Warning! Mountain-sized Game of Thrones season eight spoilers ahead, so click away now unless you’re all caught up!
We still can’t believe our favorite teenage assassin, Arya Stark, managed to take down the Night King during Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones. The Night King might officially be dead, but that doesn’t mean he’s done causing trouble for everyone who managed to survive the Battle of Winterfell. In fact, one fan on Reddit thinks the Night King might have transferred some of his dark powers ages ago to one very important character: Bran Stark.
Reddit user ColdBeing points out that the Night King’s character has had way too much buildup to go out after a single (awesome) stab from Arya’s Valyrian steel dagger, believing there must be some small part of him left behind. The user suggests that maybe a piece of him lives on in Bran, writing, “Why else was Bran warged for so long? Could it be going back in time to prevent all this bloodshed? Could he have been making a deal with The Night King? When The Night King walked up to Bran, he looked like he accepted his fate.”
OK, Bran is pretty checked out during the entire episode, and his face seems just as stoic as usual, including when the Night King and his White Walker goons are lurking in the shadows. Some fans argue that Bran is warging for so long because he’s trying to lure the Night King over for Arya — assuming he’s always known her destiny was to kill him — but that doesn’t explain why he and the Night King have such an unnecessarily long staring contest before Arya pounces. Maybe they’re making a deal of some kind? The pieces of this icy puzzle don’t quite add up just yet, but it makes a lot more sense if you consider that this isn’t the first time Bran and the Night King have come face to face.
Back in the season six episode titled “The Door,” Bran has a Three-Eyed Raven vision of the White Walker army approaching the Wall. During the vision, the Night King reaches out and touches Bran’s arm, leaving behind a mark that the Night King can then use to track Bran, which is why he makes such great bait during the Battle of Winterfell.
Until now, a lot of theories have circulated that the touch turns Bran into a White Walker or somehow turns him into the actual Night King at a different point in time. Bran clearly isn’t the Night King because he doesn’t collapse after Arya slays the leader of the White Walkers right in front of him, but could he be holding on to some part of the Night King’s powers?
All it takes is a single touch for the Night King to turn someone into a White Walker. He’s turned the living, the dead, dragons, and even an entire crypt into part of his army. Seconds before his climactic defeat, the Night King touches Arya, holding her up by the neck with one hand in a failed attempt to stop her attack. If one touch from the Night King in a vision is enough to make Bran traceable (and, if the Redditor is correct, possibly pass on powers of some kind), is our girl Arya fine, or should we be worried about her, too?
Ultimately, it seems like the Night King holds a lot of power, but it’s the intent behind those powers that results in so many different outcomes for everyone who’s actually come into contact with him. At this point, all the speculation is mostly just food for thought, but we wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more to that final interaction between the Night King and Bran.