Following the season 7 finale of the hit HBO original fantasy series Game of Thrones, it would appear that one performance this season was inspired by a famous hero from Watchmen. With plenty of major deaths and intriguing fan theories to mull over as the wait commences for season 8, chief showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will no doubt enjoy continued success when the show returns for its climactic final episodes sometime in the near future.
Given the fact that the season 7 finale was the most watched episode of the entire series, the clamor for more Game of Thrones is unlikely to abate anytime soon. In a season that was filled to the brim with big reveals and surprising twists, actor Isaac Hempstead Wright often stayed in the background as Bran Stark - whose transformation into The Three-Eyed Raven was heavily influenced by a certain Alan Moore comic book character.
In an interview conducted with Vulture, Wright set aside some time to further discuss the popular Bran/Night King fan theory, in addition to explaining how he went about playing The Three-Eyed Raven. Apparently, Wright was instructed to use Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen as a chief source of creative inspiration. To wit, Wright explained the comic book character's influence on playing The Three-Eyed Raven as follows:
"It was a really challenging thing to do this season. I had a meeting with David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], our showrunners, before we started filming. We had a chat about how we wanted to play Bran this season, and they suggested Doctor Manhattan from the Watchmen comic. Bran was slightly based on that, existing in all these different times at once, knowing all these various things, being this emotionless rock connecting these different timelines and the history of the universe. We wanted that, but we didn’t want a boring, monotonous character who would just go, 'Yeah, I’m the Three-Eyed Raven, blah blah blah.' It becomes a bit unbelievable, and also it becomes a bit dull. Not that the whole thing isn’t completely unbelievable, but you know what I mean.
We also wanted to make sure that there was a bit of Bran left, a glimmer of a person still in there. It’s like he’s the first cyborg. We just connected a supercomputer to a human being’s brain. He’s a mainframe, but there’s a little bit of his personality. More often than not, though, Bran is a vessel for human knowledge."
The extent to which The Three-Eyed Raven serves as a departure in Game of Thrones is a startlingly one, as similar entities have long been tied more to pure science fiction and comic book hyperbole than medieval fantasy. Nevertheless, Doctor Manhattan is definitely a great reference point for understanding Wright's emotionally distant performance in season 7.
While Bran/The Three-Eyed Raven will likely continue to be one of the more beguiling aspects of Game of Thrones as it heads into season 8, it helps to know that the equally philosophical Doctor Manhattan character from Watchmen helped ground Wright's otherworldly performance.
Game of Thrones season 8 premieres on HBO in either 2018 or 2019.
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