Where Did We Leave Off With Bran Stark On Game Of Thrones?

Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO
Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) only gets to be a carefree, curious boy for about half an episode in season 1 of Game of Thrones. His destiny is forever changed after he sees Jaime and Cersei Lannister canoodling through a tower window. Desperate to protect himself, Jaime sends the young Stark plunging to the ground. Though Bran loses control of his legs, he unlocks his psychic abilities. Bran may not be a warrior like his sister, Arya, but he's a warg — and that's pretty cool, too.
While Bran's far-flung siblings get involved with present-day Westerosi politics, Bran delves deeper into his family's history and the lore of the North. In fact, Bran's visions are instrumental to understanding the system his siblings are operating within. Sitting in his secluded cave North of the wall, Bran taps into a history older than Lannisters, the Targaryens, the Starks, and their wars. Bran's knowledge may be instrumental in facing off against the greatest threat of all: White Walkers.
While studying with the Three-Eyed Raven in season 6, Bran has revelations about his family's lineage, the origins of White Walkers, and Hodor's tragic backstory.
Here's your Bran Stark refresher before the season 7 Game of Thrones premieres on Sunday, July 16.
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A reminder: Bran Stark has two magical powers.

Bran's a super seer.

He has the "Greensight," or the ability to portend the future through dreams. His powers of Sight are stronger than other seers, like Jojen Reed. In addition to observing the past, he's also able to influence the past, as we see with the Wylis/Hodor transformation.

Bran's also a warg, or a human who can control the body of an animal as if it were his own. After becoming paralyzed, Bran frequently dreams of his dire wolf, Summer, prowling through the woods. In those moments, he's actually warging through Summer. Later on, he controls Summer as a weapon. Bran's also able to enter into the minds of humans, like Hodor.
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At the start of season 6, Bran's living in a tree house (literally).

Bran's dreams of the Three-Eyed Raven have been occurring ever since Jaime Lannister pushed him from the tower in the first episode of season 1. In Bran's dreams, the raven urges him toward some undisclosed location. Well, after teaming up with fellow seer Jojen Reed and his sister Meera, Bran finally completes a multi-season journey to the weirwood tree where the Three-Eyed Raven lives with the Children of the Forest.

As it turns out, the Three-Eyed Raven is actually an old man who's forged to the base of an ancient weirwood tree. He becomes Bran's mentor, and takes him to the limits of his greensight.
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Jojen Reed sacrifices himself to the Bran Stark cause.

Jojen Reed completes his mission of bringing Bran to the Three-Eyed Raven, but doesn't live to see what happens next. As the group approaches the weirwood tree, they're attacked by a group of wights. Jojen is stabbed. Meera, his sister, slits his throat to ease his death.

Leaf, a Child of the Forest, brings them into the enchanted cave, protected from wights by the Children's magic.

Meera grieves Jojen's death, and is frustrated by the slow pace of Bran's studies.
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What's the significance of the weirwood trees?

Weirwoods are a species of tree found throughout Westeros known for their white bark and crimson leaves. Some weirwoods are located in the center of a Godswood, or places of worship, and are decorated with carved faces. These are known as heart trees.

Each time Bran touches a weirwood tree during his journey north, he experiences a series of visions. Osha explains to Bran that weirwood trees watch out for those who still believe in the old gods.

"They see you, boy. They hear you. Your brother will get no help from them where he's going. The old gods got no power in the South. The weirwoods there were cut a long time ago. How can they watch when they have no eyes?" she says.

Some, like Osha, think the old gods are the weirwood trees themselves. The Children of the Forest keep watch through the faces they carved into heart trees.
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Important vision: The origin of the White Walkers, revealed.

Let's set the scene. During their studies, Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven leave Westerosi politics behind and travel to a large field some time in pre-history. In the field, large stones are arranged in a spiral pattern with a weirwood tree at the center. A group of the Children speak amongst themselves, while a shirtless man is tied to the tree.

Leaf, one of the Children, stabs the struggling captive with a sharp rock. Instead of dying, here's the kicker: The man's eyes turn light blue, the giveaway trait of a White Walker in addition to their glowing, icy skin. This man becomes the first White Walker.
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Why would the Children create the White Walkers?

Good question. Bran's just as alarmed as we are. When he wakes up from his warg trip, Bran confronts Leaf as to why she and her fellow Children created the race of creatures currently tormenting the North.

"We were at war. We were being slaughtered, our sacred trees cut down," Leaf tells him. "We needed to defend ourselves."

