Now before we got started here I just want to clarify a few things, one I am not happy about Bran’s story being sped up for the HBO series, and two there will be spoilers in this piece. So before you get upset that I revealed a huge plot twist, you were forewarned that I am both not happy with “Game of Thrones” at the moment and that there is a lot more to Bran than meets the eye. Phew! With that out of the way it’s time to talk about Bran’s storyline and just exactly what we are skipping over in order to make the timeline more appealing to the TV audience. This is not the first time “Game of Thrones” show runners D.B Weiss and David Benioff have altered a plot line to align with current action in the other kingdoms of Westeros. Remember when Daenerys Targaryen was walking through the city of Astapor and almost lost her life due to a fatal scorpion/manticore sting? Magically Ser Barristan Selmy appeared in a hooded cloak, saved the Khaleesi and killed the deadly insect, well if that seemed way to convenient to you, that’s because it was.

 In “A Storm of Swords” from George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, Dany is the victim of an assassination attempt while building up her Khalsar across the Narrow Sea, however it has nothing to do with House of the Undying warlocks. Martin’s version of the attempted murder of the mother of dragons was much more believable and intricate. The Titan’s Bastard, the former commander of the Second Sons, was never slain by Daario Naharis, instead the vengeful sellsword hides in Dany’s camp and waits until she greets her adoring followers to attack. Once exposed without her guards, Dany believes she will be killed at the Bastard’s hands, however, her advisor who identifies himself as Arstan Whitebeard intervenes and rescues her, killing the Bastard with only a walking staff. After the impressive display, his true identity is revealed and Dany learns that he is Ser Barristan Selmy, but to her dismay Selmy served King Robert Baratheon. Now why wouldn’t the showrunners stick to this plotline? Well mainly because the audience already knew what Selmy looked like from his role in the Kingsguard in King’s Landing, and it would take too long to develop. He travels with Dany from Astapor on, meaning there is a significant time gap before he reveals his true identity. The prolonged development of this storyline is similar to the unraveling of Bran’s impact on the series, so fans should except to see a similar abridged version of Bran in Season 4.

When we last left Bran, he had set off to discover the three eyed crow north of the Wall. A major scene of “A Storm of Swords” has already occurred in Season 3 and luckily it is authentic to the story, en route to the Wall Bran and his companions, Rickon, Osha, Hodor, Meera and Jojen Reed, stop for the night to rest at Queenscrown. Once securely inside the castle, they notice that men are in the neighboring village that is allegedly abandoned. One of the unidentified men is Jon Snow, Bran’s half-brother, who is currently fleeing from the wildlings. While Bran and his companions are still in the castle, Bran and Rickon’s direwolves Summer and Shaggydog is out hunting and attacks the men. Jon recognizes Summer and Shaggydog, but in the chaos of the fight he isn’t sure what he sees is for certain. Bran who only recently learned of his skin-changing abilities from Jojen Reed, enters the skin of his direwolf and attacks the wildlings, allowing his older brother to escape back to the Night’s Watch.  The second half of Bran’s story is set to be combined with his story in Martin’s fifth novel “A Dance with Dragons,” considering his notable absence in the fourth book, the only mention of Bran comes from his brother Jon Snow thinking of the little prince, who he believes is dead.  Season 4 will pick up with Bran en route north, without Rickon and Osha, he sent the pair to safety in Greatjon Umber.  

Oddly enough during Bran’s journey into the North they encounter Samwell Tarly who is also attempting to navigate his way back to the Wall after fleeing the White Walkers. The group will eventually reach the Nightfort where they encounter a supernatural “man” who is only identified as Coldhands. The uncertain man leads them through a secret door at the bottom of a well that takes them through to the north side of the Wall. However, Bran, Jojen and Coldhands all extract a promise from Samwell that he will tell no one that they are alive. Sam eventually agrees even though he struggles with not telling his best friend and brother in arms, Jon Snow the truth about Bran being alive. This scene is most likely set to occur in the early episodes of Season 4, as for the rest of Brans story in the forthcoming season that will come from “A Dance with Dragons.” An issue that will plague Season 4 is that each character of the series is not featured in every book, the series is told in the third person by point of view characters, whose number reaches 31 by the fifth novel. Most of Bran’s plot line will be his journey to the three eyed crow, but don’t fret he does finally arrive and at a much faster pace than anticipated. He soon finds the mysterious creature. Bran eventually learns that in addition to his skin changing abilities, he is also a greenseer.

Now let me explain why I am nervous for Brans storyline, in addition to the condensed timeline, audiences need a comprehensible visual for the character of the three eyed crow on TV. For Season 4 the name of the character was changed; British actor Struan Rodger will play the three-eyed raven. Raven? The name is wrong; the name within the GRRM series is the three-eyed “crow” not “raven.” Crows are incredibly significant in “Game of Thrones” and “A Song of Ice and Fire,” the birds represent death, the Men of the Night’s Watch, White Walkers, and even the North. With such vital symbolism it devastates me that Benioff and Weiss would change the name, I don’t see the point. In addition to the name change, the three eyed crow is not really a human per say. The three eyed crow first appears to Bran in dreams way back in Season 1, although he is still a literal bird and not yet a human. However, after a long journey beyond the Wall and into the North, Bran meets the human form of the “three-eyed crow” who introduces himself as Brynden. Brynden is less of a human and more of a creature, having become one with the after years of greenseeing. Brynden is the last greenseer, he teaches Bran, feeding him weirwood paste, which awakens his greenseeing gifts. Although powerful, readers are still unaware of whom the last greenseer was in his mortal life.

So now, a few questions to ponder while you wait for the return of the hit HBO series. Will the rushed version of Bran’s journey north seriously impact the true nature of his travel? The group starves, freezes and comes under attack multiple times -- which almost lead to their deaths -- with Bran relying on his skin changing abilities to seek comfort inside his direwolf Summer. The desperation of Bran’s quest will be lost if he arrives at his destination in two days’ time. Another question: will the introduction of Brynden, the last greenseer into Season 4 be too early in the “Game of Thrones” timeline? Greenseeing gives Bran power over nature and prophetic visions, in one instance he enters the roots of the heart tree at Winterfell. While he is in the current time in his body, once he enters the roots he is giving the ability to essentially time travel, Bran watches his father Ned as a younger man praying, but when he tries to speak it is only heard as the passing wind. These new abilities provide Bran with a serious advantage in the “Game of Thrones,” and his use of them in Season 4 may finally reunite the remaining Starks. What do you think of his sped up storyline? Do you think it will greatly affect the show’s timeline? Comment below and let us know!