The finale of Game Of Thrones made sweeping changes to the world of Westeros, changes that some fans found disappointing or, at the very least, confusing. But the finale’s most divisive choice, the crowning of Bran as the new king of the Seven Kingdoms, was something that was planned by Martin from the start of his saga, A Song of Ice and Fire.

Over the course of the finale, The Mad Queen Daenerys Targaryen razed King’s Landing nearly to the ground, consuming soldiers and civilians alike. Before she could continue her conquest of the Seven Kingdoms, Jon Snow (at Tyrion’s urging) finally took action to stop her, stabbing and leaving her dead at the foot of the Iron Throne. Leaderless, the Unsullied and the Dothraki split up and sought new places to settle. And the remaining lords of the Seven Kingdoms (and Sam and Davos, for some reason) assembled in the Dragonpit to decide who would be crowned the new king or queen of Westeros.

Bran; Actors from Game of Thrones sitting in chairs under a tent.
Everyone was well-hydrated.

Tyrion, in chains, was brought before the assembly of lords to be tried for his crime of treason. He convinced Grey Worm to leave Jon’s punishment for assassinating Daenerys to the new King of the Seven Kingdoms. He then made an impassioned speech before the assembly that the new ruler of Westeros should be the person with the greatest story, as stories are what unite and inspire a people. That said, he nominated Bran “the Broken” as the new king. As the Three-Eyed Raven and a greenseer,

Bran Emerges as Candidate for the Throne

Bran literally contains the entire history of the people of Westeros. And the fact that he is unable to sire any heirs? That suggests that Dany’s desire to break the “Wheel” of tyrannical monarchy was at least partially successful. (The Westerosi lords still have a hearty chuckle over Sam’s suggestion of a democracy, however). Everyone seemed convinced by the suggestion, and Bran is crowned Bran the Broken, First of His Name, etc. etc., Lord of the Six Kingdoms,. Sansai likewise declared that the North will remain an independent, though friendly, realm.

Yara looking upset
“Crap. Why didn’t I think of that?”

Bran the Broken, Winner of the Game of Thrones

Like the entirety of Season 8, this decision was controversial within Game of Thrones fandom. After six-and-a-half seasons of slow-build storytelling and intricate character arcs, Season 8 seemed like a mad rush to the end. Many viewers blamed GoT showrunners David Benioff & D.B. Weiss for trying to wrap the series up early in anticipation of their other projects. Others point the finger at the fact that, now that the show has outpaced the books, the writing staff is working without material directly adapted from George R.R. Martin’s novels. However, Bran’s ultimate destiny as King of Westeros was reportedly the brainchild of Martin himself.

Isaac Hempstead Wright, the actor who plays Bran, spoke in an interview recently on HBO’s Making Game of Thrones blog about how he felt when he learned that Bran was to become king . He recalled how he found out that his character would become king of the Seven (Six? Five?) Kingdoms. Apparently, he was as surprised as we were.

Game of Thrones Actor as Surprised as Fans

I had to physically get up and walk around my flat. I said, “What?! You’re joking.” It was the very last thing I expected to happen. I was convinced they had sent a script to everyone in which they become king or queen, so I still didn’t believe it until the read-through.

But I think he is a great character to take on that role. You never thought of him in that way, but what more could you ask for in a king than to have no personal attachments, no agenda, but have a calm understanding of the entire universe? He’s the ideal person to be in charge.

[Creators] 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. So that’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.