And two seasons of zombie apocalypse (even if it’s only 13 episodes) is too much, imo. The season ending scene could well be Dany and her fleet setting sail for Westeros.

      Regarding Bran’s mark being the reason for the Wall to fall, it could happen, but I hope not. Surely, after enabling the NK to breach the cave’s magic, Bran himself would realize that the same thing could happen with the Wall. If that mark remains.

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    51. GeekFurious: They didn’t need to trick HBO. They already have the BIGGEST BUDGET EVER. It’s no ploy. They are streamlining the fuck out of ASOIAF in order to end the series quicker because they don’t want to spend the next decade having no social life. It’s that simple.

      Why would two, 10 episode seasons versus 6 episode have such an effect on their long term social life? They’d still be wrapping at the same time. Nobody mentioned another ten years.

      The fact is, in order to ensure the best possible quality show in terms of CGI etc for the upcoming bonanza, they’d still be extremely restricted with the huge budget they have already. That’s part of the reason they’re proposing to streamline the last seasons, they still have a limited budget- HBO doesn’t have an endless pot of money.

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    52. SaveTheWolves:
      Clob,

      The NK slapping the ground seemed to work pretty well physically!

      It didn’t do anything other than break the magic barrier of the cave though. The cave didn’t explode or collapse.

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    53. jinx47:
      Knowing the consequence, and I presume he would after meeting Benjen, WHY would Bran voluntarily cross the wall??? Or does that mean he is now permanently in the state of green seeing and somebody else takes him across the wall???

      Perhaps it’s his destiny. He needs to help the others in dealing with the WW, which might be difficult from north of the wall.

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    54. ash:
      Been wondering this since the mark first appeared on Bran – what would happen if his arm was cut off?I wouldn’t want that, but wondered if just removing the mark would stop the WW from doing more damage?

      I was thinking the same thing, in fact a couple of arm amputations may be called for including Ser Jorah’s… It’s his left arm after all. But especially hard for Bran given his low supply of functioning appendages.

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    55. Iain:
      Since we know that Bran will have more visions, does anyone think it would be possible for Bran to travel back in time to 3ER cave to complete his training, ask him about the mark etc?

      That would be quite the clever thing to do, but I don’t see it happening. Time is precious on this show.

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    56. ust a quick though everybody. In 605, the Night King splits the ice outside the cave in which Bran etc are. Now, people have suggested that this was totally random and intended to make the guy look badass, but I wonder if its more than that? Id suggest that the Night King is testing the ice to see how far his influence extends now that he has access to Bran following the marking of his arm and shattering of protective magic of the cave. Could this be a foreshadowing of his effect on the ice at the wall if/when Bran arrives there and passes through?

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    57. Clob: It didn’t do anything other than break the magic barrier of the cave though.The cave didn’t explode or collapse.

      But the Wall maybe…

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    58. The ToJ scene sounds like a boring finale; not a boring scene, don’t get me wrong, but not finale material.
      The WW breaching the Wall… no. That would be finale material alright, but it would probably be the end of Westeros, because really, who could fight them? No, I say this will be the season 7 finale.
      So, basically, no idea about what would make a decent finale this year.
      As for Bran, I liked the idea expressed previously that this means that there is a kind of psychic link between him and the NK. Why does this make me feel that Bran will not survive the end of the series?

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    59. To end this saga sooner rather than later, D&D are accelerating the reveal density per episode faster than viewers can process.

      By contrast, GRRM has been holding back reveals through volume 5, while increasing the hint and foreshadowing densities.

      Would that an equitable balance of hints, reveals, and thread conclusions prevail in show and books.

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    60. Gavin Dillon:
      ust a quick though everybody. In 605, the Night King splits the ice outside the cave in which Bran etc are. Now, people have suggested that this was totally random and intended to make the guy look badass, but I wonder if its more than that? Id suggest that the Night King is testing the ice to see how far his influence extends now that he has access to Bran following the marking of his arm and shattering of protective magic of the cave. Could this be a foreshadowing of his effect on the ice at the wall if/when Bran arrives there and passes through?

      Yep. EXACTLY what I thought. First it was “Oh, that was just to look cool.” But my subsequent viewings made me think there had to be a better reason for it… and came to the same conclusion. He is testing to see if the protection spell is broken.

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    61. I don’t think the mark will have much future significance either.

      I like going out on a limb, so here are a few of my theories/predictions. As they are purely my predictions I don’t think of these as spoilers, but if the mods feel they are, please feel free to delete this post.

      Personally I think the wall was actually created by the WW when they were beaten back to the north by Azor Ahai and company after The Long Night. After all, who best has the power to form ice into a 700′ tall, several hundred mile long wall than them? They built it as a last resort defense to keep from being completely obliterated. Then the WW waited thousands of years, rebuilding their strength, waiting for the right moment to attack again, perhaps during a time of great confusion and strife among men, and well after the very knowledge of their existence has faded into myth.

