(Warning: This post contains major spoilers for the “Game of Thrones” series finale, titled “The Iron Throne.”)
Isaac Hempstead Wright’s “Game of Thrones” alter-ego Bran Stark won the titular game on Sunday’s series finale, shocking many longtime viewers who thought Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Jon Snow (Kit Harington) or even Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) would ultimately claim the Iron Throne.
In truth, no one got the Iron Throne, because Drogon melted it, and Bran, a.k.a. the Three-Eyed Raven, a.k.a. Bran the Broken, is the new ruler of the Six Kingdoms — after Sansa (Sophie Turner) requested her brother liberate the North for her to rule independently. Wright was just as shocked as some viewers when he first learned how the story would end.
“So I found out when I first got the script,” Wright told TheWrap in an interview early Monday. “I remember just reading through it and I got to that bit at the Dragonpit and there are a couple of people that get suggested for king. And it’s like no, no, they’re not gonna be king. And then it’s like, ‘What about Bran?’ And I’m like, ‘Nah, I don’t think it’ll be Bran. They’re gonna move on to someone else like they’ve done for all those previous characters.’ And then suddenly, as I kept reading, and it was like, ‘Hail Bran the Broken!’ I just couldn’t believe it. I actually had to physically stand up and pace around the room a bit and just go ‘What? WHAT? Whoa, I didn’t see that coming!'”
But he still wasn’t totally convinced the whole thing wasn’t a practical joke from “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss until he arrived at the final season table read.
“We got to the table read and I didn’t want to be too quick to be like, ‘Hey guys, by the way, I’m king.’ Because I kind of had the suspicion since David and Dan play tricks with the scripts, as I’m sure you’re aware, and I thought they’d sent everyone a script in which they become king or queen,” Wright told us. “And I was fully expecting them to turn up at the table read going, ‘I’m king,’ ‘No, I’m king!’ ‘But I’m king!’ But then it was actually me and that’s pretty cool.”
For those fans who have been complaining Bran hasn’t done much this season to warrant the title of King, including his role during the Battle of Winterfell, Wright has a rebuttal.
“It’s interesting how everyone is getting so worked up about the fact that Bran doesn’t do anything,” Wright told us. “I mean, he’s disabled, what’s he gonna do? Is he gonna jump up and run around, get a sword and suddenly do acrobatics? And his powers as the Three-Eyed Raven basically don’t really allow him to interfere with things that much. I think that’s the very point of a Three-Eyed Raven. The reason there is a Three-Eyed Raven who is so weird and so calm is because their job is to observe, it’s not to start interfering with things, and that’s made pretty clear by the previous Three-Eyed Raven who goes, ‘You can’t mess with the past.’ ‘Cause you see what happens when you do, there’s the whole Hodor scene.”
“So the Three-Eyed Raven is not a superhero, he’s not there to use some magical super power to come in and save the day,” Wright continued. “He just sits there, observes and takes things on. So naturally he’s not trying to do anything, he’s not trying to warg into a dragon or do whatever. He just lets things happen because he understands that’s the way it goes. So yeah, like Bran’s role in the Battle of Winterfell is being bait, because the Night King is coming, and he says, position me where you think is best cause that’s gonna be your best shot of getting close to him.”
See more from our interview with Wright below and check out our Q&A with Sophie Turner about the series finale here.
TheWrap: After you found out Bran was going to be king, was there any performance or scene looking back that clicked into place that didn’t make sense for you the first time?
Isaac Hempstead Wright: Not necessarily with the whole king thing. Certainly with the Night King stuff, like when Bran gives Arya that dagger. We were told that there is something important about the fact that Arya gets that dagger. And I just assumed that was because of Littlefinger, but obviously they were thinking ahead, and the real reason Bran is giving it to her is for killing the Night King. So that was something where they gave a clue but we didn’t know what was going on. But as far as Bran becoming king, I’m not sure there was anything in particular that I knew of that was foreshadowing it.
Will Bran’s first act as king be creating a memorial to Hodor in King’s Landing?
I think he’ll first start with disabled access ramps. King’s Landing does not look like a hugely friendly city for the disabled community. I think that will be Bran’s first policy, accessibility.
Why did he pick Tyrion to be his Hand after everything Tyrion has done, especially being so wrong about Dany in the end?
Well, I think the thing with Tyrion is he’s completely human. He makes plenty of mistakes. And at the end of the day, sometimes he doesn’t know what the right thing to do is and he doesn’t pretend to know what the right thing to do is. He just kind of follows the best evidence he’s got and the best thought process to try and make a decision. You don’t want a Hand who pretends they’re completely wise or pretends they know everything. And you don’t want someone who has no confidence in themselves. And I think Tyrion is that perfect balance between making mistakes and also having a good moral compass, which is crucial and exactly what I think Bran’s government will need. But yeah, again, yeah it’s interesting that Tyrion gets to get away with that in a way. But I think of all the possible Hands, he’s the best. Because mistakes are what define a person, really. People make mistakes and you learn from them and that’s how you experience things and become a better person, you become the person you are. So I think Tyrion is the right one.
What was your reaction to the other characters’ fates, in particular Daenerys’ death at the hand of Jon Snow and how everything turns out for the Stark kids?
It’s a really interesting way of ending it, because it’s so uncertain, which I think is much more clever than ending it with a big neat bow. It might be more satisfying than that to have everything tied up in a big glorious ending and a final shot of someone sitting on the throne, blah, blah, blah. But it’s not realistic. And “Game of Thrones,” true to form, wraps up with total uncertainty. We have no idea how the kingdom is going to cope after this. It could all disintegrate again. And I think it’s better because then “Game of Thrones” kind of lives on. It’s almost like you could imagine what’s going on in Westeros right now. And that’s kind of down to you, that’s down to the viewer how you interpret what’s going to happen to this once-great kingdom that’s now totally disintegrated.
In terms of the ending, this is definitely a victory for the Starks. That’s pretty cool. They definitely smashed it. The Daenerys end is really heart-wrenching, because Jon doesn’t know if this is the right thing to do, we don’t know if this is the right thing to do. And I think it’s that really clever, brilliant line by Tyrion to Jon, where he says, like, ask me in 10 years if you did the right thing. So I just think it’s really clever to leave it to the audience to decide what happens here.