What Exactly *Is* the Three-Eyed Raven on 'Game of Thrones'?

Other than a really creepy little brother, that is.

HBO

It's easy to hate the Three-Eyed Raven on Game of Thrones. Mostly because it's turned Bran into one of the creepiest characters on a show that also features ice zombies. Plus, if we're being honest, the whole storyline is a little confusing. On that note, here's what you need to know about the Three-Eyed Raven—because it's actually really important to Game of Thrones.

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What IS the Three-Eyed Raven?

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The term "Three-Eyed Raven" comes from the literal bird that appeared to Bran in a vision dream meant to guide him to his future as the new Three-Eyed Raven. If you're thinking HUH?, that's a totally appropriate response.

Even though the moniker Three-Eyed Raven has stuck, the old man in the tree (AKA the old Three-Eyed Raven) and Bran Stark (AKA the current Three-Eyed Raven) are actually "Greenseers." In the GOT world, Greenseers are people with the ability to perceive past, future, and current-but-distant events through "Green Dreams." In other words, they are all-seeing and all-knowing.

Why did Bran become The Three-Eyed Raven?

Process of elimination, really. The old Three-Eyed Raven needed to train a replacement, and decided Bran was the best candidate. So, he reached out to him with creepy vision dreams, and lead him to the "Tree of the Three-Eyed Raven" for training.

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Even though Greensight is dealt with less in the show than in the books, Bran isn't the only character who possesses it. His little brother Rickon also had the gift, and so did Jojen Reed. But both Rickon and Jojen are dead, so even if Bran wanted to pass the baton, it's not an option.

Why did becoming the Three-Eyed Raven make Bran so creepy?

You have to understand that Bran is no longer really Bran. He still looks like Bran, but he's basically just a vessel for the Three-Eyed Raven. Bran is now akin to a super computer, with vast (actually, infinite) knowledge that he's still learning to process. He's dealing with information overload, so you should really think of him more like a robot than a human at this point.

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What role will The Three-Eyed Raven play in the show?

Bran is the only person in Westeros who knows the truth about Jon Snow's parents and birthright. As we learned in "Eastwatch," Rhaegar got an annulment—presumably to marry Jon's mother, Lyanna. This makes Jon the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne, and could change the course of history in Westeros.

Of course, omniscience is a powerful thing, so Bran/the Three-Eyed Raven's impact could be much larger still.

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