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What Was Bran Doing While King’s Landing Burned to the Ground?

Descending into madness, Daenerys Targaryen mounted Drogon and turned the capital of Westeros into ash, in the process killing thousands of innocents and burying Cersei Lannister in rubble. To be fair, though, it was also a pretty busy day for the Three-Eyed Raven.

Getty Images/HBO/Ringer illustration

Well, that happened! Daenerys of the House Targaryen; the First of Her Name; the Unburnt; Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men; Queen of Meereen; Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea; Protector of the Realm; Lady Regent of the Seven Kingdoms; Breaker of Chains; and Mother of Dragons wasn’t content with the amount of nicknames and titles she’d accrued up to this point, and defiantly managed to add the fitting new sobriquet “Suddenly a Batshit Burner of Innocent People Including Very Terrified Children.” It has a good ring to it, and she definitely earned it. Dany’s jarring turn toward becoming her father’s daughter will indeed burn through our collective pop culture discourse for decades to come, but what’s done is done, and so be it.

But the pressing question many of us were asking after “The Bells,” the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, was simply just what in the hell was Bran Stark doing during Dany’s massive and sudden Mad Queen heel turn? What good is having an all-knowing and all-seeing wizard boy in your squad if you’re just going to leave him at home? Yes, he’s a bit off-putting, but having someone with greensight or the ability to warg into other creatures might be useful at some point! But nope. He was nowhere to be found. And so we were left to wonder how he spent his day while many other Westerosi youths were turned to ash. Which is what I did. Here, for the first time, is an approximation of Bran’s day during the burning of King’s Landing, which again, is an event that he definitely knew would happen and forgot to mention to anyone.

7 a.m.

Bran pretends to wake up. He doesn’t really sleep. He just thinks very hard about weirwood trees and closes his eyes and eventually opens them; then he continues to think very hard about weirwood trees. More like weird wood trees, he finally decides. He smirks, mirthlessly.

7:30 a.m.

Bran stares at his breakfast and thinks about how gross cooked food is. The only food he really misses is the deer he used to munch on when he warged into his direwolf, Summer. This gets him thinking about how oh yeah, he can warg into sentient creatures. Perhaps even a dragon. His brain starts turning as he begins to think about how Daenerys is going to roast innocent people alive because some bells triggered her PTSD caused by … not being as universally liked as Jon Snow.

8:15 a.m.

Bran is rolled out into the yard, where he stares at a tower for an hour and a half. It starts to rain a bit, but no one bothers to roll him under any cover.

9:40 a.m.

Ser Brienne of Tarth walks by and says, “Good morning, my lord!” and Bran says, “I’m no lord.” Brienne responds, “Well, good morning anyway!” and Bran replies, “Is it?” and then Brienne says she has to go to the bathroom. Bran knows she’s not going to the bathroom because he knows everything. Including the fact that King’s Landing is totally done for because the Mother of Dragons is having a really crummy day. He thinks about telling someone. But who? He then sees a bird and decides to be a bird for awhile. Being a bird is tight.

11:45 a.m.

Tormund Giantsbane drunkenly corners Bran and tries to get him to drink wildling moonshine. “Weirdly, it turns out it was much more difficult to kill Zombie Gregor Clegane than the Night King,” Bran muses, to which Tormund says, “What the hell are you talking about, you strange little freak?” Bran looks at him and then looks away and then looks back at him and then looks away again and then looks back at him and then very slowly looks away and says, “Nothing.”


Podrick Payne walks by and smiles at Bran while he is sitting next to a tiny fire in an abandoned room. This actually does make Bran feel a little bit like a human being again. Podrick’s smile is pure light in an ugly world. Bran considers telling Podrick that Dany is going to go full bonkers and murder thousands and thousands of innocent people in a few hours, but he just doesn’t want to bum him out. He hates the idea of Podrick being sad. It’s not right. “I’m going to go now,” Bran says to get out of the situation. Pod is already out of earshot.

1 p.m.

The battle in King’s Landing is raging as Sam and Gilly return to Winterfell to retrieve an old tome Sam forgot in the library. Sam and Gilly approach Bran to ask if he would mind if they name their other new baby “Bran” in his honor. Bran shrugs. “You like having sex, don’t you?” Sam stutters in embarrassment as Gilly says quite confidently, “Yes, we do.” Bran gives the slightest of nods. “Yes. I knew that already. I am the Three-Eyed Raven.” Gilly and Sam exchange a furtive look and tell Bran they have to go to the bathroom. They leave. Only one of them goes to the bathroom.

2:50 p.m.

Bran has just fallen asleep in his chair—actually fallen asleep—when he wakes up with a start, as he realizes the guy who pushed him out of a window was just crushed to death with his evil twin sister. “Weird,” Bran says to no one in particular. “Could have sworn there was a prophecy that was so important it necessitated the first flashback in the show. Must have remembered that wrong.” He then sees a grasshopper and in an instant sees everything that has ever happened and will ever happen to that grasshopper’s family. It’s not pretty.

3 p.m.

Bran takes a bath and wonders how Arya keeps managing to survive things that should kill her. What’s with that white horse? Bran wonders. Why does it have such cool hair?

4:50 p.m.

Bran has relocated to the godswood. The wind ruffles his hair ever so slightly. “I’m way taller than Jon,” he says to himself. The ancient heart tree starts crying blood tears because this is true. In a moment of clarity, Bran ponders: “Perhaps I really should have told someone about this Daenerys thing. I may have fucked up. Wow. They are going to yell at me a bunch.”

5:29 p.m.

Bran visits the privy. Everything goes smoothly. Nothing dramatic to report.

6:15 p.m.

It’s getting dark. The cold winds from the North are raging. Sansa brings Bran an extra blanket that still sort of looks like shit, but a blanket is a blanket, as the old Northern saying goes. She sits by Bran and starts getting super wistful about their family and all the strange adventures they’ve been through and how it’s all going to be OK. “The Lone Wolf dies, but the pack survives,” Sansa says, quoting their father, the guy who would be very confused to see what his weird children are up to these days. She then smiles at Bran and gives him an affectionate pat on the head. Bran looks Sansa in the eye and says, “Nobody has even said Rickon’s name in two years.” Sansa is taken aback.

She gets up to leave, but Bran grabs her by the wrist.

“There’s something you should know …”

Sansa kneels down by his chair and says, “What is it?”

“There’s a grasshopper in the castle. He’s going to die tomorrow.”

Sansa gives Bran the classic “Ohhhhhhhh, OK” expression then heads straight for the great hall to get drunk with all the normal people left in Winterfell.

11:50 p.m.

Bran lies in bed and thinks about telling someone that Daenerys, again, for no particular reason, suddenly decided to become a mass murderer. But it’s pretty late. He’ll do it tomorrow. If there are no crows to fly around in.

Alex Siquig lives in Baltimore, drinks MD 20/20, and writes about things like Game of Thrones, the Willennium, and the life of Doug Funnie.

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.