Bran has become the three-eyed raven, and can see anything that has happened in history using his mind's eye. This is an incredible gift that takes place in a world in which people doubt the existence of dragons, giants, and white walkers.

People are a bit confused when they learn about Bran's gift, or seem a bit annoyed by his oddness, but are otherwise not too bothered. They react to Bran's gift as if they had just seen an unusually large goat.

This really came to the forefront in season 8. Bran claims in front of a large audience including Daenerys that the night king has breached the wall and has one of her dragons. He later speaks in front of the war council in Episode 2, during which many people are present, some who barely know Bran. He speaks of the night king and being the three-eyed raven and the end of the world etc., and no one seems especially concerned.

We have no indication that these individuals are even aware of Bran's gift, let alone why they're so comfortable with it. They also acknowledge his visions and use them to dictate their plans. If I was in the room I would be saying: WAIT, what is he talking about, how does he know these things, how can we believe him, and why aren't we more curious about this super wizard?

Why isn't everyone flabbergasted about Bran's "gift"? This is unlike anything anyone has ever encountered and is beyond comprehension, yet no one seems particularly perturbed.

I'm using the word "flabbergasted", but I'm also curious why people aren't more interested, questioning, curious, surprised, affected, etc.

  • 8
    There is a lot of time passing that we are not seeing. Tormund and Co didn't make to Winterfell from Eastwatch overnight. Those battlements and trenches around Winterfell took some time to build. I'd say there are weeks have gone by since the last episode and months since Bran first made it back to WF.
    – Skooba
    Apr 22, 2019 at 15:33
  • 3
    Yes makes sense, but it is still very poorly done in my opinion. The answer is likely "let's assume everyone just figured it all out through discussion and discovery, and keep quiet about it"
    – Behacad
    Apr 22, 2019 at 15:45
  • 24
    Note that Bran is not a random person, he's one of the lords of winterfell, so I'm sure word got around about his gift. Since stuff like dragons, white walkers, giants and people coming back from the dead are now commonplace, what's one dude seeing the past?
    – Hans Olo
    Apr 22, 2019 at 15:47
  • 6
    If it were the second coming of Christ, a lot of Americans would say, see I told you so. Others would say, well shit... anyone got a deck of cards? But the vast majority would say, yeah, whatever. I have to be at work in a half hour. - Everyone in that room has learned better than to blaspheme. And somewhere in the last 8 seasons they've all learned that that blaspheme would be legitimate. He's basically unapproachable; the only conversation he's ever had was with a dwarf who had the courage to have a sit down with him.
    – Mazura
    Apr 23, 2019 at 0:18
  • 5
    "This is an incredible gift that takes place in a world in which people doubt the existence of dragons, giants, and white walkers." They've encountered literally all of these things by the time Bran becomes the Three-Eyed Raven. Apr 23, 2019 at 10:44

4 Answers 4


Who in Winterfell at this point would be flabbergasted by Bran's gifts?

Many things have happened in the world of GOT in the last 7 years (in GOT universe time).

Most people in Winterfell have either seen white walkers or believe they exist because so many others have seen them.

The free men from beyond the wall are all familiar with magic, such as some people having gifts to allow them to take control of animals.

Anyone who rode with Stannis saw the powers of the Red Witch.

Varys lost his genitals to a magic user, who used the flesh to summon something in a fire.

Daenerys is all to familiar with magic users, and you know, did the whole dragon thing.

There is also plenty of evidence that some people of Westeros are believers anyways. Even Cersei visited the blood witch Maggi and was haunted by her prophecies.

And Northmen by way of their religion are even more likely to be believers in magic and particularly greenseers. Just look at Jojen Reed.

Add to this that Bran Stark is a Lord of Winterfell and therefore more likely to be believed than a commoner, and I think it would be more strange for people not to believe him at this point.

And if anyone did want to challenge that he knew these things, they would not only be challenging a Lord of Winterfell, but all those who did believe him, including (but not limited to) Jon Snow, Daenerys, Arya and Sansa.

