Bran Stark will not be be the boy we last saw when Isaac Hempstead-Wright returns to the role in Game of Thrones season 6.
The new image from Entertainment Weekly offers our first look at Bran Stark since the finale of season 4. Much and more has changed in Westeros since we last saw the missing Lord Stark, but it appears that just as much has changed for Bran.
For example, he’s finally cut his hair.
Clearly, the minds behind Game of Thrones decided to abandon the pretense that Bran is still the shaggy-haired child who set out into the North all those years ago. Nor will he continue to be towed around by Hodor, at least primarily — probably a relief to actor Kristian Nairn, as Isaac Hempstead-Wright is now 16, and quite tall for his age.
Bran is pictured riding a horse, which is something of a surprise given that we last saw him far beyond the Wall with Hodor, Meera, and the now-deceased Jojen Reed. Perhaps the Children of the Forest, and Bran’s eerie new mentor, the Three-Eyed Raven (who will be played by Max von Sydow) have unexpected resources at their disposal?
The first official hints of news about Game of Thrones season 6 have begun to trickle in recently, though much about the season remains deeply mysterious. (Especially as the show has officially run out of literary track laid by George R.R. Martin.) A brief trailer focuses on past horrors from previous seasons of Game of Thrones, but also includes a tiny new snippet of information — wise words from the Three-Eyed Raven, and Bran Stark observing that the warring factions of Westeros “have no idea what is going to happen.”
Between the teaser and a grim poster featuring a bloody Jon Snow (and the fact that this is Game of Thrones) we have to assume that whatever is going to happen, it won’t filling us with joy.
Game of Thrones season 6 premieres in April 2016.