When Bran Stark was crowed by election at the end of Game of Thrones, some fans felt cheated. After all, had there been many signs this was coming or not? Well, now a popular new theory argues that fans don’t need to worry about King Bran not paying off in George RR Martin’s ASOIAF book ending for the upcoming A Dream of Spring.
Reddit user EivindL argues: “Like a lot of people, I reacted with seven raised eyebrows when Bran was pronounced the King of Westeros at the end of S8. The reasoning seemed weak, and the lack of set-up is still apparent (though it will be fun to re-read the books in an attempt to find the clues).
“While I see the structural set-up of Bran becoming King (he is the first POV, after all), he is also still a small boy, hardly fit to rule a kingdom.
“I also struggle to see why the endgame king, GRRM’s answer to Aragorn, is essentially a God-King, the fantasy equivalent of Leto II Atreides.”
The theorist then laid out evidence from the previous ASOIAF books as to why King Bran should hopefully feel satisfying for fans.
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They wrote: “Well, for starters, it’s important to remember that Bran’s crowning is essentially an election scene, and the show does not have a good track record with those.
“In both show and books, there has been two elections so far (disregarding King Bran), namely Jon being elected commander and Euron being elected King of the Iron Islands.
“Compare both scenes to their book equivalent, and it’s astonishing how they just don’t live up to the original. My personal opinion is that Jon’s election is fine (albeit a bit short), but that the Kingsmoot was a travesty.
“Both scenes seem overly occupied with the outcome rather than what GRRM is trying to say about these outcomes, which is a common occurrence for the show; they value the ‘what,’ but not the ‘why.’”
The theorist continued: “In the books, Jon’s election is a four-chapter rollercoaster that switches between Jon and Sam chapters, ultimately ending when Sam pulls off a clever scheme to roll Denys Mallister and Cotter Pyke’s votes into votes for Jon. In-between there is some dreaded tension, courtesy of Janos Slynt slowly creeping upwards towards the winning line. In the show, the election is just … Jon winning.
“In the books, the Kingsmoot mostly takes up one chapter, but there are three chapters preceding it, namely Aeron calling the Kingsmoot, Asha making her preparations, and Victarion making his preparations.
“We see the candidates trying to pick up supporters, trying to broker alliances, failing to see the signs that Euron is rounding up support amongst the ‘silent majority’ and so on. It’s a complex sequence of scenes, with GRRM laying the groundwork to help us explain why Euron will win, while simultaneously reintroducing us to Ironborn culture.
In the show … yeah, you don’t need to remember, do you?
“Now, imagine seeing Jon and Euron’s election on the screen first, only finding out how differently GRRM plays said scene years later. Wouldn’t that act as some kind of vindication on his part?”
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They concluded: “This is why I don’t worry about King Bran just yet. We simply don’t have the context to judge how it will appear in the books. I’ve argued before that the show is more reliable when it comes to future events than some people would like to believe, but I’ve been adamant that the showrunners express higher fidelity to outcomes than themes and context, and I imagine King Bran is no exception at this part.
“In the show, the election of King Bran is a small scene lasting a couple of minutes. If Jon and Euron’s elections are a hint to how GRRM will play it out in the books, I will imagine something far more complex, something deeper, something lasting several chapters, perhaps with a multitude of characters being presented, perhaps with certain claims crashing into each other (I could imagine Jon going into self-exile to prevent a future clash of brothers, ala Stannis and Renly, not to mention a handful of Targaryens), until everyone lands on Bran.
“GRRM most likely plans to do some back-and-forth tension, before finally using Bran as an “unlikely” winner, one whose claim is not apparent on the outset (ala Aegon V).
“Is it guaranteed that GRRM will pull it off? Certainly not! The task is heavy, and I’m glad it’s on him, not me. But we have to see the scene in question to judge it, because as the show demonstrated, it just didn’t care much about elections, other than giving them the same outcomes as the book.”