  • 5
    I'm not convinced that the people of Westeros in general believe much in magic. Magic is all over the religions of the North (the Old Gods) and Essos (Many-Faced God, Lord of Light), but the New Gods of Westeros don't seem to have magic at all.
    – Michael W.
    Apr 22, 2019 at 17:08
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    @MichaelW. Hence why I said there is evidence that some of the people of Westeros believe in magic and all the other points were related to the people currently at Winterfell.
    – K Mo
    Apr 22, 2019 at 18:03
  • 2
    There are many incredible things going on in this world yes, but I still don't think that all these people would not be incredibly fascinated or interested in an all-seeing man. Even those who don't know (Daenerys when she first arrived) don't seem bothered by the incredible claims. Also remember that people RAN AND SCREAMED when they saw dragons, and freaked out when they saw the whitewalker. But Bran? Nothing.
    – Behacad
    Apr 22, 2019 at 18:07
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    @Behacad maybe people are incredibly curious, but don't know how to approach a Lord about these questions or are disconcerted enough that they don't want to know. In regards to people running and screaming, a young man in a wheelchair isn't quite as scary as undead killing machines or fire breathing monsters. I'm sure Bran's gifts are enough to make people wary of him, but doesn't invoke the same level of fight or flight response that a dragon does.
    – K Mo
    Apr 22, 2019 at 18:13
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    Don't forget that Bran, a cripple boy, survived north of The Wall for months on end, when many rangers of the Night's Watch don't make it that long. In addition to being a lord, he has some street cred. Apr 22, 2019 at 19:12

On the show, Bran's powers are more about knowing things than doing things (the books deal much more with his warg nature than does the show, though so far to relatively little ultimate effect), while dragons are pretty much the opposite.

Bran's powers are difficult to casually observe (he said he'd seen Littlefinger do various things, for example, which Littlefinger would certainly know was accurate, but who else would?). Even those who know what he can do might not quite grasp the scope of it-- he can observe events in the past, which is easy to appreciate, but he sort of knows everything that's ever happened in Westeros (possibly subject to some unknown limitations). That's a lot harder to wrap your head around, especially in a setting where knowledge of history is limited to what someone may have written down in a book that happened to survive and which you happen to have had the time to read.

It seems like a fair bet that there are a lot of actual opinions about Bran's abilities. Many probably doubt that he can actually do any of the things he claims he can, and doubt magic more broadly. Others may be more willing to believe that his claims are at least possible. But the main characters of the show have nearly all encountered legitimate magical powers, many of them a lot more unnerving than knowledge of history and current events.

Seeing Arya drink lethal poison and survive, or mystically change faces, or watching a priest raise someone from the dead over a dozen times, or experiencing the mysteries of the House of the Undying, or a woman walk into a bonfire and then rise from the ashes, or seeing a dragon roast most of an army, or watching a field of corpses rise and attack-- these are all pretty dramatic and way outside of the norm of what people believed was at all possible. Bran's powers seem a bit more "ordinary", sort of like having extra-fast ravens or having spent a lot of time studying.

Finally, whatever it is that people believe Bran can do, he seems to be very much on his observers' side. At a minimum, he doesn't seem to be a threat to them (compare with a few dragons, which are inherently dangerous even if they are on your side).

So, in summary, Bran's powers are less dramatic, harder to truly understand, difficult to observe, and less threatening than essentially all other magic seen in the show.

