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In the Game of Thrones Season 8 finale before leaving for

The Wall (or whatever it is right now)

Jon apologises to Bran and says:

I am sorry I wasn't there when you needed me.

To which Bran replies"

You were exactly where you were supposed to be.

What is Jon apologising for and what does Bran mean exactly?

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Bran had a long, dangerous and arduous journey. From recovering from being pushed out a window and learning to deal with being crippled. Being chased out of Winterfell and then North of the Wall. He lost comrades and faced near-death while needing to rely almost completely on the aid of others. He personally was marked by the Night King and was his primary target. And Jon wasn't there for any of it.

As for what Bran meant:

Things needed to end the way they did. If Jon had been guarding Bran through the story he never would have rallied the army that ultimately defeated the Night King or Daenerys and Cersei for that matter.

  • If this is the case, timing of this apology is very off. He is suddenly apologising for something he couldn't really do. Seems like he is deliberately being formal to a new king which also does not make a lot of sense. – HBhatia May 22 at 5:58
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    @HBhatia It's not off. He is about to be permanently separated from his brother. He is saying sorry for everything because he never will see him again. – bruglesco May 22 at 11:24
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    Bran saw 14,000,605 futures and knew that Jon was needed elsewhere more. – Broots Waymb May 22 at 13:40
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The impression is that Jon was apologizing for not being there to protect Bran and prevent his attempted murder when he was thrown from the tower and everything that came after it. Bran's reply is that without Jon going to the Wall, everything that came from that, which included the killing of the Night King which saved the living of Westeros, would not have happened.

  • its strange that he did not do it earlier.. he had plenty of chances. – HBhatia May 21 at 2:32
  • Your time line doesn't add up. Jon hadn't even joined the Night's Watch when Bran fell down - in fact he comes to say goodbye to Bran before he does so. – Amarth May 21 at 15:56
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Most likely not being there when Bran & co travelled north of the wall.

Sam knew about it but kept it quiet from Jon, presumably until later. It would have been handy to have some of the Night's Watch with them, since they are the only ones south of the wall with any experience of travelling beyond it.

But since the Night's Watch were drawing all the attention of the White Walkers, it would have made Bran's journey less dangerous. This could be what Bran meant with Jon being where he was supposed to be.

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I think Jon was referring to the fact that he wasn’t there to protect him from the night king at winter fell when Arya was. It’s probably something that's played on Jon’s mind since in the same way any big brother would want to protect their younger crippled sibling. Also that scene was never explained to fans, lots of people were saying Jon should’ve killed the NK and not Arya so it was the writers predicting this reaction and tying the lose ends up surrounding this I think, it’s almost as though Bran is saying to Jon you were meant to distract the undead dragon so Arya could do her job.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. Is there any evidence you can give in support of this, or is it just assumptions on your part? Answers that cite facts from the show or other knowledgeable sources, like the writers, are much stronger. Please read How to Answer. – DavidW May 23 at 1:22
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I think he was apologizing for the fact that Jon got caught up by the Undead Dragon and wasn't there to help protect Bran from the Night King.

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    But Theon was assigned to that duty, not Jon. I don't think Jon would apologize for fighting/commanding at the place in the battle where he was assigned to be. – Amarth May 21 at 16:00

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