Acronyms, Acronyms, Acronyms: A G.O.T. R.O.I. & S.W.O.T. Analysis - Bran Stark
The number of characters jostling for the Iron Throne fluctuates faster than the relevance of Dorne. For seven full seasons now, it hasn’t really changed hands; the Baratheon-but-really-Lannister line has held it from Winter is Coming to The Dragon and the Wolf. With a handful of Starks in Winterfell, the Night King leading a zombie army, and Dany commanding a Dothraki horde, an Unsullied army, and
three two dragons, we’re closer than ever to a real power shift. But who’s best positioned to wind up on top of the special spiky seat when all is said and done? I’ll turn to my whopping 10 years of corporate experience to conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis for each character and predict the ROI (return on investment) for the kingdom should they end up in the hotseat.
Let’s take a look at everyone’s favorite mystical weirdo, Bran Stark.
All-Seeing and All-Knowing
Reviewing the weirwood library is probably an imposing task, but being able to learn from everyone’s past mistakes is a useful skill. He can also drop in on specific places and times, giving him unparalleled access to the actions of possible foes. As for glimpses of the future…I think we’ve seen enough prophecies gone awry to consider that beneficial.
Definitely a zero. Bran alienated his only bodyguard (Meera) because he no longer has time for emotions, and the massive human he used to warg into is no longer around.
I’m not entirely sure why access to all of known history makes you the Buzz Killington of Westeros, but here we are. Bran has clumsily reminded Sansa of her wedding night, failed to inform anyone of anything substantial despite having access to ravens in Winterfell, and uses his voice most effectively to creep out the super-creep himself, Littlefinger.
Let’s say Bran survives the upcoming war against the Others and whatever happens with the Lannister armies. Anyone poised to take control of King’s Landing would undoubtedly seek his counsel. Could prolonged proximity to power and an extended lifespan (his teacher was born at least 20 years before Maester Aemon, and seemed relatively hearty) put him in a position where a council deems him the best choice to rule?
Connection with the Night King
The details are extremely murky, but there’s something tying Bran in his new role to the Night King. His first encounter allows the Night King to touch him and break the barriers keeping him from the weirwood where Bran was training, and Bran’s raven scouts scattered at the Night King’s glance. They may be too intimately tied together for either to survive a final conflict.
Return on Investment
This one is tricky. Bran probably offers the highest variance of any character. If he puts his skills to good use, he can outmaneuver any opponent in any context, and weigh the outcomes of a decision with more conviction than anyone in the story. Of course, if he alienates everyone he works with and begins dabbling in the future, things could take a disastrous turn. I’d probably pass on Bran for someone a bit more…human. ROI: anywhere from 100% to -100%, with an average of +2%.
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