Artwork by Mark Evans © Fantasy Flight Games
Bran the Broken
The winged wolf
|Title||Prince of Winterfell|
|Born||In 290 AC, at Winterfell|
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)
The Winds of Winter (appears)
|Played by||Isaac Hempstead-Wright|
|TV series||Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 6 | Season 7 | Season 8|
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. 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.
Appearance and Character
- See also: Images of Bran Stark
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. Catelyn once jested that Bran could climb before he could walk, however, his climbing often distresses her. Like his siblings, he is also dutiful and tough-minded, but also possesses a propensity for adventure and excitement; he yearns to see far off places one day and dreams of becoming a knight. His half-brother Jon Snow 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.
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. 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.
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 by the master-at-arms, Ser Rodrik Cassel. A year before Bran's birth, in 289 AC, Eddard brought to Winterfell a hostage, Theon Greyjoy, the last surviving son of Balon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands. Although Robb and Theon became close after Greyjoy's Rebellion, Bran never warmed to his father's ward.
Bran enjoys exploring the castle, as he believes it allows him to know its secrets. Since he was a babe, Bran often climbed the walls of Winterfell, scaring Catelyn to death. Once, she pleaded for him to stop, and extracted a promise for him to do so, which he kept for barely a fortnight. When Bran, wracked with guilt, confessed this to Eddard, he ordered his son to the Winterfell godswood to cleanse himself, 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. Lady Stark then turned to others in the castle: first, Maester Luwin, who once made a boy out of pottery and threw it from Winterfell's walls to show Bran what would happen if the boy were to fall while climbing, then, to Old Nan, who told him a story of a boy who climbed too high, was struck by lightning and had his eyes eaten by crows, and finally the castle guards, who chased Bran from tower to tower in an attempt to haul him down. Each attempt was fruitless, and Bran continued his climbing. The boy enjoys feeding corn to the crows atop the broken tower.
Bran loves hearing Old Nan's stories, preferring the scary ones above all else concerning the children of the forest, the Long Night, and the Others. He is also enthralled by tales of mystery knights and the Kingsguard, and asks to hear their stories over and over until their names become like music to him. However, he is disappointed to be informed by his father that the new Kingsguard is not as it once was.
A Game of Thrones
Bran is among a group of twenty who witness his father, Lord Eddard Stark, dispense the king's justice to Gared, a deserter of the Night's Watch, the first time Bran is allowed to accompany such a group. When they find a dead direwolf and her pups on the way back to Winterfell, Bran passionately protests against killing the pups. Bran and each of the other Stark siblings receives one of the young animals as a pet.
When Eddard is named Hand of the King, Bran is excited at the prospect of seeing the knights and royalty of King's Landing, yet he is still apprehensive about leaving. 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.
When King Robert I Baratheon and the older men leave on a hunting trip, Bran begins climbing to Winterfell's broken tower so he can feed the crows one last time. When near a window in the First Keep, however, he discovers Queen Cersei Lannister and her brother, Ser Jaime, having sex, although the boy does not understand their actions. Jaime pushes Bran from the window, intending to kill the boy to keep the incestuous love affair a secret, but Bran survives and enters a coma.
While Bran is comatose, an attempt is made on his life by an unnamed catspaw with a Valyrian steel dagger. His mother, Catelyn Stark, delays the assassin long enough for Bran's unnamed direwolf to arrive and tear out his throat. In the meantime, Bran has many visions in his coma, including a hazy memory of falling from the tower, a three-eyed crow that tells him it can teach him to fly, and the heart of winter. With the crow's guidance, Bran wakes and immediately names his direwolf "Summer".
Crippled by his fall, Bran is confined to a tower chamber where Old Nan keeps him company. She tells Bran stories of the north and the Long Night. 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. 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.
Afterwards, Bran 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.
Later, Bran has a dream of his father in the crypt of Winterfell. He ventures there with Osha, finding nothing. Rickon Stark also reveals that he dreamed 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 Baratheon's command.
A Clash of Kings
After Robb becomes King in the North, Bran, as Robb's heir, becomes the Prince of Winterfell, and he rules the castle in his brother's absence. Bran dislikes his mother Catelyn's new wards, Big Walder and Little Walder Frey. Bran meets several bannermen during the harvest feast and he befriends Meera and Jojen Reed, children of his father Eddard's most trusted friend, Lord Howland Reed.
While sleeping, Bran frequently enters Summer's mind—though the boy 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. Maester Luwin, however, does not believe that Jojen has greensight.
Theon Greyjoy, Eddard's ward, captures Winterfell and, claiming to be the Prince of Winterfell, holds Bran and Rickon as hostages. Bran, Rickon, Osha, Hodor, and the Reeds escape one night and hide in the crypts. Unable to find them in the wolfswood, Theon has two miller's boys murdered and skinned by "Reek" and proclaims them to be Bran and Rickon. Theon prevents Luwin from burying the bodies in the crypts.
At Riverrun, Catelyn is informed that Bran and Rickon were captured by Theon on the Acorn Water and their heads are now displayed at Winterfell. Jaime Lannister, a captive since the Whispering Wood, admits to Catelyn that he flung Bran from a window but insists he was not involved with the catspaw's attempt on Bran's life.
Theon is eventually betrayed by Reek, actually Ramsay Snow, the bastard of Lord Roose Bolton. Men of House Bolton scatter Ser Rodrik Cassel's men in a battle in the winter town. Ramsay then orders the killing of Theon's ironborn and the sack of Winterfell, although he spares the Freys.
