Bran being crowned king in Game of Thrones season 8 was George R.R. Martin's decision

Game of Thrones
Image credit: HBO

Game of Thrones season 8 ended with Bran the Broken ascending to the throne of the Six Kingdoms of Westeros but, for many, even the foresight of the Three-Eyed Raven wouldn’t have helped them see that one coming. It was a little out of left-field, to put it mildly, but it’s actually been a plan put in place for years now by George R.R. Martin himself, according to Bran’s actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright.

Speaking to HBO for its Making Game of Thrones series, Hempstead-Wright reveals that two major plot points were mapped out well in advance for Bran: “David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] told me there were two things George R.R. Martin had planned for Bran, and that was the Hodor revelation, and that he would be king.”

Both equally traumatic for some in very different ways: Hodor’s death and subsequent ‘Hold the door’ moment ranks up there with some of the show’s most emotional moments, while Bran becoming king drew the ire of some fans online for its slapdash execution.

Of course, it’s one thing saying X needs to do Y, and another entirely to bring the whole thing home for a grandstand finish. Benioff and Weiss moving the pieces around to make Bran king by just having Tyrion make it so perhaps, for some, lacked the nuance of the seasons that preceded it – even if George R.R Martin declared it must happen.

Still, book fans may now inadvertently know how it all ends up when (if?) Winds of Winter and a Dream of Spring ever end up on bookshelves.

Hempstead-Wright, for his part, adds that it’s “Pretty special to be directly involved in something that is part of George’s vision. It was a really nice way to wrap it up.”

So, books or TV shows, it’s all going to end up the same: Long live the king, baby.

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Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.