Before you rule this theory out as insane, just read through and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. In fact, it all makes perfect sense.
Game of Thrones is one of the most popular and talked about shows on Television today. It has garnered a cult following, with good reason, and fan theories are at every corner. And this is another one (yes, I know it’s not a fact, but I do love the show).
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So yes. My theory is that the Mad King, King Aerys II Targaryen, wasn’t mad at all, but was hearing the voice of Bloodraven. Not only was he not mad, but he wasn’t killed by Ser Jaime Lannister, but by Bran Stark, in a mistaken and ill informed attempt to do what was right. Let’s break this down.
1. King Aerys II Targaryen wasn’t mad
We picked up in Westeros quite a few years after King Roberts Rebellion. While the catalyst for the rebellion was Prince Rhaegar’s abduction, rape and murder of Robert Baratheon’s betrothed, Lyanna Stark, sister of Eddard Stark. The most prevailing theory is that she wasn’t abducted at all, but ran away, got pregnant and bore a son. That son is none other than Jon Snow. This is known as the R+L=J theory. But the houses of Westeros wouldn’t have risen up against the throne over an abduction. But throw in some madness, and it gave them a reason to join houses Baratheon and Stark.
King Aerys is often described as being mad. He was said to have constantly heard voices and been cruel beyond words towards his subjects. How much of this cruelty can be subjected to the history of the victor isn’t known, but there’s no doubt that he was cruel. But he wasn’t insane.
In season 6 of Game of Thrones we see Bloodraven and Bran Stark visit the Tower of Joy where a young Ned Stark fights to free his captive sister. After the short battle Bran calls for his father while Bloodraven tries to stop him, and Ned stops, as if he heard something. Bran is convinced Ned heard him, but Bloodraven rules it out.
The past is already written. The ink is dry.
He even looked unimpressed that Bran seemed to get Ned’s attention.
A few episodes later we got to see just how far Bran can go when he warg’s into other people when he becomes the reason for Hodor’s constant reciting his name. Hold the door, hold the door, hold door, holdor. Poor Hodor.
So why would Bloodraven look unimpressed with Bran’s talent, and why would he say that the past is already written? Because he had a bad experience himself.
1.1 Bloodraven made Aerys II Targaryen mad
King Aerys II Targaryen was well known for hearing voices in his head. He and everyone around him had no idea where the voices were coming from, but they were all sure he was crazy. My theory is that he wasn’t mad, at least in the beginning, and he was hearing the voices of a good willed Bloodraven.
The Night King and White Walkers are preparing to move south towards Westeros when Winter comes, and there’s no stopping them. The dead are coming, and Bloodraven knew this, and knew how to defeat them.
He knew that one way to defeat them was with fire, and there was one person with a powerful concoction that could wipe out the White Walkers in one foul swoop. King Aerys II, who had control over Wild Fire. He knew if Wild Fire were unleashed on the army of undead, while their forces were weak, they could be defeated. Bloodraven stood in to try and get the subjects of Aerys II to “burn them all.”
Jaime, or as we will argue, Bran, misinterpreted this as burn everyone in the city. Bloodraven was trying to get them to burn the White Walkers.
2 Bran kills the Mad King
As we already know, Bran can warg into others and change the past. Surely this isn’t a skill that only he has. Afterall, Bloodraven was training Bran, so should know more and have greater abilities. So is it too far fetched to think that he can only warg into Hodor and no one else? Not at all.
While trying to make his mark on Westeros in a good way, Bran warg’s into Jaime Lannister, a member of the Kings Guard, sworn to protect him. As the Mad King had ruled that no blades could be in his presence except for those of his own Kings Guard, the only people that could possibly put an end to his rule were the Kings Guard. One member, and a close guard of the king was Jaime Lannister. He was the perfect person to warg into.
Believing he was doing good, Bran cut down the Mad King and in the process earning Jaime, who he’d probably have no fond feelings towards anyway, the moniker of King Slayer and potentially damning Westeros to the ravages of the hoard of White Walkers.
But wait a minute… There are a few loose ends that still need to be tidied up.
To further cement this theory into place we have the mixed testimony of the King Slayer himself to what was actually seen.
In season 6, episode 6 we see Jaime approach Aerys II drawing his blade. He then plunges it into his back. The next we see him drive it into him one more time while the king is laying on the floor dying from his wound.
This is in stark contrast to how he described the event in Season 3 episode 5. While much of the assassination is the same, it is the final moments of the kings death that are different.
First, I killed the pyromancer, and then, when the king turned to flee, I drove my sword into his back. “Burn them all,” he kept saying. “Burn them all.” I don’t think he expected to die. He meant to burn with the rest of us and rise again, reborn as a dragon, to turn his enemies to ash. I slit his throat to make sure that didn’t happen. That’s where Ned Stark found me.
He slit the kings throat, which is not what we saw. And let’s face it. You wouldn’t easily forget the method in which you killed your king.
A simple explanation for this difference in events is that he was not in full control of his own actions. As we saw with Hodor, he seemingly had no idea of how he became Hodor, and the same can be said of how Jaime killed the Mad King. He heard Aerys II reciting “burn them all,” over and over, and it was at that point Bran entered the picture. Seeing him alone with no one but Jaime, who was loyal to his King, gave him an opportunity to slay him and stop the madness.
Bran would have been unaware that Aerys II was being controlled by Bloodraven, and that he was trying to get them to burn all of the White Walkers. Bran, believing Aerys II is about to burn the kingdom to the ground instead, seizes the moment and potentially opens the door to an invasion of the dead.
But what of the wildfire in the vision? There’s no reason to believe that it was related to that particular moment in the history of Westeros. Bran’s visions switched between so many different moments it’s hard to actually pin it down to that particular moment. For all we know it could be related to something which hasn’t happened yet, or another event in which we haven’t been told yet.
Edit: Since this post was written before the end of season 6 we now know that the vision of the wildfire was probably the result of Cersei destroying the Great Sept of Baelor.
Why would George R R Martin do this?
Why would he kill off just about every popular character? He’s possibly toying with us, or has a deeper message. I believe the reason is to send us the message that if we interfere in the lives of others it will lead to turmoil and unrest. That’s a pretty accurate message, and one worth heeding.