There are some fan theories in Game of Thrones that are widely believed, to the point where they are considered to be a fact by many fans. The TV show has confirmed several of these theories, which has added even more credence to them. Fans of the books now accept that Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark and that Sandor Clegane is still alive.
One theory that is generally accepted as true by fans is that the Three-Eyed Raven is actually Brynden Rivers, who was once known as Bloodraven. The Raven hasn't directly confirmed this, but his hints are too strong to be ignored.
The TV show totally ignored the Raven's original identity, which is seen by some as proof that he isn't Bloodraven, or that his past will have no importance to the overall story.
We are here today to look at the history of one of the most important characters in the A Song of Ice and Fire series and Game of Thrones.
From the truth behind his name to the terrible fate he may have inflicted upon Bran's companions, here are the 15 Things You Didn't Know About The Three-Eyed Raven.
15 He Is Called The Three-Eyed Crow In The Books
The Three-Eyed Raven is known as the Three-Eyed Crow in the Game of Thrones books. The reason for this change is unclear, though it is likely connected to the numerous name changes on the show that were made to simplify things.
Crows are only mentioned in relation to the members of the Night's Watch in the show, while ravens are mentioned all the time, as they act as the carrier pigeons of Westeros. The name change might have been to make things more consistent.
The Three-Eyed Crow is more active in the first three books in the series. He visits Bran in his dreams and even talks directly to him. The Three-Eyed Crow keeps telling Bran to open his eyes and see the truth.
Bran wants to know if the Crow can help him walk. The Crow says no, but he can teach him how to fly instead. Bran doesn't learn this information until much later in the show.
14 Melisandre Believes That He Is A Servant Of The God Of The White Walkers
Mance Rayder's army was stopped by Stannis Baratheon before it could overwhelm the Wall. The reason Stannis came to the aid of the Night's Watch was that Melisandre and Davos convinced him to. Melisandre wanted to travel to the Wall because she is one of the few people in Westeros who believes that the army of the dead is on the march.
The Lord of Light has an opposite god, named the Great Other, who is believed to be worshipped by the White Walkers. Melisandre believes herself to be the champion of the Lord of Light, which is why she travels to the Wall.
When Melisandre looks into her flames, she sees a vision of Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven sitting beyond the Wall. Melisandre believes that they are the champions of the Great Other and are working towards the destruction of all life in the Seven Kingdoms.
This might actually be true, as the Raven makes some disturbing claims to Bran about the power of darkness.
13 He Broke Guest Right In Order To Kill A Political Enemy
Westeros uses a line of succession that passes down through the male line. If the line of succession isn't clear, then a Great Council will be called to settle the matter over who will be the next monarch. This involves a meeting of the most powerful figures in Westeros, who all vote on the available candidates.
A Great Council was called in the year 233, after King Maeker I died and there was a dispute over who the next ruler should be. Aenys Blackfyre requested to join the Great Council as he wanted to make a case for his right to become the king. Bloodraven promised him safe passage and conduct until the Great Council had concluded.
Aenys Blackfyre arrived in King's Landing... where Bloodraven quickly had him arrested and executed. The Great Council declared Aegon Targaryen (also known as Egg from The Tales of Dunk and Egg series) to be the new king.
Aegon's first act was to arrest Bloodraven for the murder of Aenys Blackfyre. Bloodraven was given the choice between execution and joining the Night's Watch. He chose the latter and was sent off to the Wall.
12 He May Have Passed Dark Sister On To Meera Reed
When Aegon Targaryen first invaded Westeros, he brought two Valyrian steel swords with him. The first was Blackfyre, which was the sword he used in battle. The other was Dark Sister, which was used by his sister Visenya. These swords became important to the Targaryen dynasty, as those who wielded them were afforded a lot more respect. Indeed, it is said that the wielder of Blackfyre was the true monarch of Westeros.
As of A Dance with Dragons, the fates of these two swords are unknown. It is suspected that the Golden Company possesses Blackfyre, though this hasn't been proven yet.
Bloodraven was the last known person to wield Dark Sister. It is believed that he took Dark Sister with him when he joined the Night's Watch and it is still with him beyond the Wall. In "The Door", Meera Reed is seen grabbing a sword before leaving the cave. It is possible that she is the new wielder of Dark Sister, though she may not be aware of the blade's true origin.
11 He Was A Former Lord Commander Of The Night's Watch
After arranging for the murder of Aenys Blackfyre, Bloodraven was arrested by King Aegon V and sent to the Night's Watch. He escorted Aemon Targaryen, who would go on to become the Maester of the Watch. Bloodraven's personal soldiers, known as the Raven's Teeth, also joined the Watch with him. The whole group was led to the Wall by Ser Duncan the Tall.
