Does Old Nan Hold The Key To The Ending Of The 'Game of Thrones' Series?
Warning: The following content contains major spoilers to Game of Thrones
You've only seen her in a few scenes on the HBO drama. But in George R.R. Martin's, A Song of Ice and Fire, Old Nan, House Stark's servant, may have foreshadowed a major key to the series end.
When Bran is paralyzed by Jamie in season 1, he spends a lot of his time with Old Nan. She would tell him some of the wildest stories. While most need to be taken with a grain of salt, there seem to be clues from both the past and present.
Now that some of Bran's time traveling abilities have come to light, It's makes sense to circle back to some of Old Nan's stories as we are learning that some of her stories are coming to fruition.
If you remember, Old Nan had already hinted to us how Arya was going to kill Walder Frey.
After the Red Wedding, Bran relays a story of the 'rat cook.' This is an old legend where a cook in the Night's Watch had killed the son of a visiting king, cooked him in a pie, and fed him to the King.
In Martin's A Storm of Swords, It is revealed that Old Nan was actually the one who told Bran this story.
The Rat Cook had cooked the son of the Andal king in a big pie with onions, carrots, mushrooms, lots of pepper and salt, a rasher of bacon, and a dark red Dornish wine. Then he served him to his father, who praised the taste and had a second slice. Afterward the gods transformed the cook into a monstrous white rat who could only eat his own young. He had roamed the Nightfort ever since, devouring his children, but still his hunger was not sated. 'It was not for murder that the gods cursed him,' Old Nan said, 'nor for serving the Andal king his son in a pie. A man has a right to vengeance. But he slew a guest beneath his roof, and that the gods cannot forgive.'
Old Nan has been around to care for multiple generations of Stark children. It is said that she is the grandmother of Hodor and that she originally came to Winterfell to nurse a Brandon Stark. This could either be Bran's great uncle or great-great uncle as her age is not yet known. Knowing this, only makes her stories all the more mysterious.
In A Game of Thrones Martin includes a scene in which Bran grows irritated with Old Nan. "I hate your stupid stories" he spews at Nan.
"My stories?," she responds. "No, my little lord, not mine. The stories are, before me and after me, before you too."
This not only indicates that Old Nan may be older and wiser than she seems, but also lines up with what the Three-Eyed Raven later tells Bran about the nature of time. "The past is already written," he says. "The ink is dry."
If this is true, it means that time in Game of Thrones operates on a closed loop. Bran cannot change the past, even with time travel. He can only fulfill it. Bran shattering Hodor's mind by traveling into him in the past was always set in motion.
Confused yet? This theory is summed up nicely by this TV Tropes post on understanding self-fulfilling time travel:
You go back in time to set right what once went wrong, only to discover that the 'changes' you're making to the past were what 'already' happened anyway. In other words, there was no 'first time around' — the past only happened once, there were no different 'versions' of it, and the changes you made to the past ultimately created the very past you read about in the history books before leaving on the trip.
Now here's where Old Nan really changes the game. In Martin's A Game of Thrones Bran has a moment in which he contemplates Nan's story of Brandon The Builder. She always insisted this was his favorite story:
Thousands and thousands of years ago, Brandon the Builder had raised Winterfell, and some said the Wall. Bran knew the story, but it had never been his favorite. Maybe one of the other Brandons had liked that story. Sometimes Nan would talk to him as if he were her Brandon, the baby she had nursed all those years ago, and sometimes she confused him with his uncle Brandon, who was killed by the Mad King before Bran was even born. She had lived so long, Mother had told him once, that all the Brandon Starks had become one person in her head.
Martin is known for including insignificant details that actually turn out to be major plot points. So this last sentence could easily be hinting that Bran also embodies all of the Bran Starks and is in fact Bran The Builder. Many fans seem to insist this is the real truth to Bran.
One Imgur user wrote:
"Bran will go back in time to build the Wall, and when people will ask the guy’s name, he’ll just say 'Bran,' Thus, Bran the Builder, who will be the inspiration for his name when he’s born in the present time. He’ll be the one who’ll establish, in the past, that there must always be Starks at Winterfell, because he must ensure that he comes to exist in the present."
HBO has also triggered this theory when they showed Bran the Builder being carried around on a platform indicating that he may have been paralyzed, just like Bran. This can be found in an extra about the history of Westeros in the DVD box set.
If Bran turns out to be the Bran who built the wall, his time traveling abilities would be crucial in defeating the White Walkers - Making Bran one of, if not the most important character in Game of Thrones.
What do you think? Is Bran also Bran The Builder? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.