  • 15
    If someone thinks being able to find out more or less everything that happened in the past is less dangerous than a dragons, all it shows is that they know less than Jon Snow.
    – Adamant
    Apr 22, 2019 at 21:30
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    One example: Robert learning the true identity of Jon Snow would've led to civil war in a snap. Robert could not let him live and Ned would not have given him up easily and likely would've raised the entire North to protect his sister's son as if he were his own.
    – chx
    Apr 23, 2019 at 7:48
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    Also, if anyone wants to test Bran, he can probably answer them with an embarrassing fact (eg they slept with neighbor's wife, stole from the inn-keeper, cursed the old gods etc etc), until people are convinced or stop challenging him. Tah dah, problem solved.
    – Hans Olo
    Apr 23, 2019 at 10:01
  • @Rebel-Scum Can he though? Does how fast can he scan someone's life unless he knows of a specific incident to look at? Would he have to live through years of boring nothing to find a juicy bit? It seems his power is better for looking at specific places/times or confirming things already known than for that.
    – Tim B
    Apr 24, 2019 at 17:38
  • @Adamant A fair enough point, though a legitimate, historically-accurate claim doesn't seem obviously better to me than a made-up claim in terms of efficacy (as long as people are willing to back it with action). After all, the "true" succession isn't very important when people are backing near-continuous coups. Knowledge + an army leads to a potentially grinding conflict with unknown results. A dragon can kill you and melt the castle you're hiding in in a one breath. Both dangerous and significant, but one much more proximate.
    – Upper_Case
    Apr 26, 2019 at 16:15

Never forget that for every Bran, there are probably thousands of actual raving lunatics.

While the show doesn't particularly draw attention to it, they still hold notions that to us (the modern viewer) sound archaic. One example is the "only men can be knights" scene from the last episode. There are other cases where it's subtly visibly how only a handful of characters (e.g. Tyrion) used "modern" morality that the viewer identifies with, whereas other (even characters we like) still use (to us) outdated ideals.

So look at it with their prejudiced eyes: Bran used to be a healthy boy. Then he became a cripple. Then he seems to have become mentally challenged. He just stares at you with blank eyes, and then sometimes says something that seems to be a non-sequitur.

Tyrion is a longstanding example of how the disabled are treated. The general populace treats them as inferior or avoid them. In Tyrion's case, he has a sharp mind, and more intellectual characters recoginize that Tyrion is not in any way handicapped in conversation (if anything, he outclasses them).

But Bran does not show the same conversational competence that Tyrion does. He speaks weirdly. We, the viewer, know that he's an omniscient entity and therefore know that his utterances are wisdoms. But to someone who doesn't know Bran's backstory, it just sounds like the ramblings of a decaying mind.

In the last episode, he quoted "the things I do for love" to Jaime. To Jaime (and the viewer), that makes a lot of sense. To everyone else, who wasn't there when Jaime said it, it's off-topic and unrelated to what other people are talking about.
This repeatedly happens. Bran references something that makes a lot of sense to someone, but many others who lack context do not understand him and thus assume he is rambling.

Tyrion was the first to recognize Bran's value and that's he's not just rambling, because Tyrion (of all people) knows what it's like to be dismissed as the inferior and broken human. Additionally, Tyrion loves learning, and Bran is effectively an infinite one-man-library.

Bran claims in front of a large audience including Daenerys that the night king has breached the wall and has one of her dragons.

Who knows whether Bran is correct, if Bran is the only one who knows it? Trust is one thing, but confirmation is another. Before it is confirmed, some people may trust Bran, but the vast majority will not believe him yet. By the time it is confirmed, there will already be an air of "Bran says silly things" which is a reputation that's hard to remove.

Not everyone who speaks wisdom (at a time where it is not yet understood to be wisdom) will later be vindicated when it is revealed to be correct.

Similarly, think back to Bran and Littlefinger's conversation, where Bran quotes "chaos is a ladder" to Littlefinger. Since Littlefinger said that to Varys in King's Landing, LF should therefore realize that Bran is omniscient, and must run for the hills because his secrets are known! Except that he doesn't. LF doesn't understand how Bran knows the quote, but there is a much more sensical assumption: Varys talked about it and Bran found out through some channel. Even if it wasn't Varys, Littlefinger seems likely to assume that someone must have overheard him. There's no reason for him to assume it must be a supernatural phenomenon.

He later speaks in front of the war council in Episode 2, during which many people are present, some who barely know Bran. He speaks of the night king and being the three-eyed raven and the end of the world etc., and no one seems especially concerned.

When someone says something you don't understand, the most common human reaction is to assume that this person is mistaken, rather than thinking you are mistaken.

