After years of complicated theories that dug into the deep lore of Game of Thrones (opens in new tab), fans are connecting the dots to something George R.R. Martin said back in 2014. The prolific author confirmed that a few readers had actually figured out who would end up on the iron throne long before the showrunners put it on screen.
“So many readers were reading the books with so much attention that they were throwing up some theories, and while some of those theories were amusing bulls*** and creative, some of the theories are right,” Martin said at the Edinburgh Book Festival in 2014 (opens in new tab). “At least one or two readers had put together the extremely subtle and obscure clues that I’d planted in the books and came to the right solution.”
Reddit user indianthane95 (opens in new tab) connected the dots to a fan theory that Martin could have been talking about. “There is a strong case that the [Game of Thrones] ending we got is broadly the same one we’ll get in the books,” he said. “Other than [Martin, Benioff, and Weiss] talking about how the series’ main destination will be the same, Martin’s latest blogpost doesn’t suggest that King Bran was a show creation. Which leads to my guess about the “correct solution” that one or two readers picked up on. It is the “Bran as The Fisher King” theory that was posted on the official ASOIAF Forum board.”
You can read the full theory by A Forum of Ice and Fire user SacredOrderOfGreenMen here (opens in new tab). In summary, Bran’s story mirrors that of a legendary figure from English and Welsh mythology, the Fisher King. The Fisher King had also been wounded and healed by a higher power, similar to Bran getting pushed from a Winterfell tower and eventually becoming the Three-Eyed Raven. Through their tribulations both figures fused to something otherworldly, becoming more than men—making them worthy of the crown.
“Only by becoming something not completely human at all, to have godly and immortal things, such as the weirwood, fused into your being, and to become more or less than completely human, depending on your perspective,” SacredOrderOfGreenMen wrote. “This is the only type of monarchy [Martin] gives legitimacy, the kind where the king suffers on his journey and is almost dehumanized for the sake of his people.”
It’s a lot to take in, but SacredOrderOfGreenMen did come to the conclusion that Bran would become king years before the show depicted it. He picked up on what Martin called “subtle hints” throughout the series of books. While the books could have a slightly different ending than the show, fans are convinced that the it will be mostly the same. Even if Martin was rather cryptic in his latest blog post. (opens in new tab)
Dedicated fans haven’t been happy about how the final season has rushed through a number of major plot points, making many the pay off feel unsatisfying. There isn’t a lot of rhyme or reason as to why Bran became king in the TV show, although we should get more context and buildup once Martin’s final novels come out.
Interested in checking out more theories about the land of Westeros? Check out our list of the craziest Game of Thrones theories we’re still wondering about after season 8 (opens in new tab).