Bran Stark

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Brandon Stark
House Stark.PNG
Bran stark dreams by teiiku.jpg
Artwork by Tim Teilku ©

Alias Bran
Bran the Broken
The Winged Wolf
Title Prince of Winterfell[1]
Allegiance House Stark
Culture Northmen
Born In 290 AC[2], at Winterfell
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (POV)
A Clash of Kings (POV)
A Storm of Swords (POV)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (POV)

Played by Isaac Hempstead-Wright
TV series Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 6

Brandon Stark, typically called Bran, is the second son of Lord Eddard Stark and Lady Catelyn Tully. He is one of the major POV characters in the books. He has four older siblings—Robb, Jon, Sansa, Arya—and one younger—Rickon. Like his siblings, he is constantly accompanied by his direwolf, Summer, with whom he shares a strong warg connection.[3] He is seven years old at the beginning of A Game of Thrones. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones he is played by Isaac Hempstead-Wright.[4]

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Bran Stark

Bran favours his mother's side in appearance, having the thick auburn hair and deep blue eyes of the Tullys.[5][6]

Bran is a sweet and thoughtful boy, well-loved by everyone at Winterfell. He has a fascination with climbing and exploring along the walls and ramparts of the castle. Lady Catelyn once jested that Bran could "climb before he could walk", however, his climbing often distresses her.[7] Like his siblings, he is also dutiful and tough-minded, as well as possessing a propensity for adventure and excitement. His half-brother Jon fondly thinks to himself that Bran was always "stubborn and curious", and in like manner constantly wanted to join in the play of the older boys, believing himself an adult at seven.[8] However, he becomes more serious and contemplative due to his increasingly worsening situation after his fall.

Bran is constantly accompanied by his direwolf, whom he names Summer, with whom he shares a strong warg connection. He is later revealed to also possess the greensight, meaning he often has dreams that seem to be prophetic.[3]


Born at Winterfell in 290 AC at the height of summer, Bran is the second son and fourth child of Catelyn Tully and Eddard Stark, head of House Stark; and younger brother to Robb Stark, King in the North. He is the current Lord of Winterfell. He is named after his late uncle, Eddard's elder brother Brandon, whose death was one of the major events that led to Robert's Rebellion in 282 AC.[9]

Bran has three older siblings (Robb, Sansa, and Arya) and one younger (Rickon). He also has a bastard half-brother, Jon Snow. As a child, Bran was educated by Maester Luwin and trained with weapons. Since he was a babe, Bran would often climb the walls of Winterfell, scaring Lady Catelyn to death. Once, she pleaded for him to stop, and extracted a promise for him to do so, a promise which he kept for barely a fortnight. When Bran, wracked with guilt, confessed this to Lord Eddard, he ordered his son to the godswood, where Bran was eventually found asleep in the tallest sentinel tree. Ned then accepted his climbing, but told him to try to not let his lady mother see him.[10]

Bran dreams of becoming a knight and has asked to hear their stories over and over until their names have become "like music to him". He is enthralled especially by the ideals of the Kingsguard, but is disappointed to be informed by his father that the new Kingsguard's standards have been lowered.[10]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Ned and Bran - by Amok ©

Bran is among a group of twenty men who witness Lord Eddard Stark dispense the king's justice to a deserter of the Night's Watch, the first time Bran is allowed to accompany such a group. After the man is executed, Eddard asks Bran if he knows the reason why his father carried out the killing himself; Bran has no answer. Ned then explains that the First Men—of whom the Starks are descendants—believe that the one who pronounces the verdict should perform the execution himself, proclaiming:

The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man's life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die...”[11]

On the way back to the castle, the group finds a dead direwolf and her pups. Lord Eddard states that killing the pups quickly would forestall a painful and slow death but Bran passionately protests. Bran's half-brother Jon points out that there are five pups, one for each of Eddard's legitimate children; since the direwolf is the sigil of House Stark, they must be meant to have the wolves. Bran immediately realizes, along with everyone else, that the comparison only works out because Jon is not claiming a pup for himself. Bran and each of the other Stark siblings receives one of the young animals as a pet.[11]

Bran's excitement grows at the prospect of seeing the knights and royalty of King's Landing, yet he is still apprehensive about leaving.[10] During the royal visit to Winterfell, Bran fights Prince Tommen Baratheon in the yard under the supervision of master-at-arms Ser Rodrik Cassel, which ends in Bran's victory.[5]

