Caroline Dhavernas for TV Guide Magazine’s What’s Worth Watching [x]
If Margaery can’t rule, who would you want to rule?:
"Well you know what, I think Margaery’s a pretty savvy judge of character, you know,
and I think that if she met Dany, she’d like her and respect her.”
I was going to write a different meta on Bran but I had a lot of feelings on this which kind of sidetracked that one. I am going to try and keep this calm and rational and support my claims with textual evidence. I have seen some ideas floated out there which to me go against everything presented in the books to date. Even if you doubt the motives of Bloodraven and the Children of the Forest, what we read of Bran in the books should be enough to tell you he wants to be a hero, not a villain. I also do not believe he will remain underground but I will address that later. First, I will discuss Bloodraven and the Children.
With regards to what they are doing there underground, we have this quote from “Leaf”, one of the Children of the Forest about Bloodraven.
“Most of him has gone into the tree… He has lived beyond his mortal span, and yet he lingers. For us, for you, for the realms of men.” ADWD
This implies that Bloodraven is hanging on because he is needed. The tree has allowed him to live up to the time when he is needed. The “realms of men” need him and the big event coming is the fight for the dawn. The same is implied of Bran in the previous Bran chapter by Bloodraven. He speaks of watching Bran for a long time.
“…And now you are come to me at last, Brandon Stark, though the hour is late.” ADWD
Again this implies that Bran is needed in the coming fight.
Moving on from Bloodraven to the Children of the Forest, we don’t know a whole lot about them but what we do know does not suggest they are in league with the Others or that they would be the big evil against the realms of men. The wiki page sheds some light.
They did fight against men for 2,000 years but then agreed to a peaceful coexistence, signing the Pact on the Isle of Faces. Four thousand years after the Pact the Others invaded and waged war against both the Children and men. This was the first Long Night. The Children fought alongside the First Men against the Others.
After the War for the Dawn there was relative peace between the First Men and the children. Yes, men have cut down weirwoods since, yes the Children have retreated from the lands of men but I do not believe there is convincing evidence that any of this would cause the Children to turn on mankind. I think it far more likely they are preparing to fight against the Others as they did in the first Long Night. The Others are the common enemy of the Children and mankind.
Bran has been brought to them and Bloodraven to join this fight.
Moving onto Bran, I fail to see how people can argue that he will turn evil. As I say, there is no evidence his current companions are working on the downfall of mankind so the only other reason I can think is that there is a belief Bran himself will turn. The only questionable behaviour I have seen from him is the skinchanging into Hodor. It was discussed quite well I think in this meta by ladysmallwood. The skinchanging is wrong but it hardly makes him evil. One quote to support this:
…he never felt comfortable inside Hodor’s skin…. It was better inside Summer. ADWD
He also knows it is wrong.
No one must ever know. ADWD
Bran grew up wanting to be a knight. He has memorised the stories Old Nan told him and aspires to be like the heroes in the stories, not the villains. Late in ASOS, we have this:
I’m a prince of the North, a Stark of Winterfell, almost a man grown, I have to be as brave as Robb
He is dutiful and after his fall, he took his responsibilities seriously, learning what was required of a lord of Winterfell. A person who is so determined to be brave and live up to his house name is not likely to suddenly turn. He even likens his new abilities to his dream of knighthood.
A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. That was as good as being a knight. Almost as good, anyway. ADWD
Moving on to the idea that he might remain a tree. He eats the paste of weirwood seeds so that he might have his gifts awakened and be wedded to the trees. Bloodraven instructs him to slip into the roots in the same way he slips into Summer. He specifically instructs him to:
Follow them up through the earth, to the trees upon the hill, and tell me what you see. ADWD
Instead, Bran slips all the way into the weirwood at Winterfell. Why?
Your heart yearns for your father and your home… ADWD
Bloodraven then tells him that in time his gifts will grow and he will see beyond the trees themselves. His estimate is that this will take years but I believe that is wrong. Bran is carried back to his chamber so that they may “resume on the morrow.” Instead, as soon as Bran closes his eyes he is back seeing through the heart tree. He did not need to sit on the weirwood throne to see. I believe his gifts are far stronger that even Bloodraven anticipated.
Later we know Lord Mormont’s raven behaves differently, calling Jon by his full name. We have Theon hearing the heart tree at Winterfell speak to him and in the Winds of Winter Theon chapter the ravens speak in front of Stannis and Theon, saying “tree” and Theon’s name. I believe this is Bran. In a short space of time he has control of ravens from a large distance away and can communicate messages in a fashion.
I do not believe he needs to stay underground to use his gifts and given all the emphasis on his training as Lord of Winterfell and his longing for home I expect he will return. I believe his arc is too closely linked with Winterfell and the Starks for there to be any other logical outcome.
I love you but then I hate you: Nina Dobrev
(never ending list of perfect people)
"There’s nothing worse than sleeping in makeup. You wake up looking like a painting that’s been left out in a rainstorm."
Arya has been made to feel inferior, worthless, and wrong for not adhering to her society’s harsh standards for women. She is unfavorably compared to the sister who is deemed more beautiful, more lady-like, more courteous, more exceptional in matters of consequence for the patriarchal culture of Westeros. As a result, Arya suffers from low self-esteem with regard to her looks, and her issues with self-esteem are deep-seated and always present. They begin in the first book where she must endure the taunt “horseface,” where she is startled that her father compares her to the beautiful Lyanna, where she is called ugly and awful, and continue on all the way to the house of black and white where she is unable to forget that she was hardly ever called pretty:
"She had never cared if she was pretty, even when she was stupid Arya Stark. Only her father had ever called her that. Him, and Jon Snow, sometimes. Her mother used to say she could be pretty if she would just wash and brush her hair and take more care with her dress, the way her sister did. To her sister and sister’s friends and all the rest, she had just been Arya Horseface." Arya, ADWD
It is all the more significant, then, that the first time she receives a compliment on her looks from someone other than Ned or Jon is in Acorn Hall, where she meets Lady Smallwood.
"I’m sorry I tore the acorn dress too. It was pretty." "Yes, child. And so are you. Be brave." Lady Smallwood to Arya, ASoS
The fact that the compliment comes from a woman- a noble woman at that, is incredibly powerful. Lady Smallwood provides confirmation to a little girl who has only ever been told that she was inadequate for someone of her station and birth. It has been instilled in Arya that she lacks the beauty, skills, womanly attributes of her older sister, plaguing Arya with self-doubt and a sense of low self-worth. Lady Smallwood’s acceptance and praise of Arya are therefore incredibly significant, profound, and rare as her words stay with Arya even after they depart:
"Lord Smallwood, she knew, remembering Acorn Hall so far away, and the lady who’d said she was pretty." Arya, ASoS
"Some of the women tried to put her in a dress and make her do needlework, but they weren’t Lady Smallwood and she was having none of it."
Arya’s interactions with Lady Smallwood are minimal but the residual effects are not. It is the first time that Arya is described as having an entirely positive and affirming relationship with a woman. She is not called horseface, she is not berated or unfavorably compared to anyone, she is not told that she must try harder to be pretty or that she looks like a boy. Arya is simply told that she is pretty. She is reminded that she has someone who wants to take care of her as she is bathed, combed, and dressed like the girl she is proud to be. It is the first time in a long while that Arya Stark is allowed the chance to embrace the beauty that is so often overlooked, ignored, and made insignificant.