We’ve been through eight seasons, countless battles, a war that lasted lifetimes. Kings and queens have risen, and they have fallen. All leading us right here, to the bitter end. HBO’s Game of Thrones is over, the people of Westeros have spoken, and here’s who ended up on the throne.

All hail Brandon the Broken, First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, and Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms—make that six, as the North has officially seceded from the kingdom.

Well, this was… unexpected.

Against all odds, the Three-Eyed Raven has taken the throne—thanks to a well-placed suggestion from Tyrion Lannister, and whatever passes for representational democracy nowadays. Literally no one saw this coming. Well, except Bran, I guess. But maybe we should have. After all, Bran is the first point-of-view character in A Game of Thrones, the first book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. The story literally begins with him; it kind of makes sense that it ends with him, too.

Bran started out as a young boy, learning how to become a Stark leader and make tough, complex choices. The very first scene he’s in shows him being forced to watch his father, Ned Stark, execute a brother of the Night’s Watch for desertion. Then, everything changed at the end of the series premiere, when Jaime Lannister pushed him out a window.

This paralyzed Bran from the waist down but also awakened some amazing abilities. As a warg, he could transmit his consciousness into any animal and even some people. As a greenseer, he could see into the past, present, and future of Westeros. But it took a while for these powers to grow. Before then, Bran spent time as the “little lord” of Winterfell—with the help and guidance of Maester Lewin, who saw great things in him. Then, Theon Greyjoy temporarily seized Winterfell in order to impress his family, and Bran, Rickon, Osha, and Hodor were forced to flee. North of the Wall, Bran encountered another greenseer named Jojen Reed and trained with the Three-Eyed Raven. Eventually, Bran replaced him.

When Bran returned to Winterfell, we found him a changed man. Someone who’d given up his name, his title, and his connection to humanity. He was no longer Brandon Stark. He was now the Three-Eyed Raven, arguably the most powerful person in Westeros. Is it any wonder he was chosen to rule?

He’s strong like a Stark, and wise like a raven. He doesn’t even need a Master of Whisperers, as he already has an army of actual “little birds” he can control at any time. He can look into the future to see where their current path could take them, and call upon the wisdom of history to prevent people from repeating the same mistakes. If things get really bad, he can even go into the past and issue a do-over. Although that can come with consequences, like when he went into Hodor’s past self and caused him severe mental trauma.

But, most of all, he’s someone who doesn’t want the job, because he doesn’t want anything. He’s exactly the person Varys was looking for, even if he didn’t realize it yet. Bran is a man without desire. Therefore, he’s a man that can’t be taken advantage of. You could argue that one needs passion, guts, and instincts to rule a kingdom. But after centuries of fire, ice, and everything in between, the people of Westeros were apparently ready for someone else.

They were ready for Summer.


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About the author

Beth Elderkin

Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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