Bran falling from the tower after being pushed by Jaime by Pojypojy©

When King Robert I Baratheon and the older men leave on a hunting trip, Bran impulsively decides on a climbing expedition. During this expedition he passes a window through which he sees Queen Cersei Lannister and her brother Ser Jaime making love. He is shocked after being spotted and loses his grip, almost falling before being caught by the Kingslayer. Jaime then pushes him from the window, intending to kill him to keep secret the incestuous love affair, but Bran survives and enters a coma.[10]

While Bran is comatose, an attempt is made on his life by an unnamed catspaw. Lady Catelyn delays the assassin long enough for Bran’s direwolf to arrive and tear out his throat.[6] In the meantime, during the coma, Bran has many visions, including a hazy memory of his falling from the tower and a three-eyed crow that tells him it can teach him to fly. With the crow's guidance, Bran wakes and immediately names his direwolf Summer.[12] Bran is crippled from the fall and unable to walk, but the crow tells him that he is the winged wolf bound in chains. After he wakes, he learns much northern lore from Maester Luwin and Old Nan.

When Tyrion Lannister stops at Winterfell on his way back from the Wall, he gives schematics for a saddle designed for Bran's crippled form, despite threats from Bran's brother Robb, acting as Lord of Winterfell, and the direwolves. Bran, however, is overjoyed at the prospect of learning to ride again.[13] Later, while testing Tyrion's suggestion out on a ride in the wolfswood, Bran is ambushed by a band of wildlings and Night's Watch deserters, but is rescued by Robb, Theon Greyjoy, Grey Wind, and Summer.[14]

Afterwards, he begins to bond with the sole survivor of that band, Osha, due to their shared faith in the old gods. When Robb calls the Northern banners following Lord Eddard's arrest in King's Landing, Bran witnesses the incident with the Greatjon, and is the acting Lord of Winterfell when Robb rides south.[15]

Later, Bran has a dream of his father in the crypt of Winterfell. He ventures there with Osha, finding nothing. Rickon also reveals that he dreamt the same dream last night. Almost immediately after leaving the crypts, Maester Luwin receives a raven-borne message informing Winterfell of Ned's execution by King Joffrey I's command.[16]

A Clash of Kings

After Bran's accident Hodor carries him in a basket ‎on his back - © 2012 Miguel Regodón Harkness

After Robb becomes King in the North, Bran, as Robb's heir, becomes the Prince of Winterfell, and rules the castle in his brother's absence.[17] He befriends Meera and Jojen Reed, children of his father's most trusted friend, Howland Reed.[3]

While sleeping, Bran frequently enters Summer's mind (though he thinks he is simply dreaming) and begins to become more bestial. Jojen recognizes Bran's ability as skinchanging, and instructs him on how to use it properly. After learning of Bran's visions, Jojen claims that if Bran goes north beyond the Wall, he can find the three-eyed crow from his dreams.[18]

When Theon Greyjoy captures Winterfell, Bran and Rickon hide in the crypts.[9] To hide the truth of their escape, Theon has two other children murdered and skinned by "Reek" and proclaims them to be Bran and Rickon.[19]

Theon is betrayed by Ramsay Snow, the Bastard of Bolton, who is not acting out of loyalty to the Starks. Outside of Winterfell, men of House Bolton massacre those loyal to the Starks, burn the castle, and take the surviving women and children to the Dreadfort.[20]

Bran and his companions emerge from the crypts to find Winterfell in ruins. The brothers find a mortally wounded Maester Luwin, who advises their traveling party to split. Rickon and Osha set off in the direction of White Harbor. Bran, Hodor, Meera and Jojen Reed set off north to seek the three-eyed crow.[9]

A Storm of Swords

Bran, Summer, Hodor and the Reeds at the Queenscrown by Michael Komarck©

Ramsay Snow was in on the trick played by Theon with the miller's children, so Bolton men search for the real Bran and Rickon.[21] Bran, Meera, Jojen, and Hodor travel in secret to evade them, avoiding the main roads. When the weather turns colder in the northern mountains, Summer finds them shelter where they meet a a Liddle who shares his food with them. When they ask if they should take the kingsroad, the clansman tells them that it is treacherous for travellers, as the war has made everywhere dangerous. The group decide to head to the Nightfort instead of Castle Black due to Jojen's green dream. Meera then tells Bran a story, one to her and Jojen's surprise he has never heard before: the story of the Knight of the Laughing Tree.[21]