      I think the humans then set up forts and castles along the wall in case the WW showed up again, and – since we do know wights cannot cross the Wall – perhaps put some of their own spells on it that work to keep wights, and perhaps even WW from crossing through. Then, after thousands of years, knowledge of the true origin of the wall was lost.

      But perhaps the WW still have the power to destroy the Wall, and with it any minor human/CoF spells that may be on it. Maybe with the Horn, or not.

      I predict ToJ resolution in the last episode, but the very last shot/fade to black this season will be the wall coming down.

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    62. r-hard,

      Or it might be that it pertains only to the weirwood tree. There is no well-defined theory of magic here, so we can make only existential rather than universal statements. It is true that in at least one case, the NK’s touch via weirnet breaks down wards set up using weirwood tree magic. As Hume would warn us, we cannot extrapolate from there that this pertains to all magics!

      Sou: That would be quite the clever thing to do, but I don’t see it happening. Time is precious on this show.

      Also: Blinovitch limitation effect!

      Seriously, suppose that Bran did go back to watch himself in the cave. All he could do is watch himself in the cave. He might leave some vague trace of influence. However, this is not Doctor Who where Bran can physically travel 5th dimensionally.

      BR seemed to do as big of a data download as he could, and then make sure that Bran was where Bran needed to be for Hodor to get caught in a space time singularity. One key thing is that BR got Bran to Winterfell with some time to spare: and BR knew that Bran needed to be there.

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    63. I have a few questions …

      1) so if a place is protected by some form of anti white walker magic …like the cave was …then white walkers need to mark someone who is inside such place or is going to be in that place to know the exact location of that place …right?

      2) if that is case then …is wall is under such white walker spell. ..?? if it is then bran going on the other side would allow white walkers to cross too ..right?

      3) so if we assume 2) is true then ..probably three eyed raven knew about it …which would imply that three eyed raven actually wants white walkers to cross or destroy the wall ….else he would’ve asked bran not to go there …

      ..coz if the wall is barely the wall I don’t think it could stop white walkers …
      so there has to be some sorta magic right …and as soon as bran crosses the wall …that magic is gone ….so this means

      three eyed raven actually …is team white walker …??????????

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    64. pras:
      I have a few questions …

      1) so if a place is protected by some form of anti white walker magic …like the cave was …then white walkers need to mark someone who is inside such place or is going to be in that place to know the exact location of that place …right?

      2) if that is case then …is wall is under such white walker spell. ..?? if it is then bran going on the other side would allow white walkers to cross too ..right?

      3) so if we assume 2) is true then ..probablythree eyed raven knew about it …which would imply that three eyed raven actually wants white walkers to cross or destroy the wall ….else he would’ve asked bran not to go there …

      ..coz if the wall is barely the wall I don’t think it could stop white walkers …
      so there has to be some sorta magic right …and as soon as bran crosses the wall …that magic is gone ….so this means

      three eyed raven actually …is team white walker …??????????

      If that’s all he wanted, it would have been super easy to do it without Bran. No, he’s not team White Walkers. I think this is purely a show device to move the story forward quickly because D&D are in a hurry to go on vacation in 2018 or something. The mark will fade and lose its power… you watch.

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    65. Let’s not kill our readers any longer

      Actually, I think that at this point it would be killing any more readers. Do you have any stats on how many expired before you got to this?

      😀

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    66. Faridah,

      One who waits,

      Yes, it would certainly restrict his movement. But if the mark is such a horrible thing, would it be worth the sacrifice? Tho it is possible that its not the mark itself that is the problem; the magic is already done, and its Bran itself who is a danger to the wall the the realm. Hope Im wrong, and he’s able to figure something out while he is in his warg state…

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    67. onthefourthdaysnowroseagain:
      I said this before and I’ll say it one more time.If the mark on Bran is what the Night King needs to get through the wall then this is sloppy writing.Unless there is something uniquely important about Bran that gets them beyond the wall.There have been plenty of opportunities for the Night King to mark one of the night’s watchman in earlier seasons.How many crows have died that could have been used as the key to the wall?Plus, there is also the fact that the wall is fuckin’ big and they need to get over it.A bunch of dead henchmen can climb a ceiling in a tunnel layered in roots, but can they climb the wall?I’m really hoping the Nightfort becomes more integral to the story.It seems like it was going to in the book with Stanis having it rehabilitated.I’d love to see the Night King have to get through the gate at the Nightfort and then kill a bunch of Crows to open the door at Castle Black to let his army through.That would be much more satisfying and epic.

      Well, no, there was something special about his touching Bran: it happened in a greenseeing scenario. He didn’t physically touch his arm. If there was nobody else in greensight naive enough to let him creep up, then Bran was his first chance.

