To say that the Battle of Winterfell provided non-stop, high-stakes action would be an understatement. But as epic as this Game of Thrones episode was — with so many characters fighting like their lives depended on it (which they were) — there was one person who seemed to be putting in a minimum amount of effort. Luckily, there have been a ton of Bran warging theories on Reddit that have popped up since the episode aired to help try and explain why the Three-Eyed Raven did so little during the big battle, especially since we know how useful his warging powers could've been.
Shortly after arriving at the Godswood, Bran announced to Theon that he was "leaving" for a bit and proceeded to warg into some ravens so that he could go track the Night King's whereabouts down. But here's the thing — it didn't take that long for him to find the Night King, so what the heck was Bran doing the entire rest of the time he was using those abilities? He only came back long enough to see Theon sacrifice himself to the Night King and for Arya to show up and save them all. Many fans were waiting for Bran to warg into one of the dragons, but alas, that moment never came.
So was he really just trying to avoid having awkward small talk with Theon or is there more to this storyline than meets the eye? Fans have some theories.
1. He Was Documenting The War For Historical Purposes
Reddit user Evil_Spez suggested that Bran was using his time inside the ravens to get a proper bird's-eye view of everything that was happening so that it would become part of humanity's history. And as Bran explained to us in Episode 2 of Season 8, the whole reason the Night King wanted him gone was because he was humankind's memory.
2. He Was Keeping Tabs On Arya's Whereabouts
It may have been a surprise to all of us that Arya swooped in and killed the Night King, quite literally telling Death personified "Not today," but given Bran's supposed knowledge of, well, everything, this is something he knew was coming. Reddit user Shannx2 theorized that Bran spent the majority of his warg time during the battle simply keeping an eye on Arya to make sure all was going according to plan.
3. He Is The Lord Of Light
Reddit user DontMicrowaveCats wrote a complete and thorough rundown of all the reasons this totally makes sense, but one point that sticks out is that many people who were brought back by the Lord of Light were the ones who helped keep Arya safe so that she could fulfill her destiny. Beric was brought back six times by the Lord of Light so that he could die saving Arya from those wights. The Hound somehow managed to survive his battle against Brienne because the Lord of Light had other plans for him: to protect Arya like he's done so many times before.
Bran knew Arya would be the one to take the Night King down. In fact, he armed her with the dagger that would do the deed. So perhaps he's been working behind the scenes this whole time on a much bigger scale — arranging the chess pieces so that it would all lead to this moment.
4. He Was Going Back In Time
Anything involving time travel can get a little confusing, so here's how Reddit user kuumasaatana broke it down:
"I think Bran warged back in time to give Arya the dagger, and setup everything else related to the current episode's fight. We saw everything what Bran was doing in his warged state in s8e3 across multiple episodes/seasons. For example s7e4 Bran was sitting under the tree and gave Arya the dagger he got from Littlefinger. I'd bet that was one of the things he did now while warged."
Bran has already proved that he can alter the past, whether he means to or not ("Hold the door!"), so it's definitely possible. Confusing, but possible!
5. It's How He Lured The Night King Out
Reddit user stig4020 wrote that whenever Bran uses his powers, it activates the mark the Night King put on him. So Bran needed to continue warging to make sure the Night King found him in time for Arya to come in and finish him off.
6. He Was Watching Avengers: Endgame
Because, honestly, we shouldn't rule anything out at this point.
Whatever it was Bran was up to, let's just hope it was motivated by something more than sheer laziness.