Got–Bran Consciousness Model

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Hey guys,
I”m Sylvia from Boston, a 55 year-old management consultant and married mom of two GOT fans. Not many of my peers watch the show so your podcasts have been an important way for me to absorb, process and deepen my appreciation of this shared experience. Thank you. It”s been a fun ride. Bran”s role this season was one source of dis-satisfaction amongst fans, especially the question of why he didn’t share what he knew at key moments. In fact, there are theories about the nature of consciousness that explain his behavior. Bear with me for just a moment: Physicists are exploring whether humans can project their consciousness -to other places, or into the past or into the future. Some believe our reality has a digital quality to it -kind of like a video game. For example, if you track a player”s past game plays and you know how the game works, then you could predict outcomes with pretty stunning accuracy. This would simulate predicting the future based on the past, but instead, it”s really predicting the probable future. The hypothesis physicists are testing in real life is that our history is actually “out there” in some digital mind-space way, and we might be able to project our consciousness both backward into the past to access these records and forward into the future to “see” the probable future. It doesn’t matter if things REALLY work this way -for this analysis, we just want to see if the framework brings richness to our GOT experience. The theory further suggests that we might be able to use the probable future as a base model and play simulations in our mind -as in, “What is the impact on the probable future if a world leader gets assasinated? If I stop for coffee?” Certain events might have minimal impact on the probable future (like stopping for coffee) and other events might have a dramatic impact on the probable course of history (like assassinating a world leader). I viewed Bran”s actions through this lens, and found it pretty useful. For starters, based on the vast history database he has access to, if Bran”s mind could work like a giant computer, he would be able to pretty accurately predict the probable future. If he could also run simulations in his mind, he could answer questions such as “Is humanity likely better off if Daenerys lives or dies?” or “If King”s Landing burns today, is the long-term future for humanity better or worse?” Etc. As the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran is driven by a long-term concern for humanity, rather than by selfish or short-term motives. This explains why he doesn’t hold a grudge against Jaime. Bran now understands that the suffering he endured had purpose in humanity”s story arc; he knows he needed to fall to become the Three-Eyed Raven. His long-term focus also explains his dispassionate acceptance of the sad or terrible things that happen, such as Theon dying or King”s Landing burning or Jon being outcast. From his long-term perspective, these events are sad but necessary stepping stones to get to the best possible future outcome for humanity. It also explains why Bran often lets things unfold without comment. He knows what each person is likely to do and the likely consequences. When things are headed in the “right” direction, he lets things play out. When not, he intervenes. Bran must have known that Jon was wavering about sharing his Targaryen heritage with his Stark siblings. He must also have known that Jon HAD to reveal his secret to Sansa and Arya in order to ignite the chain of events that would most likely produce the best long-term outcome for humanity, even if the short-term consequences were dire. So, Bran gave Jon the nudge he needed. I have to admit my first reaction to the Bran”s first small council meeting in the final episode was annoyance. I thought, “Come on, can’t Bran say something wise to show us he”ll be a good ruler?” But if we hold him to this consciousness model, he probably WAS being wise -he clearly knew that finding Drogon was important, and that everything else on the Small Council agenda was irrelevant or didn’t need him. So Bran was free to say “Do carry on with the rest,” and go off and look into probable future actions that would lead to finding Drogon. I think they were showing us that the Three-Eyed Raven King WOn’t change -that he will stay focused on the best long-term outcome for humanity. This may make him appear unconcerned about human issues in the present -because that is not his ultimate focus. Unexpected things STILL can happen–there is still free will, and remember, under this model he can only see the probable future. But when unexpected events happen that change humanity”s probable future for the worse, he will regroup, re-run his brain simulations and lead the Six Kingdoms towards their best possible future. Who knows? He may send Sansa or Jon a raven or two to give them a heads up when they are needed. Okay, that is my nerdy two cents. I found viewing Bran”s actions through a consciousness framework helped me make more sense of his role in the show, and I thought it might help others too. If anyone else is interested in this theory and wants to explore more, I refer you to physicist Tom Campbell (there are many others, but he is my fav). Thanks so much for the podcast -you guys do a great job, with great heart. The show was not perfect in the end…but damn, it was gooooood. I’m going to miss it, and I’m going to miss you guys coming along with me on my walks around the pond.

Sylvia in Boston

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1 Response

  1. Gene Lyons says:

    We’re glad you decided to stroll with us, Sylvia, and we’re jealous you get to do it in Boston! Is there a more strollable place in America?

    With regards to Bran, I do think people tend to oversimplify greensight as just seeing the future or past. When we see representations of it in the novels, such as when Jojen Reed predicts the Iron Born storming Winterfell, it’s usually cryptic and unclear.

    Your explanation is incredibly clever, and I’m guessing it makes you a “Westworld” fan, as well.

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