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    68. GeekFurious,

      Most of us were all distracted by Kit during the off-season, tbh. He could have been the “iron curtain” the show needed to do some major Robert’s Rebellion scenes and not get noticed

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    69. Shae’s Necklace:
      jinx47,

      Isn’t there a weirwood tree with a face on it, where Jon & Samwell took their Night’s Watch vows?Doesn’t Bran need one of those trees for his visions?Maybe Bran will inhabit that Tree and become a full fledged greenseer as opposed to a greenseer in training. So technically he never breaches the Wall.

      I’m still haunted by the way Jon and the Night’s King looked at one another at Hardhome. It was as if the Night’s King knew who Jon was, knew that they would meet again.

      I believe since he is already in the vision without the tree, he can’t get out of it and some portion of the next few episodes will be him green seeing and people around him trying to snap him out of it??? And hence somebody looking for the tree decides to take him to the nearest one to the wall and that way he crosses it. But I am curious to see whether and how “Bran in visions” responds to what is happening around him in the real life. Will he interact again the way he tragically did in the Door? That should be interesting.

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    70. QueenofKnowingNothing:
      GeekFurious,

      Most of us were all distracted by Kit during the off-season, tbh. He could have been the “iron curtain” the show needed to do some major Robert’s Rebellion scenes and not get noticed

      People out there looking for spoilers are looking for any and all spoilers. That’s what generates interest. If there was a major battle scene shot, we heard about it. They could maybe sneak in a small scene… like something with the Mad King.

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    71. pras: three eyed raven actually …is team white walker …??????????

      That seems improbable. Yes, he probably should have told Bran why Bran should not go out there alone. Of course, there probably are lots and lots of reasons besides “Don’t let the Night King touch you.” And, let’s face it: when do “adults” ever explain things to teenagers?

      That written, BR wanted Bran to know why the White Walkers were: he did not simply let Bran assume that the Walkers were “evil.” Instead, he busted another myth for Bran: doubly so in that he let Bran know that humans were the ones considered to be “evil” when the Walkers were created.

      That is going to be important, sure as anything.

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    72. Lindamon,

      To add to your list of WW/Wall characteristics, in the books

      there is a gate under the Wall which Bran and Sam traversed.

      One has to recite the NW vow before a face which resembles the faces in the Weirwood trees opens its mouth and lets the person through. Now that CotF are related to WWs, a gate through the Wall is related to CotF and WWs.

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    73. QueenofKnowingNothing: He could have been the “iron curtain” the show needed to do some major Robert’s Rebellion scenes and not get noticed

      The bigger question is: why would we need this? How would this affect any of the major characters’ impressions of him/herself (as well as our perceptions of them)?

      We can guess how Jon learning the truth of his parentage is going to affect him. They do not need any Robert’s Rebellion scenes for that.

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    74. When the White Walkers attacked the cave, the Night’s King touched the ground and created a small earthquake that cracked the ceiling of the cave and let the wights in. I wonder if he can do that on a larger scale to shatter the wall once Bran passes through it and breaks the magic that supports it.

      Without magic to support it, the wall doesn’t seem like it would be a stable structure. Even if it didn’t immediately collapse under its own weight, it would probably be knocked down by the first gust of wind (huge surface area). It is significantly thicker at the bottom than the top (based on the length of the tunnel), but not enough to make it a believable structure in a non-fantasy world, especially since it’s made of a material that melts at common temperatures. It’s a thing that really can’t plausibly exist without magic.

      If Bran’s mark dispels the magic, I think the wall will come down, and the CGI department will be earning a big paycheck. I think that would be a pretty badass season-ending shot.

      Alternatively, it might be interesting if it happened just before the battle of the bastards, and the White Walkers crashed the party, though I’m not sure how anyone in the north would survive in that scenario.

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    75. Wimsey,

      yes…you are right ……I agree with you …

      and perhaps three eyed raven knew that bran will meet someone soon (I’m sorry spoilers tags doesn’t work for so I hope you will understand I’m not using the name …))
      who would guide him further …….In the correct direction ….so maybe he didn’t deemed necessary to share that info…

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    76. Lumatrix: Turning off the Wall defences would be an obvious twist, but perhaps too obvious?

      I don’t think it would be too obvious – in fact I don’t think any of the regular watchers, meaning those who watch the show but don’t frequent sites like these or avidly read spoilers, would even DREAM of the WW having a way past the wall.

      I’ve been a fan of WotW for a couple of years now, trying to stop by at least once a day to see what’s going on. Even though I’ve read this theory of the Wall coming down or the WW coming through before, so that the theory is now no surprise, I still think it would be an amazing thing to see. Imagine how the sight of a massive army of wights amassed and coming through the Wall would blow the minds of the viewers who never once thought of that happening.