Bloodraven quickly rose to the rank of Lord Commander within the Night's Watch. He held this role for thirteen years, before disappearing after ranging beyond the Wall. Little is known about Bloodraven's time as Lord Commander, though he likely performed well at the role, considering he was a former Hand of the King and a seasoned battle commander.
Once it was clear that Bloodraven would not return, a new Lord Commander was elected. A man from House Qorgyle won the position. He was later followed by Jeor Mormont, who would be followed by Jon Snow.
10 He Was In Love With His Half-Sister
King Aegon IV is considered to be one of the worst rulers in the history of Westeros. He was known for taking numerous lovers and fathering many bastard children.
This wouldn't have been an issue if he hadn't legitimized all of his bastards on his death bed. This led to the first Blackfyre Rebellion, as Daemon Blackfyre managed to earn enough support to start a war over his right to rule, even though he was a bastard.
Brynden Rivers was yet another bastard of Aegon IV. He was the son of Lady Melissa Blackwood, who was well loved by the court at King's Landing.
Like many other Targaryen's before him, Bloodraven fell in love with one of his siblings. Bloodraven lusted after Shiera Seastar, who was the daughter of Serenei of Lys. Shiera and Bloodraven slept together on many occasions, though she would not allow him to become her only suitor, as she liked to make him jealous.
Shiera Seastar's fate is still unknown.
9 He Used Magic To Rule Over The Seven Kingdoms
Bloodraven was unable to rule the Seven Kingdoms legitimately, due to his status as a bastard. It would have required the death of the entire royal family (and the Blackfyres) for his claim to be taken seriously, which it wouldn't have been, as he wasn't a popular figure.
He found a way to rule the Seven Kingdoms through the shadows, however, as he used his magical abilities to his advantage when he became the Hand of the King. He held this position throughout the reign of King Aerys I Targaryen.
We eventually learn that Bloodraven is a greenseer, with abilities similar to that of Jojen Reed and Bran Stark. He possesses the ability to see the world through the weirwood trees, as well as through the eyes of animals.
It was through this ability that Bloodraven was able to prevent any rebellions against him, as he was always aware of any plots that were being formed.
8 He Was Named After His Own Birthmark
Bloodraven had one of the most unusual appearances of any Targaryen that had ever been born in the Seven Kingdoms. It is suggested that he was an albino, due to how extraordinarily pale he was and how the sunlight irritated his skin.
He lost one of his eyes during battle and would display the empty socket proudly, without covering it. This eye socket would later have weirwood roots running through it when he connected to the trees beyond the Wall.
The name Bloodraven comes from a red birthmark that he has on his neck and right cheek. This birthmark is said to look like a raven, which is where he derives the name from. Bloodraven might be over exaggerating the appearance of the birthmark, as Ser Duncan the Tall claims that it doesn't look like a raven at all. So, Brynden Rivers might have actually chosen the name Bloodraven because it sounded cool.
7 He Went To War With His Half-Brother
Bloodraven's most hated enemy was Aegor Rivers, also know as Bittersteel. They were destined to be enemies from birth, as their mothers belonged to House Bracken and House Blackwood, which have the fiercest and most bitter rivalry of any noble families in all of Westeros.
When the Blackfyres rebelled against the Iron Throne, Bittersteel joined the Blackfyre's cause, while Bloodraven remained loyal to the Targaryen royal family. The two of them famously met on the battlefield, with Bittersteel inflicting the blow that removed Bloodraven's eye. Bittersteel was never able to claim victory over Bloodraven, however, even though he aided in almost all of the following Blackfyre Rebellions.
Bittersteel is now dead, having spent his life in Essos. He spent most of his time building the Golden Company, which is the most powerful mercenary force in the world. Bittersteel's legacy still lives on, as it is believed that the Blackfyres are still plotting something in the current era, especially now that the Golden Company has landed on the shores of Westeros in the books...
6 He Was A Kinslayer
There are several taboos in Westeros that will mark you as hated and untrustworthy if you break them. Guest right is a big one, as betraying a host to whom you have offered safe conduct is considered an affront to the gods and shows that you cannot be trusted.
The biggest taboo in Westeros is kinslaying, which is the name given to the act of killing a member of your own family. This even extends to adoption or being a ward in a house, as people accused Theon of being a kinslayer after he pretended to kill Bran and Rickon, even though he was held in Winterfell against his will.
Bloodraven became a kinslayer when he ordered the deaths of Daemon Blackfyre and his two sons. He and his men fired arrows down on Daemon and his children, which means that he may have even been responsible for the death of his half brother and nephews.
