Monday, July 1, 2013

A Monthly Dose of Westeros: Part 2-Bran Stark, Hodor, and the Reeds

Since Game of Thrones is currently on a nine month break, I will be providing my thoughts and predictions for one storyline every month until the show’s return. Since I have read the books, I know what should happen, but several plots seem to be taking turns away from the original material, while others are almost spot on. I will examine these apparent changes/accuracy, and do my best to avoid spoilers in “A Monthly Dose of Westeros”.

Next up is the journey of the crippled little lord of Winterfell to beyond the Wall. Bran Stark has officially parted ways with his brother Rickon and wildling companion Osha, who are now on their way to find safety with a Stark bannerman. This leaves Bran to continue north with his mentally handicapped companion Hodor and Meera and Jojen Reed. After a chance encounter with Samwell Tarly, the group will make their next appearance beyond the Wall searching for the three-eyed crow that Bran often dreams about.

I always felt kinda bad for Bran. The poor kid’s whole world gets blown to pieces and he has absolutely no way to fix it. Bran used to be a pretty cool character. He was awesome in the first episode...then he fell. He was alright as a crippled kid struggling with the fact that both of his parents, both of his sisters, and his half brother were not there with him when he woke from his coma...then Robb went to war and Bran was Lord of Winterfell. That’s where it all went downhill. Bran grew irritating and seemed like a character we could’ve done without seeing every episode. He did regain some points with me for going into Hodor’s body, but still. Bran is low on my list of favorite characters. As is Jojen Reed, who is a know-it-all kid trying to show Bran everything he can about a power Jojen does not even possess and trying to prove his “green dreams” really do tell the future.
Jojen dreams with his eyes open!
Basically, now that Osha and Rickon are gone, Meera and Hodor are the only reasons I can stay awake during Bran scenes. Meera is a warrior. And a girl. So that’s pretty cool. And Hodor is...Hodor. Everybody loves Hodor! And I’ll admit...Bran is pretty cool when he slips into his direwolf’s skin.

Now, there were many changes made to Bran’s story this season and I’m expecting even more to follow soon. First off, Bran and Rickon parted ways MUCH earlier in the books. Like as soon as they fled Winterfell. Yeah. They also departed without the Reed children, whom they later met in the woods. In the books, the kids came to a feast in their father’s place and remained with Bran all through Theon Greyjoy’s sack of Winterfell. This gave Bran more time to learn and practice his warg powers, although the show speeds up his progress to have him at the same skill level as he is in the books. Another minor change that I missed was the fact that the tower they stayed in when Jon Snow and the wildlings showed up was actually in the middle of a lake, accessible only by a hidden causeway. I am glad they kept Bran’s skinchange with Hodor in though, that was one of my favorite scenes.

So the third season of Game of Thrones was only the first part of A Storm of Swords. But the last part of Bran’s story we see in this book is the point they ended at in the season finale. There’s nothing left in the book to put on the screen. So I really don’t know what to expect here. The writers may create new parts of the journey to fill in the time until material from the fourth book starts to show up, probably for the same reason they included Theon’s torture scenes: they don’t want us to forget these important characters and feel lost next time they show up. I understand why they put all of Bran’s story in this season, though. The writers needed to make Jon and Bran’s paths cross now because there is still so much left in Jon’s storyline that they’ll need to fit in the next season, it just
Hodor lives for this
wouldn’t have worked to stretch Bran’s part out so far into it. Bran runs into a bunch of stuff out beyond the Wall that doesn’t seem to have a place in the show yet; it actually feels like there’s a little jump in time between Bran’s last chapter in
A Storm of Swords and his first in A Dance With Dragons.

My prediction for Bran’s storyline is that the writer’s will make up some stuff in order to fill the gap between where we are now and where we will be after the material from A Storm of Swords is finished up. Bran’s story gets a lot cooler later on in the series, but until then, be prepared for a long walk full of boringness. Hopefully, Bran doesn’t appear as much in the next season since there are simply more characters with a ton of story left to tell, and it would be unfortunate to take pieces of these stories out just to put more Bran in.


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