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    77. On the show being rushed…

      This is just bananas thinking. Really, are you viewers not paying attention to the series? This isn’t Dexter, a show where a season-unit is a largely contained story that only shifts things in the overall series (this character dies and is no longer around; that character is now in a worse mood). This has clearly, from the beginning, been a pre-plotted single narrative. Things are moving towards a resolution. Heck, in this season especially there’s been a remarkable culling of character groupings and consolidation of storylines. The following season will exist under different conditions. These final seasons will, in a way, be more like the first, where it feels like a more tightly held narrative (vs. the middle expansion, which led to a lot of individual storylines seeming rushed to keep the overall story propulsive).

      D&D simply could not expand the story endlessly even if they wanted to do so. How would that even work? It makes no sense. And to not know what is planned for the narrative and yet to state that 13 episodes (or whatever) is not enough is pretty ignorant. It’s not that it’s impossible that the ending will be rushed, but still there is absolutely no basis for assuming it will be as of this moment. It seems to me, conversely, like things are lining up and that there is a real time limit on this. That is, something like 13 episodes sounds entirely natural.

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    78. Gavin Dillon: Now, people have suggested that this was totally random and intended to make the guy look badass, but I wonder if its more than that? Id suggest that the Night King is testing the ice to see how far his influence extends now that he has access to Bran following the marking of his arm and shattering of protective magic of the cave. Could this be a foreshadowing of his effect on the ice at the wall if/when Bran arrives there and passes through?

      Yes, most definitely. There was no other reason for some ice to shatter near the door of the cave. He was shattering the magic of the cave. In a similar way, he may shatter the magic of the Wall. The first time, BloodRaven is still inside the cave and he wasn’t marked. Presumably, he and the CotF, still had some magic, against which the NK seemed to have power. Imagine the Wall with no BR, no CotF, only Bran and his mark……. 😀

      Marlana: To end this saga sooner rather than later, D&D are accelerating the reveal density per episode faster than viewers can process.

      As a viewer, I honestly don’t think so. I am reveling in the pace, and the meaty discussions that follow, and the immediate rewatchability factor of the episodes. Picking up on more an more things as I rewatch. I do understand that for book readers, who have analyzed the material for decades, all this influx of beyond-the-books stuff can seem overwhelming.

      Off-Topic Otto: Well, no, there was something special about his touching Bran: it happened in a greenseeing scenario. He didn’t physically touch his arm. If there was nobody else in greensight naive enough to let him creep up, then Bran was his first chance.

      Agreed. In the vision when Bran was marked, he seemed to think that because he had greensight, he was very powerful and no one could see him as he sauntered through the Wights to take a closer look at WWs. He very seriously underestimated the strength of his enemy. Any other greenseer would probably have immediately hidden as soon as he saw the WWs.

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    79. Wimsey,

      nd, let’s face it: when do “adults” ever explain things to teenagers?

      Or if they do, when to teenagers listen

      GeekFurious,

      I think this is purely a show device to move the story forward quickly because D&D are in a hurry to go on vacation in 2018 or something

      no. Tho the idea that the mark fades away is intriguing.

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    80. ash: Or if they do, when to teenagers listen

      So, if nobody speaks and nobody is listening, you have parent-teenage relationships. That sounds right to me.

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    81. What about the earthquake power that the NK used to destroy the tree. If he can ramp that up a few notches, could it take down a wall?

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    82. onthefourthdaysnowroseagain:

      I said this before and I’ll say it one more time.If the mark on Bran is what the Night King needs to get through the wall then this is sloppy writing.Unless there is something uniquely important about Bran that gets them beyond the wall.

      You have seen what Bran can do? I’d say the most powerful greenseer who ever lived is a pretty damn unique quality to say the least.

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    83. Kay: I do understand that for book readers, who have analyzed the material for decades, all this influx of beyond-the-books stuff can seem overwhelming.

      I think that the bigger problem for book readers (and this happens with new books in series all the time) is when things did not turn out as they expected. The difference is that here the book fans can comfort themselves that Winter will have (say) Jon warging into Ghost (or just being dead), the Old Gods reviving Jon, Jon coming back as Azor Ahai with booming voice and steam rising from his footprints, Stannis defeating the Boltons and writing the Pink Letter, Roose being a vampire, etc., etc.

      (After all, that is what many Harry Potter fans did with the first five films: they knew all of the things cut from those movies were going to be incredibly important in the final book, and boy would Kloves and Heyman look dumb then! Whoops….)

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    84. onthefourthdaysnowroseagain: There have been plenty of opportunities for the Night King to mark one of the night’s watchman in earlier seasons.

      There have been zero opportunities for the NK to connect to a Crow via the magic that might have been used to ward the Wall.

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    85. Suitably Ironic: What about the earthquake power that the NK used to destroy the tree. If he can ramp that up a few notches, could it take down a wall?