5 He Was Heavily Influenced By Elric
It's known that George R. R. Martin and the producers of Game of Thrones are fans of the works of Michael Moorcock. The most well-known of Moorcock's characters is Elric of Melniboné. When Joffrey asks the attendees at his wedding what his sword should be named, a person shouts out "Stormbringer" as a suggestion, which is the name of Elric's cursed sword.
Bloodraven's design and back story both seem to be a shout-out to Elric. They are both albinos who are born into a royal family, yet are considered to be outcasts. Both Elric and Bloodraven used magical abilities which were frowned upon by those around them.
Elric is descended from the dragon riders of the Dragon Isle, while Bloodraven is the descendant of the dragon riders from Valyria, who began their invasion at Dragonstone. They both wielded swords with a dark reputation, though Elric's was far more powerful than Bloodraven's blade.
4 His Raven Form Was Going To Have An Eye On The Back Of Its Head
Bran has visions of the Three-Eyed Crow a lot earlier in the A Song of Ice and Fire books. The books never actually state where the third eye is actually located. The general consensus is that it is placed on the bird's forehead, though, as this is something seen in real life culture. The idea of having a third eye between the two regular ones is often seen as a sign of enlightenment.
The producers of Game of Thrones originally wanted to put the third eye on the back of the raven's head, so that it would have full three hundred and sixty-degree vision. This idea as was scrapped, however, as it would have meant that they would have needed a shot of the bird turning its head, which probably would have been difficult to do.
The third eye was produced digitally on the raven's head.
3 He May Have Helped Jon Snow With The Night's Watch Election
If the Three-Eyed Raven is so powerful, then what was he doing all of the years when he was stuck in the lands beyond the Wall? We know he has the ability to influence people's decisions with dreams, so why does he only use this ability on Bran and Jojen?
Bloodraven has been acting in Westeros, though, through very subtle means. He has been using his warging abilities to communicate with Jon Snow, by passing subtle messages through the raven owned by Jeor Mormont. This raven is said to be uncommonly clever, as it can make noises that sound like different words.
This raven was responsible for helping Jon Snow to become the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. A new round of voting was about to take place, with a kettle being used to collect the tokens. The raven flew out of the kettle and spoke the word "Snow."
This helped to convince people that Jon was the rightful candidate, as they felt that the endorsement of Mormont's raven was a sign.
2 Jojen Was In Contact With Him For Years
The Three-Eyed Crow is referred to as the last greenseer. This is because Jojen Reed is not a true greenseer, as he lacks the ability to warg into animals. Jojen's abilities may be borrowed from the Three-Eyed Crow, as the visions he received are what led him to Bran Stark.
Jojen Reed was very sick as a child and may have died if he weren't visited by the Three-Eyed Crow in a vision. This was when Jojen began to receive regular dreams where he saw the Crow.
Jojen had a dream where he saw the Three-Eyed Crow trying to free a wolf that was chained up. After telling his father about this dream, Jojen and his sister Meera were sent to Winterfell to pledge their allegiance to the Stark family after they had just declared themselves as royalty.
It seems that the Three-Eyed Crow has chosen for Jojen to lead Bran Stark to him. This leaves the question of what Jojen will do after his mission is complete...
1 He May Have Fed Jojen To Bran
Jojen Reed doesn't make it to the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven in Game of Thrones. He is killed by wights in a battle at the mouth of the cave. Jojen's body is destroyed by one of the magical fireballs created by Leaf in order to prevent him from returning from the grave.
In the books, Jojen is still alive and is hanging out with Bran in the cave. He becomes very sullen all of a sudden and begins to hint that he has seen his own death and that it is coming soon. In the final Bran chapter of A Dance with Dragons, he is fed a blood red paste that he is told is made of weirdwood seeds. Bran eats this paste and it helps to enhance his abilities.
Jojen is not seen before Bran eats the paste. This has suggested to some fans that the Three-Eyed Crow ordered Jojen to be killed and his body crushed into a paste, as eating the body of a even a semi-greenseer may help increase Bran's powers.
Bran's journey throughout A Song of Ice and Fire seems like a classic hero's journey. He has traveled into dangerous lands in order to seek out a master who can train him in the arcane arts.
The world of Game of Thrones isn't the same as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, however, and Bran may now be trapped with a figure who wants to bring an end to the realms of men that he had fought so hard to control in the past.
Where do you think the Three-Eyed Ravens allegiance lies? Can you think of any other interesting facts about this powerful Game of Thrones character? Sound off in the comments!