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, and the Reed siblings set off north to seek the three-eyed crow.
A Storm of Swords
The burning of Winterfell is attributed to Theon, and Ramsay is said to be flaying Theon in vengeance for the supposed deaths of Bran and Rickon. Ramsay conspired with Theon regarding the miller's children, so Bolton men search the north for the real Bran and Rickon. Bran travels in secret with Meera, Jojen, and Hodor, avoiding the main roads. They stay at the so-called Tumbledown Tower and Jojen warns Bran against staying too long in Summer.
When the weather turns colder in the northern mountains, Summer finds shelter and they meet 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 about the Knight of the Laughing Tree, a story which the Reeds are surprised that Bran has never heard before.
En route to the Wall, the party stops in the Gift 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 tower they spot men in the village. 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 Jon, giving him 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.
The troupe 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 Sam that he will tell no one that they are alive. Sam reluctantly agrees, even keeping the secret from Jon Snow, his sworn brother of the Night's Watch.
A Feast For Crows
At the Wall, Samwell is summoned to Jon, the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, who mentions his message to the new king, Tommen I 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.
A Dance with Dragons
Bran, Meera, Jojen, Hodor, and Coldhands continue their journey through the haunted forest in search of the three-eyed crow. 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 left by Coldhands, who returns after killing oathbreakers of the Night's Watch. To try and sate his hunger, Bran feasts on the flesh of the deserters while inside Summer.. Returning to his own skin, Bran eats meat which Coldhands claims to be pig.
As they continue north, Coldhands' elk collapses and is butchered by the ranger and Meera 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 sustain the group for seven days.
In the depths of the haunted forest, the group is ambushed by wights outside the cave of the three-eyed crow, and Bran enters Hodor's mind to fight off the wights. Inside they meet one of the children of the forest, Leaf, who reveals she 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. The pale lord tells Bran that the boy will not walk again, but he will fly.
The three-eyed crow, whom Bran learns was named Brynden, begins to teach Bran about greensight 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. Brynden explains that Bran can learn from the past through the weirwoods, but it is impossible to change it.
Bran continues to enter Hodor to explore the deeper parts of the cave. When the crow sends him to rest, Bran dreams through the heart tree in the godswood of Winterfell 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.";[N 1]
- A girl and a younger boy play fighting with branches;[N 2]
- 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;[N 3]
- 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.
A mutilated Theon is brought back to Winterfell by Roose and Ramsay Bolton. After Ramsay weds "Arya Stark" before the castle's heart tree, Theon thinks he hears a voice whisper his name. Later, Theon thinks he sees Bran's face in the weirwood and hears the boy's name spoken by the tree.
Quotes by Bran
Bran: What are you doing to me?
crow: Teaching you to fly.
Bran: I can't fly!
crow: You're flying right now.
Bran: I'm falling!
crow: Every flight begins with a fall.—Bran and the three-eyed crow in his dreams
Bran: Do trees dream?
Luwin: Trees? No ...
Bran: 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.—Bran and 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.—Bran's thoughts after the sack of Winterfell
Old stories are like old friends. You have to visit them from time to time.—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's thoughts
Bran: I'm here, only I'm broken. Will you ... will you fix me ... my legs, I mean?
crow: No. That is beyond my powers. You will never walk again, Bran, but you will fly.—Bran and the three-eyed crow
Quotes about Bran
I may indeed have shit for honor, I won't deny it, but I have never yet hired anyone to do my killing. Believe what you will, Lady Stark, but if I had wanted your Bran dead I would have slain him myself.
Innocent? The wretched boy was spying on us.
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
No one had expected the broken boy to live. The gods could not kill Bran, no more than I could. It was a strange thought, and stranger still to remember that Bran might still be alive.—Theon Greyjoy's thoughts
They know. The gods know. They saw what I did. And for one strange moment it seemed as if it were Bran's face carved into the pale trunk of the weirwood, staring down at him with eyes red and wise and sad. Bran's ghost, he thought, but that was madness. Why should Bran want to haunt him? He had been fond of the boy, had never done him any harm. It was not Bran we killed. It was not Rickon. They were only miller's sons, from the mill by the Acorn Water.—Theon Greyjoy's thoughts
Behind the Scenes
In Old Welsh Brân means crow.
- Likely shortly after his return from Robert's Rebellion, referring to Robb Stark and Jon Snow.
- Theorized to be Bran's uncle Benjen Stark and late aunt Lyanna Stark; Bran finds her similar to his sister Arya, who is said to remind people of a young Lyanna as per A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22.
- Theorized to be Duncan the Tall kissing a young woman, possibly a young Old Nan, at Winterfell, foreshadowing a future Dunk and Egg story with the working title The She-Wolves of Winterfell.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 40, Bran III.
- See the Bran Stark calculation.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 21, Bran III.
- HBO Cast and crew page
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7, Arya I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 14, Catelyn III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 28, Bran IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 19, Jon III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 69, Bran VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 8, Bran II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 2, Sansa I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 28, Catelyn V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 1, Bran I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 9, Tyrion I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 17, Bran III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 24, Bran IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 37, Bran V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 16, Bran II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 4, Bran I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 50, Theon IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 53, Jon VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 66, Theon VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 24, Bran II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 9, Bran I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 56, Bran IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 4, Bran I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 13, Bran II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 34, Bran III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 46, A Ghost in Winterfell.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 10, Jon II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 1, Jaime I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.
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