      Westeros clearly has tectonic activity. Yet the Wall still stands. Indeed, Joe and Jane Viewer have to be thinking that there is something supernatural holding the Wall together given that it does not routinely bury Castle Black. After all, any minor earthquakes would be adequate to do that. Indeed, just normal melting would do that: but it doesn’t.

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    86. GeekFurious,

      They could simply pass over the reins to some other writers instead. That’s counter productive if that’s their mentality. Some of the plots they have deviated to have been total blasphemy so I don’t think its such a bad thing. House bad pussy a prime example, no logic or thoughts of repercussions. Classic Hollywood writers. HBO would have gave them every thing to keep this on the network. They could have divided up the seasons to different writers, so they can go enjoy the beach of that’s the problem.

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    87. Wimsey,

      The Wall just standing should indicate some magic is in play.. actually it is physically impossible for it to stand other wise.. It is simply to high, long and narrow.

      Now I know this is a fantasy story….but I think the laws of gravity are still the same..

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    88. Others have said this, but it wouldn’t make sense for Bran’s arm to become the key.

      First, hbo.com lists the Night King as 12,000 years old. In 12,000 years, he couldn’t manage to touch a single person who would ever move south of the wall? Seriously?

      Second, the magic of the wall and the magic of the cave can’t be the same. The wights could not exist in the cave at all until the mark was used as a breach. They exploded upon attempting to enter. Wights can definitely move south of the wall. They attacked Jon and Jeor in Castle Black back in season 1.

      The problem with the wall doesn’t seem to be that it magically keeps out the army of the dead. The problem is its a wall. It’s simple enough to get one or two people past it but pretty difficult to pass an army.

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    89. Wimsey: So, if nobody speaks and nobody is listening, you have parent-teenage relationships.That sounds right to me.

      That pretty sums up puberty…

      I dread the day my daughters hit it.

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    90. I really don’t see there being any other climax to the season other than the wall falling.

      The WWs were clearly close to BRs cave when Bran was touched by the NK… They appeared a few minutes after his vision, as Meera and Hodor we’re only starting to make preparations to leave when the attack happened. So that means they were waiting there OR they were presumably headed back to the wall after their victory at Hardhome.

      My point is, that the WWs now have nothing else to do other than advance on the Wall. And now it seems they have the power to breach it or bring it down, by virtue of Brans mark or in some other way. The NK has disabled the magic of the cave allowing them to penetrate it…that’s clear foreshadowing for the same to happen at the wall.

      Added to that, IIRC we had the reports from the WF set that in ep 10 Wun Wun is anxiously trying to get inside the walls of WF due to some threat outside. So, if the wall falls and there is some kind of resultant earthquake before/during, perhaps this is why.

      I really can’t see the revelation of Jons parentage being the very last scene of S6, it’s just not big enough. The wall falling is a HUGE cliffhanger and it’s high time it happened.

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    91. Marlana,

      Since you put yours in spoiler brackets, I will attempt the same. If it doesn’t work, I apologize for my lack of technical expertise!

      Yes, that passage is where I got the notion wights could not cross the Wall, as Coldhands was unable to go south of the Wall, and was pretty obviously a wight. Also that that particular spell was one from men and/or CoF. I believe those spells were added later, after the Wall was completed, after the CoF realized they had created a more powerful and unpredictable weapon than they had realized.

      Someone else pointed out the wights that attacked Jon and Jorah Mormont were south of the Wall in Castle Black, so that means either the spell just affects Coldhands for some unspecified reason, or – my guess is – if you bring a wight south of the Wall yourself, as the bodies were brought in by the Nights Watch men, they can cross it that way.

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    92. From the NK’s perspective, even though he is on a roll, taking over Hardhome and weirnet central, he has seen/felt his deputies succumb to Jon (via valyrian steel), Sam (obsidian) and Meera (obsidian) and obviously felt the growing power of Bran. I wonder if he has made the Stark connection yet? (Both Jon and Bran have narrowly escaped his advances)

      I think the NK does have Stark roots…and the rationale behind the CotF’s choice for their empowered Frankenstein is yet to be revealed!

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    93. Do you honestly see there being more than one season of the White Walker invasion? I think the Wall falling will logically be season 7 finally material with 6 full episodes of the invasion in season 8 being more than enough.

      I think Bran may try or possibly even succeed in purging the Night’s King’s mark before passing under the Wall. Otherwise that would be his second major screw up, and you have to believe the character is smarter than that. That said, I’m fairly sure we will get another look at the White Walkers this season, this time amassing just north of the Wall.

      The mark of the Night’s King has been set up now, and that’s going to be their way south. But I think season 6 will be far too early for that with an 8 season already confirmed. I think the Tower of Joy will be the final scene, and that it’ll happen when Bran returns to the Winterfell godswood.

