Bran Stark

[© 2018]

Explain Dominant Color Explain Auxiliary Color

The Green in Bran's spiritual portrait represents his dominant personality trait, his preference for making objective rather than subjective decisions. In Introverts, the dominant trait is directed inwardly, and spiritual portraits use a long horizontal line to represent this. He demonstrates this trait in the way he remains relatively calm in the face of the remarkable things that happen to him.

The Blue in Bran's spiritual portrait represents his auxiliary personality trait, his preference for seeing the world more in terms of ideas than of facts. In Introverts, the auxiliary trait is directed outwardly, and spiritual portraits use a vertical line to represent this, because it is more evident than the dominant function. He demonstrates this trait in the way he is open to being a warg - someone whose spirit can inhabit another person or creature, such as Hodor or his wolf Summer.

Fourth Child and Second Son of Ned and Catelyn Stark

Bran's father Eddard Ned Stark named him Brandon after Ned's departed oldest brother, who died before Bran was born. Everyone calls the ....

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Bran Stark:
The Story

Bran's father Eddard Ned Stark named him Brandon after Ned's departed oldest brother, who died before Bran was born. Everyone calls the younger Brandon Bran, except his mother when she's mad at him, and Petyr Baelish, who presumably just doesn't know any better.

As a child who is only seven years old when Game of Thrones begins, Bran Stark is one of the youngest characters on the show. Like his siblings, he grows up quickly after the death of his parents.

Bran enjoys climbing, but one day he falls from a tower, lands on his back, and ends up crippled for life. It turns out, however, that he is a warg — someone whose spirit can inhabit other animals and even people.

Bran's World of Ideas

The Blue in Bran's spiritual portrait represents his fairly strong preference for ideas over facts. Given that the fall has left him crippled for the rest of his life, it's easy to see how he would have this preference.

Once Bran wakes up from the coma induced by the fall, his dreams — Bran's new world of ideas — become more and more vivid, eventually becoming visions. At one point, when some mutinous former members of the Night's Watch are keeping him, Meera, and Jogen prisoners at Craster's Keep, he realizes Jogen has visions similar to his.

Jogen: [To Brandon.] You mustn't let anything stop you.
Brandon Stark: [Looks at his hands, which are tied up.] They already have stopped me.
Jogen: No. You're not here. You're far from here.
Meera: What does that mean?
Jogen: At the hill. A great Weirwood tree.
Brandon: [Smiles knowingly.] You've seen it, too. [A Weirwood tree on a hill appears in behind him.]
 — From First of His Name, Season 4, Episode 5 of Game of Thrones (2014).

As he, Meera, and Jogen get closer to finding the tree in their visions, Bran begins to gain more control over his visions and his ability to warg. He learns how to completely control his ability to see things through his direwolf Summer's eyes, and is even able to enter Hodor's mind and control his actions when they get in trouble.

Under the Weirwood Tree

They eventually find the Weirwood tree, and meet a character known as the Three-Eyed Raven, who lives in a cave under it, entwined in the Weirwood tree's roots. Under his tutelage, Bran learns even more about how to control his visions, and eventually Bran learns everything.

During this time, Bran's preference for ideas starts to turn into a dangerous obsession.

[The Three-eyed Raven halts Bran Stark's pursuit of his father Ned in a vision, causing him to wake up.]
Bran Stark: [Inhales deeply.] Why did you do that? Take me back there. I want to go back.
Three-eyed Raven: No.
Bran: He heard me.
Three-eyed Raven: Maybe. Maybe he heard the wind.
Bran: He heard me.
Three-eyed Raven: The past is already written. The ink is dry.
Bran: What's in that tower? I want to go back there.
Three-eyed Raven: I've told you many times, stay too long where you don't belong and you will never return.
Bran: Why do I want to return? So I can be a cripple again? So I can talk to an old man in a tree?
 — From Oathbreaker, Season 6, Episode 3 of Game of Thrones (2016).

Bran's openness to new ideas and experiences — visible as the Blue and Yellow in his spiritual portrait — borders on recklessness. His carelessness with regards to the risks he so heartily embraces, which was formerly manifested in his determination to climb the walls of Winterfell higher than is safe, is now fueling his desire to stay in his world of ideas longer than is safe.

Bran's Head Rules His Heart

Bran's preference for making logical rather than emotional decisions — represented by the Green in his spiritual portrait — is evident in a crucial moment when his half-brother Jon Snow shows up to take care of the mutineers who hold Bran and his friends prisoner at Craster's Keep.