Enroute to the Wall, the party stop at Queenscrown, an abandoned holdfast surrounded by water, which they are able to get to due to a concealed passageway through the moat remembered by Bran from one of Old Nan's stories. While hidden inside the castle they spot men in the village.[1] Summer attacks the men, among whom is Bran's half-brother, Jon Snow. Bran then enters Summer's mind and attacks the men trying to slay his half-brother, giving Jon the opportunity to escape his wildling companions. Summer is wounded by an arrow in the skirmish, but manages to recover after being treated by Meera.[22]

The troop eventually reaches the Wall at the Nightfort, and, while sleeping, Bran is awoken by footsteps. At first, the group are terrified to have been discovered, but as Meera attacks the intruders, Bran recognizes one as a brother of the Night's Watch and meets Samwell Tarly, accompanied by the wildling Gilly. Sam leads them through a secret door at the bottom of a well that takes them through to the north side of the Wall. There they meet Coldhands, an enigmatic figure of uncertain allegiance. Bran, Jojen and Coldhands all extract a promise from Samwell that he will tell no one that they are alive. Samwell reluctantly agrees, even keeping the secret from Jon Snow, his sworn brother of the Night's Watch and Bran's half-brother.[23]

A Feast For Crows

At the Wall, Samwell is summoned to Jon and Lord Snow then mentions his message to King Tommen Baratheon requesting aid for the Watch. He notes bitterly that Bran once bested Tommen at swords in the yard at Winterfell; now Bran is dead, and Tommen sits upon the Iron Throne. Sam wants to tell Jon his brother is alive and beyond the Wall, but he keeps his promise and does not say a word.[24]

A Dance with Dragons

Bran meets the three-eyed crow. by Marc Simonetti©

Bran, Meera, Jojen, Hodor, and Coldhands continue their journey through the haunted forest in search of the three-eyed crow. During his travels with the Reeds, Bran begins to become infatuated with Meera, while Jojen grows thin and weak. The journey is long and cold, and they suffer on the brink of starvation. The group is briefly abandoned by Coldhands, who returns to them after killing oathbreakers of the Night's Watch. To try and sate his hunger, Bran feasts on human flesh of the deceased crows while inside Summer.[25]. Returning to his own skin, Bran eats some meat that Coldhands has brought back with him, which Coldhands claims to be pig.

As they continue their journey into the North, Coldhands' elk collapses and is butchered by the ranger and Meera Reed for meat. Despite promising himself he would rather go hungry than feast on a friend, Bran eats the meat twice; once in his own skin,and once in Summer's. The steaks of meat from the elk sustain the group for seven days.

In the depths of the haunted forest, they find a hill on top of which lies the dwelling of the three-eyed crow. Coldhands warns them that there are wights or White Walkers nearby, and Summer seems to sense danger as they climb and finally reach the cave of the three-eyed crow. The group are ambushed by wights just outside the cave’s entrance. Bran enters Hodor's mind to fight off the wights, and sees a figure in the cave mouth brandishing a torch, whom he at first believes is his sister, Arya. Seeing his own body in danger, Bran slips back into his own skin, but blacks out and wakes up again inside the cave. There the group meet a child of the forest, Leaf, who reveals that she has saved them by burning the wights. However, the cave is warded against White Walkers and wights, so Coldhands cannot accompany them inside. Leaf takes them deeper into the cave, underneath weirwood roots and across a floor of bones, until they reach a skeletal body sitting on a throne made of roots - the three-eyed crow, the last greenseer. When Bran asks the crow if he can fix his legs, the crow says that that is beyond his power.[26] Heartbroken, Bran's eyes begin to fill with tears, but the crow responds:

You will never walk again, Bran... but you will fly.[26]

The three-eyed crow, who Bran learns was named Brynden when he was quick [27], then begins to teach Bran about greenseeing and skinchanging. Bran is fed weirwood paste, which awakens his greenseeing gifts. He then enters the weirwood roots around them and sees his father, Eddard, through Winterfell's heart tree in the past. Grief-stricken, Bran tries to speak to Ned, but all that is heard is a whisper on the wind.

The three-eyed crow explains that he can look into the past through the weirwoods, but saw only what he wished to see, his father and his home. The crow further says that while Bran can view his father, he cannot speak to him. He says:

I have my own ghosts, Bran. A brother that I loved, a brother that I hated, a woman that I desired. Through the trees, I see them still, but no word of mine has ever reached them. The past remains the past. We can learn from it, but we cannot change it.