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    94. well, In my opinion this (the Knights King) will be way to simplistic if Bran is the reason the wall comes down….i think there will be more to it otherwise the wall would have came down a long time ago….if this happened will be very disappointed as this will show clear lack of creativity on part of D&D.

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    95. Mihnea: Now I know this is a fantasy story….but I think the laws of gravity are still the same..

      Bran would seem to provide evidence of that!

      Beer Island: House bad pussy a prime example, no logic or thoughts of repercussions. Classic Hollywood writers.

      Or classic human behavior. Besides, it has since become clear that Ellaria had arranged the repercussions very well. In a sense, Doran was the one who ignored repercussions: he ignored the possible side-effects of publically putting up with insults to his house from the Lannisters. One thing that Thrones has developed well is that this sort of dishonorable behavior is not tolerated. Doran and Balon both have lost support for their families because of it now.

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    96. Casso:
      When the White Walkers attacked the cave, the Night’s King touched the ground and created a small earthquake that cracked the ceiling of the cave and let the wights in.I wonder if he can do that on a larger scale to shatter the wall once Bran passes through it and breaks the magic that supports it.

      Yeah, that was my first thought.

      Maybe he’ll sense that Bran has crossed the Wall and he’ll gather all his White Walkers to help on the task. Magical or not, it IS a huge wall made of ice and stone.

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    97. ICE DRAGON:
      well, In my opinion this (the Knights King) will be way to simplistic if Bran is the reason the wall comes down….i think there will be more to it otherwise the wall would have came down a long time ago….if this happenedwill be very disappointed as this will show clear lack of creativity on part of D&D.

      Again, Bran was marked in greensight. We don’t know that NK had any such opportunities previously. Bran’s possibly unprecedented power paired with naiveté may have been his first and only chance for all we know.

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    98. Off-Topic Otto: Again, Bran was marked in greensight. We don’t know that NK had any such opportunities previously. Bran’s possibly unprecedented power paired with naiveté may have been his first and only chance for all we know.

      I can’t help but wonder how much Bran and his greensight may have been warped by that “touch” and subsequent mark. As others have implied, is it the greensight version of greyscale? Will Bran be restricted from breaching the wall by the very magic that prevents the WWs from crossing? Was there a mutual transmission of insight via that intimate moment between Bran and NK (his possible ancestor)? Did BR and the CotF actually setup and encourage this meeting of the minds?

      I also can’t help but notice that Bran’s mental invasion of Hodor (to save himself) happened after he was touched/marked by the NK.

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    99. Hodors Bastard: I think the NK does have Stark roots…and the rationale behind the CotF’s choice for their empowered Frankenstein is yet to be revealed!

      heh, well, the problem with that would be that after 100’s of years, Bran and Jon would be no more closely related to whomever the Night King was than anybody else! I suppose one could point to Bran and a shared X-chromosome, but probably not to Jon.

      But, really, the idea that the Stark family as it is known now could have been present back then is really nuts. Don’t the books suggest that the old tales were rewritten to include “old” family names? It is not dissimilar to, say, Julius Caesar’s family claiming that they were descended from one of Venus’ (Aphrodite’s) children: and everyone accepting it as true!

      Hodors Bastard: Did BR and the CotF actually setup and encourage this meeting of the minds?

      Given that the Children all died pretty horribly, I would doubt that. I think that this might be more a parallel to the Tower of Joy. There, Bran saw that the story of his father’s victory has been embellished. Here, Bran saw that the Walkers were not some ancient evil, but a failed defense against a more ancient evil. Really, I think that the most important lesson in this for Bran is that humans are the problem! After all, Bran starts to learn something like this in Dragons, too: but only the first steps towards this.

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    100. Lindamon,

      Everything you mentioned is part of the magic built into the wall. One of the reveals held back is a complete account of all the magic properties of the wall and all its gates. Another held back reveal is who/what put which magic factors into which parts of the wall. And why at the time of magic.

      And what other critters, if any, lie dormant in the wall. And, as some have claimed, where the refrigeration units exist. (The wall does melt.)

      So we are not really able to say who can cross the wall and under what circumstances. Interesting to read here the ideas posters put forward.

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    101. Marlana: And what other critters, if any, lie dormant in the wall.

      heh, I can see it now. There will be dinosaurs frozen into the Wall. They will wake up, and then the final story will be about White Walkers, Children, Giants and humans all pitching in to avoid getting eaten by Indominus rex. (And Bran getting a vision of how the Children scooped up dinosaurs from the past as an attempt to deal with the thing the invented to deal with the magic that they created to deal with the forests they created to deal with the White Walkers that they created to deal with the humans.)

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    102. Wimsey: Given that the Children all died pretty horribly, I would doubt that.

      I think BR and the CotF were prepared to die. BR was doing his best to download The World of Ice and Fire into Bran’s cortex. I wonder how far he got before the weirlink was interrupted?

