Spoiler alert! If you haven't seen 6th season episodes, you might want to avoid reading any further.

We know (or strongly suspect) that Bran Stark caused Wyllis/Hodor to become mentally ill by warging into him back in time. Could the Three-Eyed-Raven have warged into (or spoken into the mind of) the Mad King Aerys? He could have tried to warn Aerys about the white walkers and encouraged him to burn the white walkers. This led to Aerys going insane and saying "burn them all".

Is there anything from the books which help answer that question?

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    Whomever flagged this as "primarily opinion-based" why? They are asking if it is addressed in the books. May 27, 2016 at 9:13
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    @MeatTrademark Thanks. That's exactly my request. Is there any information in the books that supports or disproves what I wrote?
    – RichS
    May 27, 2016 at 15:56
  • @MeatTrademark the Hodor scene hasn't happened in the books yet, and it's difficult to prove a negative. I didn't flag, however I'm assuming those who did viewed this as a 'future works' situation. The questions provided are very detailed, and I up voted both, however they still are opinions until we see (in the show or books) Bran warg into the mad king or both the books and show ends without seeing this.
    – kuhl
    May 27, 2016 at 20:13
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    If the question is "do the books show x" and the books do not, that's an answer isn't it? If it's fuzzy, comment that. The OP was not asking for opinions. "Is there anything from the books which help answer that question?" If not, say so. May 27, 2016 at 20:29
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    @kuhl I was asking more about already published books, not future ones. Perhaps GRRM left a hint that the 3 Eyed Raven had some connection with the Mad King, or recommended to the Mad King to use Wild Fire. (e.g. - Does any book hint that Wild Fire is useful against White Walkers?)
    – RichS
    May 28, 2016 at 19:20

2 Answers 2


No there is no such evidence in the books or any mention of it.

Why, you ask? Because:

Fire's ineffectiveness against Others

Melisandre said:

"Necromancy animates these wights, yet they are still only dead flesh. Steel and fire will serve for them. The ones you call the Others are something more."

This implies that Others can't be killed by normal fire and steel.

Also in Battle of the Fist of First Men, we saw that fire arrows did not stop the onslaught of the others and their thralls.

This proves that others are immune to ordinary fire and thus it makes no sense for Three Eyed Raven to try and warn the mad king to the danger and to use ordinary fire against them. Granted, Wildfire burns hotter than ordinary fire but it is no magical fire.

Some might point out that Pyromancers do mention that appearance of dragons could result in increased production of Wildfire in prelude to battle of Blackwater bay but that does not prove Wildfire is magical. If it were magical, art of producing wildfire should have died when last dragon died in reign of Aegon III. Dragons might act as catalyst to production of Wildfire but the product remains chemical in nature, not magical.

Three Eyed Raven's preferred means of Communication

When Three eyed Raven wanted to communicate something, he uses dreams and even messengers as we saw in case of Bran when he used to appear in his dreams and even sent the Reed Siblings to get him to North. He did not "warg" into Bran and make him come beyond the wall.

Skin Changers code of Ethics beyond the wall

From what we know from Wildlings, Skinchangers have a code of honor according to which warging into another human is considered horrible and abomination if used to manipulate the other person.

Targaryen Inbreeding and madness

Targaryen madness is something which can be attributed to centuries of incest and inbreeding. Aerys's grandfather, Aegon V detested incest and tried to marry his children to other houses. Two of them, Jaehaerys and Shaera however secretly married each other and Aegon was forced to accept that. Jaehaerys and Shaera later had Aerys (insane) and Rhaella (sane), who were married to each other. Results were Rhaegar (sane), Viserys (Insane), Daenerys (Sane). Aegon V himself had a mad brother, Aerion the Monstrous, who thought drinking wildfire would make him a dragon.

Historical mad Targaryens include:

  1. King Maegor the Cruel
  2. King Baelor the Blessed
  3. Prince Rhaegel
  4. Prince Aerion
  5. King Aerys II the Mad
  6. Prince Viserys

No one warged into five of the six even if we assume Aerys went mad because of that, they still were insane.

Who is Three eyed raven?

In Books, it is a very popular theory that three eyed raven is a Targaryen himself, Brynden Bloodraven, son of King Aegon IV and uncle to Maester Aemon. He killed his half-brother and nephews to protect Targaryen dynasty in Blackfyre rebellions. He was later sent to the wall for another such act done to protect the Targaryen dynasty from Blackfyres. Why would he sow seeds to destroy it by taking the risk of making Aerys mad even if we discard the evidence that Aerys was inbred enough to go mad anyways?

