If you’ve watched any of HBO’s Game of Thrones, you’ll remember from the first episodes of Season 1 how Bran Stark had visions of a three-eyed raven. Now, as we head into Season 6, it seems we’re about to find out just who that is.
Meeting the Raven
Remember in Season 4 and the last time we saw Bran & co. They were fighting off wights and trying to enter the cave under the massive Weirwood tree beyond The Wall with the help of Leaf who is a member of the Children of the Forest. Remember all that?
Afterward, when they make their way through the cave, they meet a strange old man. When Bran asks are you the three-eyed raven he responds with. “I have been many things. Now, I am what you see.” Well, that’s not very helpful! He also says “I have been watching you. Watching you all of your lives. With a thousand eyes and one” Creepy.
But, book readers get a little more during this meeting, giving us more to go on. When Bran asks who he is, he responds with, “I wore many names when I was quick, but even I had a mother, and the name she gave me at her breast was Brynden.”
Now I believe there are only three Bryndens mentioned throughout the book series so far. Robb Stark’s bad-ass uncle Brynden Tully, “The Blackfish;” the first son of the Lord Tytos Blackwood; and lastly Brynden Rivers. We can easily decipher that the Three-Eyed Raven is, in fact, Brynden Rivers because the other two are alive and well in the Riverlands.
Brynden Rivers, who went by Lord Bloodraven, was the bastard son of Aegon IV Targaryen. That makes him the illegitimate son of the Targaryen King. He was born an albino, with red eyes and a distinctive red birthmark on his face that appeared to be in the shape of a raven (thus, the nickname). Without getting into great detail, Bloodraven’s Father on his deathbed legitimatized all of his bastards due to animosity for his true heir, which set off the Blackfrye Rebellions over succession to the Targaryen Throne.
Brynden Bloodraven stayed true to his king — Daeron II Targaryen — and helped put down each of the five rebellions. Eventually, he rose to Hand of the King and ended up serving multiple kings as Hand. When Maekar I Targaryen died without a clear successor, Brynden called a Great Council to choose a new king.
One of the remaining Blackfryes wanted to participate in the council, and Bloodraven invited him under the guise of safety and promptly killed him when he arrived in King’s Landing.
The King that was chosen at the Great Council, Aegon V Targaryen (grandfather to Mad King Aerys who’s killed by Jaime Lannister), made his first order of business arresting Bloodraven and sent him to the wall for the murder of the Blackfrye.
While at the wall Bloodraven rose to the station of Lord Commander and went mysteriously missing while out on a ranging expedition.
Keeper of the Tree
Lastly, to fully understand Brynden Rivers, we should mention that he also lost an eye during the first Blackfrye rebellion and preferred to keep the open eye socket on display. (Nice!) He was also rumored to be a sorcerer that controlled the kingdom; and in The Tales of Dunk and Egg stories, Brynden said that there have always been Targaryens who dreamed of things to come, since long before the Conquest.
So back to the cave and what it all means to this show and story. We believe Brynden means to become Brandon Stark’s mentor as he harnesses his power of “greensight” (seeing the future) and “skinchanging” also known as warging. Keep in mind that those Weirwood trees increase anyone’s power to do those things, and this tree’s roots and this cave have extended Bloodraven’s life. (He’s thought to be roughly 125 years old.)
So when Brynden says things like, “I have been watching you. Watching you all of your lives. With a thousand eyes and one,” he’s talking about that greensight. He’s likely identified Bran as a suitable replacement for him, and he’s used his powers of seeing and warging into the crow to help guide Bran here. But what he is exactly and why he needs to be part of the tree is unknown.
What Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven can accomplish together looks to be a huge part of season 6. Many fans speculate that Bran’s tree-enhanced “greensight” and warging powers are what’s behind all the scenes with Bran we’ve seeen so far, particularly the one with him and the Night’s King. Also, it’s likely that these powers will allow him to help his family, help fight the White Walkers, and perhaps even allow him to take control of some very powerful creatures that fly (maybe even the fire-breathing kind).
If you’re wondering why they’re thinking that, watch this clip, in which we’re almost certain the first voice is the voice of the Raven and the second is Bran:
For more information about the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran, and more from Game of Thrones, check out the Game of Thrones Wiki.