      Wimsey: the problem with that would be that after 100’s of years, Bran and Jon would be no more closely related to whomever the Night King was than anybody else!

      I think there is a reasonably exploitable link there, especially since there is also the AA mystique, Rhllor involvement, Targ blood, and massive greensight/warging capability intertwined within these Starks.

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    103. If Bran’s mark would allow the Others through the Wall, why did they try to kill him? I get why they’d come to the cave and smoke him out, but they are very convincingly trying to get to Bran and end him. It seems to me that, in this case, they wouldn’t have needed the wight army and that they could have just chased Bran out of the cave and maintained distant pursuit.

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    104. Beer Island,

      If you want the show to crash and burn sure you could do that,name one tv show that changed showrunners and remained good,come on,i’m waiting ! Also i’m really tired of the lame bad pussy argument,why don’t you say anything about the beatiful writing from last episode ending,the only thing that came from Gurm was Hodor’s name,the rest was all D&D,but no of course book purists only thrive on negativity and misery,well their misery that is .

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    105. Wimsey: heh, I can see it now.There will be dinosaurs frozen into the Wall.They will wake up, and then the final story will be about White Walkers, Children, Giants and humans all pitching in to avoid getting eaten by Indominus rex.(And Bran getting a vision of how the Children scooped up dinosaurs from the past as an attempt to deal with the thing the invented to deal with the magic that they created to deal with the forests they created to deal with the White Walkers that they created to deal with the humans.)

      Actually, some claim there are ice dragons and ice spiders in the wall, waiting for release to fight the humans as the flesh dragons in Dragonstone’s walls await release for their battles.

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    106. Hodors Bastard: I also can’t help but notice that Bran’s mental invasion of Hodor (to save himself) happened after he was touched/marked by the NK.

      I can’t help but think that BR led Bran straight into the Hodor incident after BR realized that the NK was coming. BR insisted on another deep dive into the network despite the fact that they had better things to be doing, like getting the fuck out of Dodge. BR took Bran to that very place in time, that scene with Wylis, and we assume that BR knew this point in time well given his knowing look to Bran when Bran asks about Hodor being able to talk in a previous episode. Within the network, BR even pushes Bran to listen to Meera when she tells Bran to warg into Hodor.

      I don’t believe that BR is evil, but I think he knew that the Hodor incident had to be completed before he (BR) left this world. I’m not sure why, but it does seem quite deliberate.

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    107. Pizdainpula: If you want the show to crash and burn sure you could do that,name one tv show that changed showrunners and remained good,come on,i’m waiting !

      Doctor Who has changed Showrunners 10 times now.

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    108. Marlana: Actually, some claim there are ice dragons and ice spiders in the wall, waiting for release to fight the humans as the flesh dragons in Dragonstone’s walls await release for their battles.

      Fans or characters on the show/books? There is a big difference between what fans imagine and what M,B&W imagine! After all, this season has been a fan theory mass-extinction event, after all: but always for fan theories that were based on what fans imagined might be happening rather than what Martin, Benioff and/or Weiss showed us that they were imagining.

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    109. Pizdainpula:
      Ginevra,

      How do you know they are trying to kill him,did we see any wight actually trying to strike him because i don’t remember ?

      The wight army suffered major losses – and they even lost an Other – in their attempt to get to Bran. I assume that wasn’t to invite Bran to a tea party. If the only goal was to drive Bran from the cave, they could have just stood outside the cave without any losses. That would have been enough.

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    110. Ginevra: I don’t believe that BR is evil, but I think he knew that the Hodor incident had to be completed before he (BR) left this world. I’m not sure why, but it does seem quite deliberate.

      It’s basically no different than what happens with Babylon 4 in the Babylon 5 series: this will happen because what is happening now happens because it did happen. Oh, it might not happen the same way in every time line: but BR no doubt had seen that this is where Hodor was made and that this would be critical to getting Bran to where he is.

      At any rate, calling that “good” or “evil” is sort of meaningless. Indeed, to a supralapsarian, this is completely within the context of a moral universe.

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    111. The main reason I dislike this Bran’s-actions-cause-the-Wall-to-fall theory is that letting the Others through the Wall would negate any good that Bran could possibly do afterward. They wouldn’t have needed to stop the Night’s King if Bran hadn’t broken the Wall in the first place. Bran wouldn’t just be culpable for Hodor but for hundreds of thousands of deaths.

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    112. Ginevra,

      Yeah, it certainly would be viewed that way.

      I still think that Ramsay is going to wipe out the Watch, and that will lead to the Walkers getting through.

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    113. Ginevra: BR took Bran to that very place in time, that scene with Wylis, and we assume that BR knew this point in time well given his knowing look to Bran when Bran asks about Hodor being able to talk in a previous episode.

