I am admitting upfront that I am making some rather bold statements in the hypothesis below which may or may not be true, but we should speculate the hell out of them anyway.
George has done an excellent job of bread-crumbing the story with historic hints and clues from the past that we can use to help predict the future of the story. And we fans have written a bazillion threads trying to pick up all of those breadcrumbs in attempt to put the loaf back together just to see how it slices up after. And A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons left off with every main POV balancing on a fence of which they could fall one way or another.
But something odd is happening to Bran that does not seem to get much attention. I have mentioned this every so often along the way in the Westeros.org forums, most recently my Pinocchio thread, but I would like to get more input here.
- Bran is already turning in to a tree!
- Is it too late for him to pull back???
I would recommend reading the Bran as Pinocchio post before this one, however, it is not required in order to understand this idea here.
I have already hypothesized that Lyanna is the Knight of the Laughing Tree, just maybe not how you may have heard the theory before.
Remember this from the Land of Toys in Pinocchio? And the Land of Toys is a cover for a slave trade. Slavery in A Song of Ice and Fire comes in many forms; mental, physical, financial, familial, etc. The Great Other seems to be enslaving the dead bodies as his thralls, which in turn mentally enslaves the living through fear. A wheel of slavery.
Located in the fictional land of Cocagne, Pleasure Island serves as a haven for wayward boys and girls, allowing them to act as they please without recrimination. However, the truer and more sinister purpose of Pleasure Island is eventually revealed as it begins to physically transform the boys and girls into donkeys, apparently by means of a curse.
I also think Bran (and Samwell) will defeat whatever the Great Other ends up being- breaking the curse over Westeros (and maybe Planetos). To me, it seems like Bran is already to turning into a tree and it is starting with his face. After he ate the weirwood paste and he started to have stronger visions, he comes back to current time and has following experience. This could be like Pinocchio turning into a donkey in the story. However, Pinocchio does end up escaping. Will Bran?
A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys II
“They sleep,” came the answer.
A woman stood under the persimmon tree, clad in a hooded robe that brushed the grass. Beneath the hood, her face seemed hard and shiny. She is wearing a mask, Dany knew, a wooden mask finished in dark red lacquer. “Quaithe? Am I dreaming?” She pinched her ear and winced at the pain. “I dreamt of you on Balerion, when first we came to Astapor.”
“You did not dream. Then or now.”
A Dance with Dragons – Jon XII
Howd Wanderer swore his oath upon his sword, as nicked and pitted a piece of iron as Jon had ever seen. Devyn Sealskinner presented him with a sealskin hat, Harle the Huntsman with a bear-claw necklace. The warrior witch Morna removed her weirwood mask just long enough to kiss his gloved hand and swear to be his man or his woman, whichever he preferred. And on and on and on.
A Dance with Dragons – Jon XI
“Did you follow me as well?” Jon reached to shoo the bird away but ended up stroking its feathers. The raven cocked its eye at him. “Snow,” it muttered, bobbing its head knowingly. Then Ghost emerged from between two trees, with Val beside him.
They look as though they belong together. Val was clad all in white; white woolen breeches tucked into high boots of bleached white leather, white bearskin cloak pinned at the shoulder with a carved weirwood face, white tunic with bone fastenings. Her breath was white as well … but her eyes were blue, her long braid the color of dark honey, her cheeks flushed red from the cold. It had been a long while since Jon Snow had seen a sight so lovely.
The World of Ice and Fire – The Bones and Beyond: Asshai-by-the-Shadow
The dark city by the Shadow is a city steeped in sorcery. Warlocks, wizards, alchemists, moonsingers, red priests, black alchemists, necromancers, aeromancers, pyromancers, bloodmages, torturers, inquisitors, poisoners, godswives, night-walkers, shapechangers, worshippers of the Black Goat and the Pale Child and the Lion of Night, all find welcome in Asshai-by-the-Shadow, where nothing is forbidden. Here they are free to practice their spells without restraint or censure, conduct their obscene rites, and fornicate with demons if that is their desire.
Most sinister of all the sorcerers of Asshai are the shadowbinders, whose lacquered masks hide their faces from the eyes of gods and men. They alone dare to go upriver past the walls of Asshai, into the heart of darkness.
- The roots were everywhere, twisting through earth and stone, closing off some passages and holding up the roofs of others. All the color is gone, Bran realized suddenly. The world was black soil and white wood.
- A spray of dark red leaves sprouted from his skull, and grey mushrooms spotted his brow.
- Seated on his throne of roots in the great cavern, half-corpse and half-tree, Lord Brynden seemed less a man than some ghastly statue made of twisted wood, old bone, and rotted wool. The only thing that looked alive in the pale ruin that was his face was his one red eye, burning like the last coal in a dead fire, surrounded by twisted roots and tatters of leathery white skin hanging off a yellowed skull.
- ADWD/ Bran III: A spray of dark red leaves sprouted from his skull, and grey mushrooms spotted his brow. A little skin remained, stretched across his face, tight and hard as white leather, but even that was fraying, and here and there the brown and yellow bone beneath was poking through.
- ADWD/Mel: A face took shape within the hearth. Stannis? she thought, for just a moment … but no, these were not his features. A wooden face, corpse white. Was this the enemy? A thousand red eyes floated in the rising flames. He sees me. Beside him, a boy with a wolf’s face threw back his head and howled.
The red priestess shuddered. Blood trickled down her thigh, black and smoking. The fire was inside her, an agony, an ecstasy, filling her, searing her, transforming her. Shimmers of heat traced patterns on her skin, insistent as a lover’s hand. Strange voices called to her from days long past. “Melony,” she heard a woman cry. A man’s voice called, “Lot Seven.” She was weeping, and her tears were flame. And still she drank it in.
- And it seems as though you do not have to be Brynden Bloodraven Rivers to have a thousand eyes.
ADWD/Bran III: [Bran]”I thought the greenseers were the wizards of the children,” Bran said. “The singers, I mean.”[BR] “In a sense. Those you call the children of the forest have eyes as golden as the sun, but once in a great while one is born amongst them with eyes as red as blood, or green as the moss on a tree in the heart of the forest. By these signs do the gods mark those they have chosen to receive the gift. The chosen ones are not robust, and their quick years upon the earth are few, for every song must have its balance. But once inside the wood they linger long indeed. A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. Greenseers.”
When I started that Pinocchio post a few years ago now, I was not being totally serious in thinking that it would point to any long-term plot development… but I may have been wrong. Remember, George will never use a story straight one to one. He will twist the end to make it his and butter it up to fit into his world. Also, Bran is my favorite Stark, but George is writing his own story, not one tailored for a mere reader.
Bran likes it in the dark, as he told Jon. Bran likes to trick the others he is with and ride Hodor, even though Hodor does not care for it. Bran tries to reach out and slip into Meera, but he can’t quite do that yet. He was told several times not to climb at Winterfell, and yet he did repeatedly. He was told not to stay too long in Summer, yet he did. Now Bran seems to have already begun his skin change into a tree, like the boys in to donkeys when they ate and drank and partied too much in the folktale.
George is not shy about doing some unexpected things to his main protagonists (even killing them), both in ASOIAF and throughout his entire career as a prophet, so this could get tricksy.
Follow along with The Fattest Leech of Ice and Fire and leave your comments below.