Bran Stark has changed a lot over the years since Game of Thrones started, and not just because actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright was only 10 years old when it all began. In the last season, Bran has transformed from an earnest young man to the emotionless, all-knowing Three-Eyed Raven, with all the explosive Iron Throne intel that comes along with it.
So how does Hempstead-Wright feel about the big shift? Read on.
This seems like an ideal time for you. The season is done but you don’t have the scripts for the next season yet, so no one can bug you about what will happen.
This is the golden period where I can theorise with everyone else. The second I get the scripts, it’s like, ohhhh man, I can’t make any theories.
Your character has obviously changed a lot over the years. Do you approach the acting differently at all?
Definitely. I had a meeting with our producers David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] before we started shooting, and they said we want it to be a little like Dr Manhattan from the Watchmen comics. This idea of Bran’s mind simultaneously existing all over history - never in one place at one time. Whenever he’s sitting anywhere he’s living through so many different timelines. But one of the key things is we wanted to make sure it didn’t just become boring and monotonous because when you’ve got a character whose delivery is just straight, it can become very boring to watch. So we really wanted to [capture] that slight glimmer of mystery or a personality that’s still there.
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It’s interesting because he knows so much, but he’s a little stingy about telling people what he knows.
That’s the thing, though. Bran doesn’t exactly know everything. It’s a bit ambiguous. It’s like he’s got a Kindle library of everything in his head but he hasn’t read through it all yet. Whereas the other Three-Eyed Raven has sat in a tree for 1,000 years and has been able to look it all up and now knows it all by heart. Bran doesn’t yet, so it’s not like he’s withholding information, it’s just that he doesn’t know where to look yet.
What an amazing scene. That would have been helpful.
Since you can theorise now, I want to talk about what it would be like for Bran to meet up with Jaime Lannister. Do you think he’d forgive Jaime for paralysing him?
So I think it would be interesting to see his reaction to the child he tried to murder unsuccessfully and see just how terrifying he’s become. Not that Bran would ever use his powers to kill Jaime or do any harm to him, but I think that would certainly freak Jaime out to think, “oh god, what have I done?” I reckon that would play on his conscience a bit.
I understand you’re aware of all the memes. Are you at the point where you see something in a script and think: Oh yeah, that’s going to end up on Twitter?
Yeah. The one time that really happened - but not in a script - was the scene where I was lying outside the cave with Meera in season six. And I was lying in this kind of pose. You know the “draw me like one of your French girls” meme [inspired by 1997 movie Titanic]? They were like “yeah, lie a bit like that,” and I just thought, “ohhhhh, I know this is going to be a meme!” And lo and behold, it was a meme. Although as a meme aficionado myself, I like to see myself in memes. I think it’s really cool.
All the Game of Thrones actors seem to handle the memes well, like Art Parkinson’s tweet after his character Rickon was killed.
Where would you ideally like to see Bran end up?
Um ... alive? Bran must be able to look up something important. He knows how the White Walkers were created. And especially since we’ve now seen how when you slash down a White Walker, some of the zombies die, so maybe if that information could get to Bran there’s something he could look up and understand more.
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I think Bran’s destiny will be involved somehow with the White Walkers especially since the Night King has an issue with the Three-Eyed Raven. Clearly Bran is in his sights as a target.