      I love it! It gives me the chills thinking of the possible BR manipulation during Bran’s final bit of greenseeing. BR (a Targ with a mage’s perspective) would have been used by the CotF to thwart the next WW invasion. BR would protect his investment in Bran at any cost and the CotF and BR sacrificed themselves, delaying the wights and WWs a few seconds to allow Hodor to hold the door. I also think BR has another (posthumous) gift to Bran and Meera in the coming episode.

      But the mark and NK link that Bran now has is nagging on me. A possible intentional link to empower Bran’s insight perhaps, or curse him by causing many more deaths throughout the land?

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    114. Marlana,

      Yes, I agree, I am just positing my guesswork at what magics and rules may be part of it all. Having said that, I am not one to get bogged down too much in the finer details of a fantasy, or a nazi on the world’s creator(s) adhering to every part of the rules that are given or implied. Just looking for some clues on what the big missing backstory might be! 😉

      I also think that the Night’s King might indeed be the original Bran Stark. That would tie into Bran being the builder of the Wall, only as a WW and not a human, and in 8000 years the actual story has been forgotten, with only rumors and myth remaining.

      I definitely don’t think matters are entirely as they seem, or that the stories of the past as we know them now are entirely correct! 🙂

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    115. Ginevra:
      The main reason I dislike this Bran’s-actions-cause-the-Wall-to-fall theory is that letting the Others through the Wall would negate any good that Bran could possibly do afterward.They wouldn’t have needed to stop the Night’s King if Bran hadn’t broken the Wall in the first place.Bran wouldn’t just be culpable for Hodor but for hundreds of thousands of deaths.

      How so? That really depends on whether the ultimate “good” act once he gets south of the wall is instrumental in the downfall of the WWs, and outweighs the devastation that their invasion causes (which I suspect it will).

      His significance in the war to come is becoming more and more evident, and I get the feeling their invasion of the 7 kingdoms (although an inevitability), is an essential part of Brans destiny- as catastrophic as that may be.

      And it’s clear that the COTF/BR knew all of this. They knew he wouldn’t be staying in that cave, BR knew he’d been touched by the NK without being present in the vision, so they must have known what Brans destiny would be.

      Hell, BR has been in that tree for 100 years or so, learning what is to come, and this is why he and the COTF were willing to sacrifice themselves for Brans escape when the time came- he needs to get to where his destiny dictates- no matter what the price.

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    116. Lindamon,

      I agree that I want to know the backstory – the true backstory, without fussing too much over picayune conflicting details.

      And I agree that whatever we read and view is not necessarily the real historical truth. People lie, people get it wrong, people only see a part of it.

      We just try to work with it and synthesize it a credible whole.

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    117. Clob,

      I’m thinking about the way it “cracked” the frozen ground. Doing the same to the Wall could trigger avalanche, collapsing type situation.

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    118. Wimsey,

      When the NK threw down that punch to the ground it only knocked down some rocks at the entrance not completely destroy the cave so the wall…well I don’t think they will bring it down but if Meera and “maybe Bengen” get Bran through the tunnels not just at castle black but some of the other unmaned castles surrounding the wall as the magic may be weakened regarding the Nk touch then there will be problems…time will tell

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    119. And hell why i’m at it I don’t see why D&D could take two years break let GRRM catch up a bit maybe even release WOW, then get a good start on the last book ADOS.
      Two yeas would give the actors to free up chase other projects, give the book purists a bone, and all can reevaluate as to where they want the ending direction to go. two years will not age up the main characters to much as to where they are all at right now, Its a win win, and maybe we would get two last remaining seasons with the depth and freshness they need to complete a truly remarkable feat of TV.

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    120. Regarding the Mark on Bran’s Hand.

      As many say that bran cannot enter thru the wall, which will collapse as he has been marked by the Night’s King.

      What will happen if he can fly over the wall ? ( the three eyed raven did promise that he’ll fly )

      Or

      Bran can march upto Craster’s keep and either go west towards westwatch by the bridge or go east to eastwatch by the sea and travel around the wall thereby saving the magic of the wall.

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    121. loolaa,

      Yeah,you’re living in dreamland,sure let’s stop a very successful tv show just because the author is so fucking lazy he needs decades to finish a book,no,and besides the books won’t ever be finished no matter how much time they wait .

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    122. I am not entirely sure if the wall will come down…i think it is possible the night king might create a wedge in the wall or attack the wall but the battle for Dawn should ideally take place at the wall..in the house of undying Dany sees the wall..in the Bran flashback he sees wildfire and dragons so there has to be place that is contained where a final battle can take place ..the wall is the best place, otherwise every part the walker touch will be wiped out completely and it will be very difficult to conclude the series when most of the residents of westeros are dead( one thing is for sure no one from the north would survive if the wall comes down entirely)…

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