Game of Speculation: Occam’s Horseback

Much of my prediction-making for next Game of Thrones season has been loosely based on the principle of Occam’s Razor: one should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities needed to explain anything.

In terms of explaining something that has already happened or is still happening now, the Razor basically means the simplest explanation, without leaving any visible gaps, tends to be the right one.

In terms of predicting something that may happen later, I’m basically using it to mean: round up all the clues and look for the straightest line between them. That was how I guessed at Jaime’s trip to the Riverlands in S6, including his reconnect with Brienne, which appears to be happening.

And we’re still getting speculation fodder! Today, Winter brings us a photo from EW, featuring Bran in S6!

  • Speaking of looks, it seems that Bran has had a haircut—look at the picture of him from Season 4 above and at the new one from Season 6. Maybe there’s a barber among the Children of the Forest who helped him out?

  • At the end of Season 4, Bran was in a cave with the Three-Eyed Raven. In A Dance with Dragons, the Three-Eye Crow (the Three-Eyed Raven’s book equivalent) intends to train Bran to become a greenseer, which means, among other things, that Bran will be stuck in that cave for a good long while—like, possibly hundreds of years. The Three-Eyed Raven/Crow has been there so long that he’s practically a part of the weirwood tree, and it’s implied that Bran is in for the same fate.

  • However, in this picture, Bran is on a horse outside the cave. What happened? Did the training not take? Is Bran leaving? Is he looking around at the world one last time before devoting himself to his studies? Is this an image from a vision Bran has, or a dream? And where’d that horse come from? Bran didn’t have one when he arrived at the giant weirwood tree—has someone come to find Bran? So many questions!

In this case, I think the simplest explanation for Bran being on a horse is that he’s having a vision/dream. We’ve already seen that he sometimes has these dreams that show him doing things he can no longer do. For him to be on horseback in the real world, someone would need to have come to the cave with a horse, AND have a specialized saddle on that horse. And that’s possible, but it’ll take some explaining. There’s no reason why he can’t have a dream that shows him riding a horse.

This pic is interesting, though, and there’s another factor that warrants explanation. He’s not just on horseback, he’s looking UP while on horseback. What is he looking at, from that position? I don’t think Hodor is quite tall enough to get that upward angle. There’s something above him, and maybe off in the distance. He looks curious, focused, serious, but not frightened. What’s he looking at? A flock of birds? A giant? Wights spilling down from a mountaintop?

A dragon or three?