How Bran Stark Could Have Made King Aerys II Targaryen Go Mad in Game of Thrones

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

Ever since the first time Bran Stark’s warging skills were introduced in Game of Thrones, fans have speculated about the extent of his powers. When we first see Bran travel to the past, it’s as if he’s only an apparition—not really there, just watching. We now know that Bran has more power over changing past events than we thought possible. He isn’t just a spectator, he is a willing participant, as we saw in the scenes where he called out to a younger Ned Stark and caught his attention, as well as when he unknowingly messed up Hodor’s mind.

The mysterious magic that takes Bran to the past lets him change it, which is why fans have started to wonder whether Bran might be responsible for other key events that took place in the past—namely, making King Aerys II Targaryen, a.k.a. The Mad King, go insane. One fan believes that a well-intentioned act on Bran’s part could have inadvertently led to the wars we see happening in the present on Game of Thrones.

Redditor mvmchugh believes Bran went back in time to warn the Mad King (before he was the "Mad King") about the White Walkers, but was actually the cause of his madness after he told Aerys to “burn them all,” referring to the undead. Just like when young Hodor heard “hold the door,” Bran's warning messed with Aerys's mind—resulting in him going insane and wanting to burn the whole city down.

The theorist brings up the fact that in the season 8 premiere, Bran calls Jaime Lannister an “old friend.” While fans thought he might’ve meant this sarcastically, as Jaime is the reason he’s paralyzed, the Redditor thinks he called him that because Jaime is the only one who ultimately stopped the Mad King (which is how he earned his "Kingslayer" title. If it was Bran’s fault that the king went mad in the first place, he would owe Jaime thanks for saving King’s Landing.

The theory may seem a bit out there, but if there's any truth to it, we have been seriously underestimating the full power Bran has on the outcome of both the future and the past. With a popular fan theory arguing that Bran is actually the Night King, it’s clear we’re expecting something major to come out of the youngest living Stark's abilities in the final season. All we can do is watch it to find out.

Stranger Things Fans Can Now Buy a 6-Foot-Tall Demogorgon Sprinkler

BigMouth Inc., Amazon
BigMouth Inc., Amazon

Some fans watch a show and then talk about it. Others create art inspired by it. Others develop far-out theories. But sometimes, fans go even further than that—like when pool accessory company BigMouth Inc. revealed its massive Stranger Things-inspired, inflatable Demogorgon sprinkler, which is now available for any fan to purchase.

The sprinkler, the perfect gift for those wishing to combine their love of sci-fi monstrosities and thorough lawn irrigation, stands 6 feet tall and can be connected to any standard hose, allowing it to spurt water from its horrifying open face, according to House Beautiful. And for fans thinking it can only be found in the far corners of the internet, fear not: the sprinkler is available now at Target and on Amazon.

If you want a less flashy way to show off your Stranger Things fandom this summer, BigMouth Inc. also sells a plethora of other novelty items based on the show, like an Upside Down-themed pool tube, Scoops Ahoy floating cupholders, and a float based on one of Eleven’s trademark waffles. (See all the options on Amazon here.)

This marks the latest in a series of collaborations for the hugely successful Netflix series. Prior to its release, Stranger Things teamed with both H&M and Nike to release clothing and shoes inspired by the series. It also collaborated with Coca-Cola to produce a limited edition collection of New Coke cans inspired by a moment in the third season.

We’re glad there’s a plethora of Stranger Things merchandise available, even the terrifying Demogorgon sprinkler—it sounds just ridiculous enough to buy right away. It's available at Target or Amazon for $100.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Three Major Game of Thrones Stars Submitted Themselves for Emmys After HBO Chose Not To

Gwendoline Christie and Maisie Williams in Game of Thrones.
Gwendoline Christie and Maisie Williams in Game of Thrones.
Helen Sloan/Courtesy of HBO

HBO dominated the 2019 Emmy nominations, which were announced earlier this week, with a record-breaking 32 nominations for Game of Thrones's highly contentious final season alone.

Ten of Game of Thrones's nominations came via the acting categories, several of which were hardly surprising: Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke landed nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress in a Drama Series, respectively. Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, and Maisie Williams will compete against each other in the Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress categories. What did come as a surprise, however, were the first-time nominations for Alfie Allen, Gwendoline Christie, and Carice van Houten—not because they didn’t deserve them, but because HBO didn't submit them for consideration.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO confirmed that the network did not enter the three actors for consideration by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. This means that the actors’ representatives shelled out the $225 entry fees themselves.

While this might seem unfair, self-submissions are a pretty common practice. As Game of Thrones has many, many characters, all of them played by great actors, it's simply not possible for the network to enter every one of them. As it stands now, four of the six nominees for Outstanding Supporting Actress are Game of Thrones co-stars (van Houten was nominated in the Guest Actress category), while three of the Outstanding Supporting Actor nominees are from Westeros.

Whether they made it onto the official ballot because of HBO or not, Game of Thrones fans are ecstatic that Allen, Christie, and van Houten are finally getting the Emmy recognition they deserve. Can one of them triumph? We'll just have to wait until September 22 to find out.

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