Because how can you know that Bran isn't just living a childlike daydream in his head? For all they know, Bran is a mentally challenged boy who makes up stories about the things he hears around him.
Never forget that for every Bran, there are probably thousands of actual raving lunatics who are saying nonsensical things.

Think of it this way: your assumption that everyone should listen to Bran because he just might be right; suggests that you think we should listen to every conspiracy theorist because they just might be right.
This is the same mindset that leads people to e.g. retroactively attribute the gift of foresight to Nostradamus, but only after the allegedely foretold thing has happened; which just doesn't make sense.

  • This answer seems to argue that most people in Westeros just think Bran is a nut. But that doesn't explain why everyone's so comfortable with making battle plans based on his proclamations. Apr 25, 2019 at 15:45
  • @NuclearWang: What proclamations, exactly? The NK's presence is already confirmed by others. The only thing Bran added is that he would make himself the bait, which doesn't really cause an issue should Bran be dead wrong about that.
    – Flater
    Apr 25, 2019 at 19:42
  • 1
    If Bran is dead wrong about being the Three Eyed Raven and the primary target of the Night King, then the entire battle plan is predicated on nonsense. The plan to use Bran as bait only works if you believe that he has the mystical powers he claims to have. If you believe he's a nut, then there's no reason why NK would care about him, no way to draw NK out, and no plan for our heroes to accomplish the one thing they're trying to do. If Bran is just a loony cripple, then their battle plan is crap. Apr 25, 2019 at 20:40
  • @NuclearWang: Fine, but what would they be doing if Bran the alleged loony hadn't said anything? There was no competing battle plan. No one had an alternate suggestion. The closest they got was Jon's suggestion of "kill the NK and the rest fall", which Bran's plan does not prevent nor contradict. Bran's suggestion did not exclude another proposed alternative as there wasn't any.
    – Flater
    Apr 26, 2019 at 19:12
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    The battle plan, if based on nonsense, is worse than just about anything they'd do otherwise - it takes Theon's men out of the fight, and requires that the dragons stay close to protect an insignificant nobody. My point is that no one has any alternative because they are evidently on board with Bran being the Three Eyed Raven and having mystical powers. There's no other plan because everyone agrees this is a good idea, not because everyone wants to spend their final hours pandering to a lunatic. There's nothing to suggest that anyone disbelieves Bran. Apr 26, 2019 at 19:25

I would say that almost everyone in Winterfell at the moment is there because they believe in the White Walkers/Army of the Dead and are there to fight for the living. Jaime Lannister rode up to fight, Theon Greyjoy has come to fight, even the Hound is there to fight. So, the conclusion that Bran Stark is aware of where the White Walkers are and is aware of what they are doing seems less strange because that is the ONLY reason everyone is there.

Daenerys is there to fight the White Walkers ahead of fighting for the Iron Throne, so everyone there is self-selected as someone believing in the supernatural enough to go North in the beginning of a vicious winter to fight them. She is risking everything to fight a magical army, so other related magic must seem only more unusual, not unbelievable in itself.

Also, Bran is very sparing in dispensing wisdom. He will make a claim to knowledge, but only very little about the past. He is not using the power to claim, money, lands, title, or anything like the usual reasons for lying. For example, when others ask if dragon fire can kill The Night King, he says, he does not know because no one has ever tried it before. Most liars will never reveal an end to their knowledge or a limit to their powers. This answer gets Bran nothing personally, and so it is also less suspect.

  • This is a bit different from the other answers, and it is helpful. Can you try to answer the question directly? Are you suggesting that people are not surprised by Bran because he is not saying much that is surprising? Or perhaps not frequently?
    – Behacad
    Apr 24, 2019 at 14:16
  • He is not saying things that are surprising - as in talking about grumpkins. Everyone is there to fight the army of the dead, which many of them have seen personally, and know are real and coming south. So Bran's information, although incredible, is in line with their own ideas/beliefs and thus they are not as shocked. Maybe they should be questioning HOW he knows, but they should not be stunned or shocked.
    – Marinator
    Apr 29, 2019 at 16:25

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