Depiction of Bran Stark and the children of the forest by Conor Campbell ©

While inside the cave, Bran continues to enter Hodor to explore the deeper parts of the cave. When the crow sends him to rest, Bran later dreams again through Winterfell's heart tree and sees flashes of the past as far back as the old Kings of Winter:

  • His young father praying with a bowed head "…let them grow up close as brothers, with only love between them, and let my lady wife find it in her heart to forgive.";[28]
  • A girl and a younger boy play fighting with branches;[29]
  • A pregnant woman coming out of the black pool praying for a son to avenge her;
  • A slender girl on her toes kissing a knight as tall as Hodor;[30]
  • A pale, dark-eyed youth cutting three branches from the weirwood and shaping them into arrows;
  • Other lords of Winterfell: tall, hard, stern men in fur and chain mail;
  • A bearded man forcing a captive down on his knees, and a white-haired woman killing the captive with a bronze sickle.[27]

It is possible, as well, that Bran contacts Theon through the weirwood tree at Winterfell before Theon is forced to help the spearwives rescue "Arya Stark" (Jeyne Poole).[31]

Quotes by Bran

Bran: What are you doing to me?

Three-eyed crow: Teaching you to fly.
Bran: I can't fly!
Three-eyed crow: You're flying right now.
Bran: I'm falling!

Three-eyed crow: Every flight begins with a fall. [12]

— The Three-eyed crow to Bran in his dreams

They do. They dream tree dreams. I dream of a tree sometimes. A weirwood, like the one in the godswood. It calls to me. The wolf dreams are better. I smell things, and sometimes I can taste the blood. [32]

- Bran to Maester Luwin

The stone is strong. . .The roots of the trees grow deep, and under the ground the Kings of Winter sit their thrones. So long as those remained, Winterfell remained. It was not dead, just broken. Like me... I'm not dead either. [9]

- Bran's thoughts after the sack of Winterfell

Old stories are like old friends. You have to visit them from time to time.[21]

— Bran to Meera Reed

All the tales agreed that the green men had strange magic powers. Maybe they could help him walk again, even turn him into a knight. They turned the little crannogman into a knight, even if it was only for a day, he thought. A day would be enough.

— Bran, thinking about the greenseers

Quotes about Bran

He is a sweet boy, quick to laugh, easy to love. Let him grow up with the young princes, let him become their friend as Robert became mine.[7]

Eddard Stark to Catelyn Tully

He's our prince.[23]

Meera Reed to Samwell Tarly

Ned: The man died well, I'll give him that. I was glad for Bran's sake. You would have been proud of him.
Catelyn: I am always proud of Bran.[33]

Catelyn Tully to Eddard Stark

I prayed for it. He was my special boy. I went to the sept and prayed seven times to the seven faces of the god that Ned would change his mind and leave him here with me.[34]

Catelyn Stark to Jon Snow during Bran's coma

Innocent? The wretched boy was spying on us.[35]

- Jaime Lannister

The strongest trees are rooted in the dark places of the earth. Darkness will be your cloak, your shield, your mother's milk. Darkness will make you strong.

— The three-eyed crow to Bran


Jon Snow

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 40, Bran III.
  2. See the Brandon Stark (Bran) calculation.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 21, Bran III.
  4. HBO Cast and crew page
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7, Arya I.
  6. 6.0 6.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 14, Catelyn III.
  7. 7.0 7.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
  8. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 19, Jon III.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 69, Bran VII.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 8, Bran II.
  11. 11.0 11.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 1, Bran I.
  12. 12.0 12.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 17, Bran III.
  13. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 24, Bran IV.
  14. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 37, Bran V.
  15. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
  16. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
  17. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 16, Bran II.
  18. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 28, Bran IV.
  19. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
  20. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 66, Theon VI.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 24, Bran II.
  22. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.
  23. 23.0 23.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 56, Bran IV.
  24. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.
  25. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 4, Bran I.
  26. 26.0 26.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 13, Bran II.
  27. 27.0 27.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 34, Bran III.
  28. Probably shortly after his return from Robert's Rebellion, referring to Robb Stark and Jon Snow
  29. Possibly Bran's uncle Benjen Stark and late aunt Lyanna Stark; Bran finds the girl to be alike to his sister Arya, who is said to remind people of a young Lyanna as per A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22
  30. It is believed to be Dunk kissing a young woman, likely a young Old Nan, at Winterfell, foreshadowing the next Dunk and Egg story, which has the working title The She-Wolves of Winterfell.
  31. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 46, A Ghost in Winterfell.
  32. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 4, Bran I.
  33. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  34. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 10, Jon II.
  35. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 1, Jaime I.

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