The addition of time travel to the world of Game of Thrones has added yet another layer of complexity to the series. You just know each one of Bran's trips to the past are full of clues, but finding them all is a nearly impossible task. Thank goodness for Reddit where users like McPir8 spot the potentially game changing clues so you don't have to. In this instance, McPir8 noticed the sacred Weirwood tree in the creation of the first White Walker scene bore a striking resemblance to the Three-Eyed Raven. If it was his face carved into the tree, then that would mean the Three-Eyed Raven is ancient, and possibly even revered as a god.
The Children of the Forest carved the faces into the Weirwood trees to pay homage to the old gods. If one of the faces they carved was the Three-Eyed Raven's then he has clearly been around for a long time — and he was watching (and weeping) as the Children of the Forest created the first White Walker. Could Game of Thrones have actually shown a god in the flesh? Or did the Children of the Forest misinterpret all of the Three-Eyed Raven's time hopping for a godlike ability? All of these timey wimey twists are making my head hurt.
First, take a look at the scene in question, and pay close attention to the way the image of the Weirwood tree cuts directly to an up close image of the Three-Eyed Raven.
The two bear a striking similarity, and the way the scene is edited appears to be intentional. Bran does not see the face on the tree, but the scene is filmed in such a way to make sure the audience does. If the Three-Eyed Raven is one of the old gods, then the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers in his name. They resorted to the darkest kind of magic to preserve their people and their culture, and ended up unleashing evil on the world in the process. What is more, if their magic comes from the old gods, then without the Three-Eyed Raven they never could have made such a creature. Perhaps, the Three-Eyed Raven feels a sense of responsibility for what happened, and he has waited for Bran all this time because his ability to see the past and the future revealed to him only Bran can stop the White Walkers.
However, there is another theory making the rounds that syncs up so perfectly with the Three-Eyed Raven's legacy stretching back through time it just might be legit. There is rampant speculation that Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven are the same person. Sounds crazy, right? However, the Three-Eyed Raven did ominously tell Bran before his death, "It is time for you to become me."
This is all mind-bending stuff that relies heavily on time travel and magic, but it is possible the Three-Eyed Raven is a version of Bran who has seen the worst possible outcome of the coming war with the White Walkers. In order to prevent the worst from happening he has used his powers of greensight to travel throughout time and in the process possibly gained not only enough knowledge to train his younger self, but also attained the status of a god. In fact, if the Three-Eyed Raven's face is carved on the Weirwood tree, he has to have lived through many, many eras while spending enough time in the past to age into an old man. As for his comments about the ink being dry on the past, this theory does not contradict his statements because it is the future he wants to change, and he said nothing about the future being set in stone.
In the process of all this time jumping, the Three-Eyed Raven may have created a paradox of sorts. If the first White Walker is also The Night's King then the reason he can see and touch Bran while he is out vision questing could be because The Night's King was not only created in the Three-Eyed Raven's name, using his powers, but also because the first thing he saw upon his creation was Bran. In other words, once again all roads lead back to Bran setting the entire story in motion.
Time travel will bite you every time. Whether or not the Three-Eyed Raven and Bran have always been one and the same, the idea that the Three-Eyed Raven has been around long enough to have his likeness carved into a Weirwood tree has major implications. The Three-Eyed Raven died beneath the Weirwood tree, but I have a feeling the show has only just begun to unravel the mystery of what or who he is and just how long he has existed.
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