Game of Thrones: Did Bran Stark deserve the Iron Throne?


A winner has finally been crowned. But after all of the talk of what is best for the realm, is Bran truly fit to be King?

We finally have a winner. After nearly a decade of squabbling, backstabbing, and bloodshed, Game of Thrones finally crowns its victor: Brandon Stark.

After a vote from the great lords of Westeros, he became the first ruler of the kingdoms chosen by any means but feudal blood-right. Over the course of this season I have predicted, week by week, who I believed had the best odds at winning the throne. In last week’s underdog section, I predicted that we could see Bran with the crown, and my reasoning for such being a good thing was echoed in Tyrion’s argument.

At any moment, he can reference any of Westeros’ prior rulers and see how they acted. He can learn from every fatal mistake and glorious success. It is hard to repeat the past if you never get to leave it behind you. And while I agree with Tyrion on all those points, the more I have reflected on the events that transpired in the finale, the more they have seemed ill-advised.

There are a couple of things about Bran this season that irked me. His ability to see into the past and future is almost never capitalized on. He does not warg anything meaningful. Mostly, he stares emotionlessly into the void. But he was far from the only character who’s arc seemed to amount to nothing, and so I was not too upset. His appointment as king in “The Iron Throne“, however, has a lot of questionable means when looked back upon.

First, Bran had been quoted earlier in the season claiming he has no interest in titles, expressly saying “I don’t really want anymore,” when Tyrion asks if he’d claim to be lord of Winterfell. A king with no discernable personality, leadership skills, or even personal desire is not one that inspires total devotion in his people.

Beyond that, it seems to be expressly false. If Bran has no desires, as he claims, then why when asked if he would accept the crown did he say, “Why do you think I came all this way?” That not only implies that he does indeed desire the position, but that he knew that he was going to be elected.

That leads me to the most ominous point against Bran. How much did he know? It is safe to assume he knew everything that would transpire, he certainly seems to in the previous quote, and that leads us to a rather disturbing conclusion. Bran could very well be evil, or at least complicit.

He allowed the atrocities and mass death in this season to occur because he saw the ending: him on the throne. Bran conceivably had the ability to warn about Daenerys’ turn to evil, and save the lives of the innocents in Kings Landing. But if the city is not burned, there is no need to get the Dragon Queen out of the picture.

Another troubling thought, he manipulated and scarred the people he supposedly loves to do it. Jon is forced to make an unthinkable choice between his love and the realm. Arya is subject to and nearly killed by the destruction on the ground in King’s Landing. He could have saved Rhaegal from the surprise scorpion bolt attack, kept Jaime from heading south, and prevented Missandei’s capture. But he didn’t. In the most Littlefinger-inspired move of the series, he allowed the chaos to boil over and used it as a ladder.

The electoral meeting was a joke. Why was Tyrion, a prisoner, allowed to run it? Why did the Stark family alone get three votes, when the other houses only received one in most cases. And why would Sansa and the North not be loyal to a king who is the last living son of Ned Stark?

The Dornish and Ironborn have longer, bloodier, and more obvious claims to independence, and the fact that they did not claim it as well is laughable. I could write a whole separate article on the inconsistencies of that meeting itself, but it all contributes to what is ultimately a complete head-scratcher of an election.

Secretly, I think Tyrion chose Bran because of his lack of personal desire and general aloof nature. Tyrion probably surmised that he would hold most of the real power as Hand, and views Bran as easily swayed.

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Either as a master manipulator or merely a mouthpiece for the small council, I do not see many points in the pro-column for Bran. Not to mention, when he inevitably dies without a successor, all of the houses of Westeros will be at each other’s throats again to fill that vacancy. The squabbling and in-fighting will return, and after all they have been through, the innocents of Westeros deserve better. As one of the free-folk, I certainly won’t be kneeling.