Warning: This post contains spoilers for the sixth season of Game of Thrones.
Sunday night’s Game of Thrones season six finale gave us one major moment of insight: it confirmed the fan theory that Jon Snow is, in fact, Lyanna Stark’s son — not Ned’s illegitimate bastard. The reveal came courtesy of the greenseeing powers of Bran Stark, played by Isaac Hempstead-Wright.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actor addresses his character’s role as the new Three-Eyed Raven, and why his now-deceased mentor wanted him to see Jon Snow’s origin.
“I think he can probably work it out,” Hempstead Wright said. “You can see that crushed look on Ned’s face. We don’t hear a lot about what Lyanna says. Something along the lines of, ‘If Robert finds out, he’ll kill him’… When Bran sees his father’s reaction and understands that this is a surrogate child his father has brought up, he thinks to himself, ‘Well, wait, what surrogate children has my father brought up? Oh! Jon Snow! So Jon Snow isn’t my half-brother.'”
He also ruminates on a crucial missing aspect of the Tower of Joy flashback: namely, whether Bran knows the true identity of Jon’s father. The long-running fan theory R+L=J puts forth Rhaegar Targaryen, but Hempstead-Wright thinks “we still are pretty clueless” on that front. That pivotal piece of the puzzle has the power to upend the whole ruling order in Westeros and set back Daenerys’s claim to the throne, so it’s a race to the finish to see who finds out first.
As for Bran himself, after dealing with unending hardship and tragedy, Hempstead-Wright thinks his character is living in a kind of “zen” state, like “one of those untouchable British monks where nothing upsets them.” Next up: continue his journey south, where hopefully a family reunion awaits.