Season four of Game of Thrones contained some major departures from the books — and some of them underscored just how much Bran and Arya Stark no longer want or expect to be rescued. We caught up with Isaac Hempstead-Wright and Maisie Williams at Comic-Con, and they told us why things are only going to get murkier.
We got a chance to talk to the Bran Stark and Arya Stark actors at the Entertainment Weekly party in San Diego. And we were excited to ask them about two big scenes that weren't in the books: when Bran sees Jon Snow but chooses not to reveal himself, and when Arya gets an offer protection from Brienne, but turns it down. Here's what they told us.
You're growing up a lot faster than Bran is on Game of Thrones. Have you talked to the producers about how you're going to handle that on the show?
Luckily, I'm sitting down a lot, so it's quite difficult to tell how much I've grown. But the character of Bran is growing too, so it's not really too much of a problem.
Are you going to just turn into a tree? You could just have your head sticking out of a tree.
[Laughs] That would be fun. Then I could just chill in a tree.
At this point, your character has nothing left in the books, pretty much. You've already caught up to your book storyline. So anything can happen.
Absolutely. It's quite a cool prospect to think that really, he's kind of reached the extent of his storyline in the books and it's all kind of uncharted territory from here.
Have you gotten any hints about what's going to happen?
No. No, I know as much as you guys do.
There's a theory that he's going to connect to the past through the tree, and see Ned Stark.
Yeah, I saw Sean Bean was saying he wanted to come back in one of Bran's visions. That would be fun. That would be cool.
Then you could see him again?
I would be down with that, yeah.
So I figured Bran would be more freaked out about Jojen dying, and being chased by monsters, and then meeting the three-eyed raven who turns out to be this old guy.
Yeah, I think it's been a pretty traumatic time for Bran this season. He's kind of gone from... I mean, his whole character flow has been pretty traumatic — as it has been with every character, really. He's gone from a pretty ideal family life to absolute chaos. His family are dead. He's pretty isolated in his own unit, and now they're all dying.
So he doesn't have Jojen any more, to tell him: "This is your destiny. This is what you have to do." Do you think he might start having more second thoughts? Could he be tempted to turn back?
I think he's too far in now. And I think Bran... he has these visions. I think he knows that it's really for the greater good. He knows that it was Jojen's time. Jojen knew that this would happen and that this had to happen, and Bran would land at this cave.
One thing that wasn't in the books was Bran having a chance to reunite with Jon Snow, and deciding not to take it. He didn't have that choice in the books. What do you think made him decide not to reveal himself to Jon Snow?
It's because there's this sort of force pulling him. It's kind of an invisible rope taking him to this place. And he doesn't know where it is, what it is, [or] why he's going there — but he knows that he has to be there. And he can't afford any distractions, no matter how nice for him they'd be.
Do you think there's any chance that when the guy says "You will fly," he's talking literally? Maybe we're going to see Bran just kind of take off?
Woo! [Makes arm-flapping motions] I would like that! I'm game for that, yeah.
It would make a good surprise at the end of the next season, similar to Daenerys hatching her dragons.
Yeah, nobody would expect that at all. Bran sort of angel-floats up! [Makes angel-floaty arm motions].
What do you think is going through Arya's head when she gets offered this chance to go back with Brienne, and she turns it down?
Brienne ruins it for herself when she says about the sword being from Jaimie Lannister. I think in Arya's head, it's a no-go. She's been in so much trouble from naïve decisions before, and she's not about to make another one. And maybe yeah, maybe that would have been a good opportunity. But she doesn't know that. And yeah, she's just looking out for herself now, I think.
That scene where she just bursts out laughing. Is that her letting go of any hope that she'll ever have a home again?
Sure, it's a weird... I think, at that age, anyway, you're struggling to portray emotions, and particularly her living in this crazy world where she's been basically spat out the other end. She doesn't know what she's feeling at all. And I think laughter is the only thing that she can really do. Or else, she'll cry. And I don't think she wants to do that.
Do you think she can ever come back from killing a bunch of people and letting the Hound die slowly in agony?
I don't think she's ever going to feel... Arya's one of those people who will forgive, but she will never forget. And we'll see a lot more of the revenge that she takes on people who have hurt her in the coming season.