On the most recent episode of Game of Thrones, "Blood of My Blood," fans once again saw a glimpse of events from the history of Westeros through the visions of Bran Stark. This vision was unlike previous trips into history, where Bran was accompanied by the Three-Eyed Raven and immersed himself into a single moment in time. Instead, Bran saw a rapid fire montage of moments as he inherited the memories of the Three-Eyed Raven following his death. While much of what Bran saw was reused footage from previous seasons of Game of Thrones, some it offered a first look at a major character from the past.
SPOILERS FOR "BLOOD OF MY BLOOD" FOLLOW
As mentioned, much of Bran's vision is comprised of major events from past seasons of Game of Thrones, such as Bran's fall from the tower at Winterfell, the Red Wedding, and the Battle at Hardhome. There was also another shot of young Eddard Stark at the Tower of Joy, and the same vision of a dragon's shadow passing over King's Landing that we've seen in previous visions. However, there are some scenes that are brand new, and they provide our first on screen look at Aerys II Targaryen, also known as "the Mad King."
The scene glimpsed in Bran's vision is the end of the Mad King's life, a scene recounted by both Ned Stark and Jaime Lannister earlier in the series. The moment came towards the end of Robert's Rebellion. As the ,rebel army sacked King's Landing with the aid of the Lannisters, who had switched sides at the last minute, Jaime Lannister, then a member of Aerys's Kingsguard, found Aerys in the throne room and slew him. Ned remembers walking into the throne room minutes later to find Aerys on the floor and Jaime, with his bloody sword, sitting on the Iron Throne. This is the moment that earned Jaime the nickname "Kingslayer," and lost him the respect of Eddard Stark, who considered Jaime an oathbreaker.
There may also be a hint at a certain fan theory embedded in the vision. In addition to seeing the moment of Aerys's death, we also see a glimpse of the creation of wildfire, the volatile and combustible substance that is said to be a "cousin to dragonflame" that Tyrion Lannister used to set Blackwater Bay ablaze in defending King's Landing from Stannis Baratheon's assault. As Aerys's madness grew he became more and more obsessed with fire and began having the Alchemist's Guild stockpile wildfire for him. The increasingly paranoid king used the wildfire to execute those he believed to threaten his rule, including Ned's father, Rickard Stark. However, this fan suggests there could have been another reason for the Mad King's obsession.
When Jaime killed Aerys, the king was still shouting, "Burn them all!" Interestingly, these words are heard over shots of the White Walkers' army of wights in Bran's vision. Could there be a connection between the two? We know from "The Door" and from "Oathbreaker" that voices can be heard through time via Bran's vision. Could "burn them all" be another instance of a command put into someone in past's mind, similar to how "hold the door" was placed in Hodors?
If so, could either Bran or the Three-Eyed Raven – who is believed by most fans to be Bloodraven, a Targaryen who became Lord Commander of the Night's Watch – be responsible for Aerys' madness? The Three-Eyed Raven told Bran that he had been in his cave for a thousand years. Perhaps he whispered into Aerys' ear, trying to warn him of the White Walker invasion and that he would need to "burn them all," and inadvertently caused Aerys' madness and the subsequent uprising. If so, this would explain why the Three-Eyed Raven is so cautious with Bran's training and tries to obscure the fact that Ned Stark heard Bran call out for him at the Tower of Joy.
We doubt that the show's writers would have inserted Aerys into Bran's vision without a good reason, so here's hoping we learn more about before Season 6 ends.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.