The series finale of Game of Thrones delivered a few surprises when it aired last night, including Bran Stark's fate. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Bran actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright sat down to talk about how his arc wrapped up.
*Season 8 Episode 6 spoilers below*
Bran Stark ended up as King of the Six Kingdoms. "Not everyone will be happy," Hempstead-Wright explained, referring to how Game of Thrones subverted expectations in its closing moments. "It’s so difficult to finish a series as popular as this without pissing some people off. I don’t think anybody will think it’s predictable and that’s as much as you can hope for. People are going to be angry. There’s going to be a lot of broken hearts. It’s ‘bittersweet,’ exactly as [author] George R.R. Martin intended. It’s a fitting conclusion to this epic saga."
While the Throne itself was melted by Daenerys' loyal dragon Drogon, Bran took the title of King regardless, even though Hempstead-Wright initially thought it was a prank on him."When I got to the [Dragonpit scene] in the last episode and they’re like, ‘What about Bran?’ I had to get up and pace around the room," he added. "I genuinely thought it was a joke script and that [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] sent to everyone a script with their own character ends up on the Iron Throne. ‘Yeah, good one guys. Oh shit, it’s actually real?’"
His initial reaction might have been one of disbelief, but he's still happy about the outcome. He did add, however, that he wanted to have a gratuitous death scene "with an exploding head or something." He continued, "I think he’ll be a really good king actually. Perhaps there will be something missing in having real emotive leader, which is a useful quality in a king or queen as well. At the same time, you can’t really argue with Bran. He’s like, ‘No, I know everything.’"
Back in February, betting website OddsShark predicted that Bran would take the Throne. Bran had -150 odds, while Jon Snow sat in a distant second at +600 odds.
Hempstead-Wright also reflected on the series in a piece he wrote for the Hollywood Reporter. "It would be hard to overstate just how important a part of my life Game of Thrones has been," he wrote. "Practically every key life event I have ever experienced is in some way connected to my time on Thrones. Having finally reached this milestone in TV history and my own personal history, I am looking back on these unique and formative years of my life."
His op-ed talks about how he coped with shooting in both the cold and the unrelenting heat as part of his time as Bran, while also calling the ending "dramatic and unexpected." A lot has been said about Daenerys perceived "sudden" turn to the dark side, but he added that "Thrones is at its best when it does things that hurt us." He referenced the heartbreaking episode with Hodor's death and how they relate to Dany's death scene at the hands of Jon Snow.
"Life doesn’t have neat, happy endings; it is ambiguous and ultimately inconsequential," he concluded. "To end Game of Thrones with uncertainty is perhaps the most honest way to end a story so vast and complex—and that uncertainty is what we all feel as we begin our life after Thrones"