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If You're Confused About "Game Of Thrones" Time Travel, Read This

It makes sense...in theory. Spoilers if you're not up to date on the show.

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This week's episode of Game of Thrones saw Bran tragically turn young Wyllis into Hodor, confirming the idea that he can affect events in the past.

...or can he? Because Hodor was Hodor before Bran went back in time, so HOW DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?

As Reddit user Jdylopa suggests, it seems the "time travel" on Game of Thrones is following the Novikov self-consistency principle, which means only one timeline exists and all events are fixed.

Everything that has happened was always going to happen. Those who travel into the past aren't affecting events – they were always a part of them. So Bran didn't actually change anything, he simply acted out his own place in history.
HBO

Everything that has happened was always going to happen. Those who travel into the past aren't affecting events – they were always a part of them. So Bran didn't actually change anything, he simply acted out his own place in history.

Similar time loops have been seen in movies and shows like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 12 Monkeys, and Futurama.

Warner Bros
Universal
Fox

In all of these, the characters discover through travelling back in time that they are simply enacting what has already happened.

This means that, while Bran can see the past and interact with it, he can only do so because that was ALWAYS what had happened. So no, he can't go back and save his family or even himself.

HBO
HBO

The Three-Eyed Raven wasn't lying when he said the past couldn't be changed – he just knew Bran had to play his part in it.

This was confirmed in "The Door", when he told Bran to listen to Meera and warg into Hodor, suggesting he knew exactly what was going to happen.
HBO

This was confirmed in "The Door", when he told Bran to listen to Meera and warg into Hodor, suggesting he knew exactly what was going to happen.

So what's the point of having time travel in the story if it doesn't change anything?

Well, for one thing, it's not about changing things, but making them happen in the first place. And Bran is not only enacting the past, he is also learning about it – learning, as the Bloodraven wanted, everything. This has to be significant; there's a good chance he could even be the key to defeating the White Walkers. Everything that has happened so far, and everything that will happen in the future (and, er, past) HAD to happen in order to get him to that point.Or maybe it is all just a mindfuck of a distraction.
HBO

Well, for one thing, it's not about changing things, but making them happen in the first place. And Bran is not only enacting the past, he is also learning about it – learning, as the Bloodraven wanted, everything. This has to be significant; there's a good chance he could even be the key to defeating the White Walkers. Everything that has happened so far, and everything that will happen in the future (and, er, past) HAD to happen in order to get him to that point.

Or maybe it is all just a mindfuck of a distraction.

  1. What do you think?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    This makes a lot more sense now.
    Correct
    Incorrect
    I'm still confused AF.
    Correct
    Incorrect
    HODOR.
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What do you think?
  1.  
    vote votes
    This makes a lot more sense now.
  2.  
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    I'm still confused AF.
  3.  
    vote votes
    HODOR.
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