"From who?" Bran asks.

"From you," Leaf says. "From man."

Though the White Walkers began as weapons to help the Children protect their weirwood trees and their magic, as we know the icy creatures morphed into something else entirely.
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Bran inadvertently makes contact with the Night King.

After discovering the origins of the White Walkers, Bran rebels from the instruction of the Three-Eyed Raven and connects to the weirwood tree. He sees a large army of wights and White Walkers spread before him. The Night King touches Bran and leaves a mark on his arm, thus gaining knowledge of Bran's location.

The cave's magic can't protect them any longer. The White Walkers are coming.
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The White Walkers arrive at an inconvenient hour.

The White Walker army storms the enchanted tree while Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven are in a trip to the past. They're watching a young Ed Stark make preparations to depart Winterfell for the Vale. Among the people of Winterfell, Bran also spots Hodor as a child. Back then, Hodor was called Wylis, and his vocabulary was more than just "hodor."

Bran doesn't awaken from his vision when the army comes. The voice of Meera intercepts Bran's vision of the past, urging Bran to warg into Hodor. Bran listens and wargs into Hodor at both points in Hodor's timeline. Both the middle-aged Hodor in the cave and the young Wylis in the vision submit to Bran's mental ministrations.
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A Hodor is born, and a Hodor dies.

Things get timey-wimey here. In the present, Meera carries Bran's body and yells at Hodor to hold the door from the onslaught of White Walkers. She screams, "Hold the door" over and over. Bran relinquishes control of Wylis' mind, but by then it's too late. He hears echoes of Meera's desperate plea, and begins screaming "hold the door" repeatedly as well. Wylis' mind collapses in on itself, and he becomes a man chained forever to a single directive.

Present-day Hodor does manage to hold the door and give Bran and Meera time to escape. But he's subsumed by wights.
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Leaf and the Three-Eyed Raven are no more.

Meera and Bran are the only individuals who get out alive. When the Night King enters the cave, he immediately kills the Three-Eyed Raven.

Like Hodor, Leaf dies trying to prevent the onslaught of wights.
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Benjen Stark saves the day.

Meera and Bran flee the cave, but the wights aren't far behind. Out of the blue (or white), a hooded figure arrives and vanquishes the wights with a flaming chain. Pretty cool, eh?

After the man removes his hood, Bran's shocked to discover his savior is his uncle Benjen Stark. Benjen, a former ranger for the Night's Watch, was presumed dead after his horse returned from a mission north of the wall, but Benjen didn't.

As it turns out, a Child of the Forest inserted dragonstone into Benjen's heart and prevented him from becoming a wight. Though alive, he cannot pass below the Wall.
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There's a new Three-Eyed Raven in town.

Benjen informs Bran of his new destiny. Now that the old Three-Eyed Raven is dead, Bran will take over the role. He leads Bran and Meera to a weirwood, where, presumably, Bran will make his Three-Eyed Raven nest.

Bran places his hand on the weirwood and has the season's most important vision.
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Important vision: The birth of Jon Snow.

Earlier in the season, Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven traveled to the Tower of Joy and watched a young Ed Stark battle some guards.

At last, Bran finds out what his father was doing at that isolated tower. Bounding to the top of the tower, Ned finds his sister, Lyanna Stark, in a blood-soaked bed.

Months earlier, Lyanna had been engaged to Robert Baratheon, but then was abducted by Rhaegar Targaryen, son of King Aerys II Targaryen. Rhaegar's abduction spurred a war, and resulted in Robert Baratheon taking over the Iron Throne (the event we call "Robert's Rebellion"). Lyanna has just given birth to Rhaegar's child.

Weak from a difficult childbirth, Lyanna begs Ned to keep her newborn son safe from Robert Baratheon. Baratheon had already killed Rhaegar's two children with Elia Martell — what would stop him from killing another? As we've figured out, Ned takes the baby home and raises him as his own bastard son, Jon Snow.
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What comes next for Bran?

Will Bran spend another season attached to a tree? Will he be able to fly throughout Westeros as the Three-Eyed Raven? Will he make contact with his siblings? Will he exhume more skeletons from of the Stark family closet? Will Meera get desperately bored? Will he intervene in Westerosi politics, like his brothers and sisters? Will he continue to influence the past?

Most important: How will he cope without Hodor?

Alas, since we are not seers like Bran, we'll have to wait until season 7 to get our answers.
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