Three eyed raven said about changing course of events:

"I have my own ghosts, Bran. A brother that I loved (Daemon or Daeron), a brother that I hated (Aegor), a woman that I desired (Shiera). Through the trees, I see them still, but no word of mine has ever reached them. The past remains the past. We can learn from it, but we cannot change it."

Aerys's Obsession with fire and dragons

Aerys was obsessed with fire long before Others ever reappeared after the long night. According to Jaime, Aerys hoped to rise again as a dragon from ashes, another one of Targaryen madnesses. Aerion too thought that drinking wildfire would make him rise as a dragon. His order to burn the city was simply given to take final revenge from Robert as a Dragon. Jaime made sure that did not happen by cutting his throat.

From ASOS Jaime V, Jaime recalling Aerys's order to burn the city:

Aerys meant to have the greatest funeral pyre of them all. Though if truth be told, I do not believe he truly expected to die. Like Aerion Brightfire before him, Aerys thought the fire would transform him... that he would rise again, reborn as a dragon, and turn all his enemies to ash.

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    I think in the book the alchemist claim wildfire is magical (but the maesters deny this). Hallyne did admit to Tyrion he didn't understand how suddenly their production of the stuff went through the roof at the same time dragons came back into the world and obsidian candles started burning. May 27, 2016 at 11:20
  • That did happen. The production was increased with return of the dragons which however does not imply that the substance itself was magical seeing as most of the things pyromancers did were mere tricks which were noted by Red priests as well. Somethings, in this case dragons, can act as catalyst to a chemical process but I believe the outcome remains chemical
    – Aegon
    May 27, 2016 at 11:29
  • Anyhow, we do not know if wildfire has any different impact on others than ordinary fire as it has never been employed against them yet. Sorry about the delay, SO went offline.
    – Aegon
    May 27, 2016 at 11:30
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    The pyromancers stated their spells become much more effective lately. "Spell" somewhat points to magic. I am not claiming that wildfire may or may not be effective against the Others, I am simply questioning the choice of words here.
    – user65648
    May 29, 2016 at 17:51
  • @C.Koca In the same passage Tyrion notes that most of their "spells" are simple manufacturing procedures. Plus if it were magic, Wildfire should have gone extinct with last dragon when the magic went out. Anyhow I have stated that we do not know if wildfire works against others.
    – Aegon
    May 29, 2016 at 20:22

Targaryen Madness isn't that uncommon that it needs a convoluted explanation. There's a line in the books about this:

I am no maester to quote history at you, Your Grace. Swords have been my life, not books. But every child knows that the Targaryens have always danced too close to madness. Your father was not the first. King Jaehaerys once told me that madness and greatness are two sides of the same coin. Every time a new Targaryen is born, he said, the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land
-Ser Barristan to Daenerys From a Storm of Swords Chapter 71

The Targaryens interbred their family lines too much that it often produced madness.

Edit: Also to specifically address the point about the "Burn them all", we have no indication that fire has any effect on the white walkers. Obsidian / Dragonglass and Valyrian steel can kill White Walkers. Fire can kill the Wights they resurrect.

Giving the Mad King instructions on how to kill the wights would be pointless as we saw previously the Nights King can almost instantly create more. If the raven would give instructions it would be to gather all dragon-steel swords and send them to the wall.

Turn the blades north so to speak... Turn them to the Wall.... Turn to the Wall...Turn to t'wall....

Jaime: "What was that?"

  • Who said that phrase about tossing a coin? Barristan Selmy? And what the phrase "Turn to t'wall" sounds like, and to what could it transform?
    – Schullz
    May 27, 2016 at 8:38
  • Yeah it was Selmy to Daneries. I've updated the answer. The turn to t'wall? I was just joking. I couldn't quite get from "Burn them all" to "Turn to the Wall" May 27, 2016 at 8:46
  • To be honest the whole thing doesn't work out timewise either. The king went mad and got stabbed by Jamie then about 15 years later (pretty much exactly Jon Snows age when the show starts) we see the very first white walker. May 27, 2016 at 8:48
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    In the books, there is no indication that Night's King could raise armies of dead or that he was more than a man.
    – Aegon
    May 27, 2016 at 10:03
  • @MikeyMouse I suspect the White Walkers were around 15+ years before the story began. How long has Craster had his deal with the White Walkers? The walkers could have been around for decades, but in far fewer numbers until recently. The Three Eyed Raven could have seen them, guessed (foresaw?) what the walkers would do given enough time, and then he would decide to warn the king. But the very act of warning the king made the king turn mad.
    – RichS
    May 28, 2016 at 19:24

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