Bran: [Sees his brother fighting fairly close by.] Jon!
Jogen: If he sees you he won't let you go north.
Bran: He's my brother.
Jogen: And wants to protect you. He'll take you back to Castle Black. You have to decide. Do you want to find the three-eyed raven?
Bran: Hodor.
Hodor: Hodor.
Bran: We need to free Summer, and we need to go.
 — From First of His Name, Season 4, Episode 5 of Game of Thrones (2014).

Thanks to Jogen's understanding and foresight — it's reasonable to expect that since he and Bran have similar abilities, they may also have similar personalities — Bran is able to see he needs to stay focused on the big picture. Because, as everyone knows, Winter is Coming.

Cold Winters — and Cold People

As is the case with so many characters on Game of Thrones, Bran's rationality often manifests more as cold, indifferent, objectivity — No Feelings — when dealing with others rather than as any sort of superior ability in math, science, or the like ☺.

One example of Bran's objectivity appears in the way he awkwardly and tersely thanks Meera for her help, without even mentioning Hodor's and her brother Jogen's sacrifices, in their quest to find the Weirwood tree of Bran's visions.[1]

Bran Stark: You're leaving.
Meera: I don't want to leave you. But when - when they come, I need to be with my family. You're safe. Well, safe as anyone can be now. You don't need me anymore.
Bran: No, I don't.
Meera: That's all you've got to say?
Bran: Thank you.
Meera: Thank you?
Bran: For helping me.
Meera: My brother died for you. Hodor and Summer died for you. I almost died for you. Bran —
Bran: I'm not, really. Not anymore. I remember what it felt like to be Bran Stark. But I remember so much else now.
Meera: [Voice breaking, trying not to cry.] You died in that cave. [Leaves.]
 — From The Spoils of War, Season 7, Episode 4 of Game of Thrones (2017).

And like so many other characters on the show, Bran has strong feelings for members of his immediate family. The following quote from a conversation with Sansa shows that — as is so often the case with people who struggle expressing their emotions — he hasn't quite mastered tactfulness, much less empathy.

Bran: 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.
Sansa: How do you know all this?
Bran: The Three-Eyed Raven taught me.
Sansa: I thought you were the Three-Eyed Raven.
Bran: I told you it's difficult to explain.
Sansa: [Sighs.] Bran -
Bran: I'm sorry for all that's happened to you. I'm sorry it had to happen here, in our home. It was so beautiful that night. Snow falling, just like now. And you were so beautiful, in your white wedding dress.
Sansa: [Breathes heavily and looks afraid.] I have to go back inside, Bran.
Bran: I'll stay a bit longer.
Sansa: [Leaves.]
 — From The Queen's Justice, Season 7, Episode 3 of Game of Thrones (2017). [Emphasis added.]

Naturally Sansa is horrified to suddenly learn her younger brother knows what transpired once she was married to the sadistic Ramsay Bolton — someone so despicable, by the way, that his image will not be appearing on these pages. It's reasonable to think that if Bran was more sensitive to his sister's emotions, he would have kept that to himself.

Bran Is Dead, Long Live Bran

Meera's observation that Bran died in that cave is, when seen in the light of other plots in the show, extremely profound. From the individual resurrections of Jon Snow and Beric Dondarrion, to the mass resurrections of the wights — assuming one could actually call their afterlife a life — rebirth is a common theme in the Westeros of Game of Thrones.

However the aftermath of the death of Bran's childhood identity takes a different form — it is more of an awakening. If Bran's new life is a rebirth, then Arya's return from Braavos and Sansa's second chance as Lady of Winterfell — significantly, without Ramsay — can be considered rebirths as well.

Certainly, extrapolating this idea of rebirth to include the reappearance of older, long-dead Starks — such as Ned, Catelyn, or Robb — is futile, because no one likes silly series finales. Similarly, the show's writers are way too smart to do anything to incite accusations of jumping the shark.

Moreover, speculation of any type about what might happen in the final season is totally futile, because who would want to do anything that might ruin the suspense?

In these dark times (2018), when winter has arrived but we don't yet know what happens to the show's myriad protagonists, the best advice for fans of the show is: patience you must have, my young padawan[s].

About This Portrait

This profile is based on Bran as he appears in the first five seasons and the first few episodes of season six — before season 6, episode 5, The Door — the episode in which he transforms into the Three-eyed Raven.[1]


[¹] Although Bran's role as the Three-eyed Raven is only starting, it seems evident that, at least as far as the type of personality analysis used to create these portraits is concerned, his personality is not changing so much as it is growing more intense.