Warning: This post contains spoilers for season seven of Game of Thrones.
Bran Stark finally returned to Winterfell in the third episode of Game of Thrones‘ seventh season, but he was clearly not the same young boy who tearfully left his family home back in season two. He showed zero emotion when reunited with his sister Sansa, choosing to bring up — much to her surprise — memories of the night she was raped by Ramsay Bolton.
Bran’s callous behavior signals that the innocent young boy from earlier seasons has been deeply changed by his transformation into the Three-Eyed Raven.
“I can never be Lord of Winterfell. I can never be Lord of anything. I’m the Three-Eyed Raven,” he told his sister in the Godswood. “It’s difficult to explain…It means I can see everything, everything that’s ever happened to everyone. Everything that’s happening right now. It’s all pieces now, fragments. I need to learn to see better. When the Long Night comes again, I need to be ready.”
During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Isaac Hempstead-Wright — who plays Bran — explained the drastic impact this influx of power had on his character. “It’s like imagining you have all of space and time in your head,” he said. “Bran is existing in thousands of planes of existence at any one time. So it’s quite difficult for Bran to have any kind of semblance of personality anymore because he’s really like a giant computer.”
Some fans even see Bran’s current condition as a state of shock. “Bran’s head has been overloaded. The Three-Eyed Raven stated quite explicitly that Bran was not ready for this, but due to Bran’s dumb childish move [of being marked by the Night King], he now has to take on the history of the world as an unprepared teenager,” wrote Reddit user fullforce098. “He has a constant stream of information pouring into his head, and it’s addled him. He isn’t behaving like normal because he isn’t himself right now. He’s discombobulated, spitting out information when something triggers a memory he’s downloaded because that’s all he can think to do.”
The fourth episode of Game of Thrones‘ seventh season airs Aug. 6 at 9 p.m. on HBO.