ThougGame of Thrones Season 6 episode ‘Blood of my Blood’ had some really interesting visions of Bran Stark early on, as he saw multiple events of the past. This included the Mad King Aerys Targaryen whose insanity and obsession with wildfire caused a lot of mayhem in Westeros. We then saw a young Jaime killing the king he was sworn to protect. The multiple shots also included other important events of the past like Ned Stark’s beheading, the Red Wedding, Tower of Joy flashback and a lot of White Walkers and the wights, including the recent season 5 battle at Hardhome. Showrunners have emphasized that each of the images were carefully chosen and we will try to relate them to a popular fan theory which suggests the reason for Aerys’ madness.
We see Daenerys’ father screaming his favorite line- ‘Burn them all’ multiple times. The vision of Mad king may not sound very important as everyone pretty much knows about his history and there was no major revelation as such. But the interesting thing was that this vision was sandwiched between the visions of pyromancers preparing Wildfire and the White Walkers. Let’s first look at Aerys’ story as told by Jaime Lannister to Brienne of Tarth during their famous bath scene:
“Aerys saw traitors everywhere, so he had his pyromancer place caches of Wildfire all over the city. Beneath the Sept of Baelor and the slums of Flea Bottom. Under houses, stables, taverns, even beneath the Red Keep itself . . .
Then he turned to his pyromancer. ‘Burn them all,’ he said. ‘Burn them in their homes. Burn them in their beds.’ . . .
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.”
Jaime’s story definitely sounds true but what if the reasoning behind the Mad King’s actions was misinterpreted? As we saw in the episode ‘The Door’, Bran Stark is able to influence the events of the past. There is a hugely popular fan theory which suggests that the Mad King’s insanity was caused by the ‘whispers’ from Bran or the Three Eyed Raven. The fact that the Mad King’s vision was mixed with visions of White Walkers and wildfire is possibly an indication that Game of Thrones may confirm soon that Aerys’ obsession with ‘burning them all’ originates from a good-intentioned hint from a greenseer. The fans agree:
In the books, the Three Eyed Raven tells Bran that he was a legitimized Targaryen bastard once called ‘Brynden Rivers’. Maybe when Rivers became the Three-eyed Raven, he may have tried to warn Aerys about the dangers north of the Wall and attempted to advise him to use wildfire to ‘burn them all’, only to realize that no good can come if you meddle with the visions and his well-intentioned intervention possibly short-circuited the Mad King’s brain. Redditor Drain01 explains:
We now know that the Raven’s insistence on ‘past cannot be changed’ is only partially true. If you do meddle with the past as a greenseer, your actions will always find ways to become a part of the history, as we saw in case of Hodor. Bran never knew he was responsible for Hodor’s seizure but when he did, it was already too late. Hodor did see Bran at Winterfell in the past, but he forgot everything about it because of his seizure. So there was no away Hodor’s death could have been avoided because the past had already written his death in the future.
Same can be said about Brynden Rivers and the Mad King. Rivers may have tried to warn Aerys in his vision of the past, only to realize later that he was the one who made him the Mad King. It has also been mentioned in the books that Aerys was not insane in his youth and showed a lot of promise during early years of his reign.
There is also a slight possibility that River’s actions were intentional. He was very loyal to Targaryens but was exiled by Aegon V Targaryen (Egg) later for killing Aenys Blackfyre. He was also believed to be a sinister sorcerer who effectively ruled the Seven Kingdoms through magic and spies. Therefore, he may have caused Aerys’ madness early on as part of his revenge to destroy the Targaryens (Aerys was also the last Targaryen to sit on the Iron throne), only to realize later that consequences of his actions have made things worse and with the White Walkers threatening to wipe out the entire human race, he needs to transfer his knowledge to someone else (Bran) before it’s too late.
Hopefully, we will get to see more of the Mad King this season and possibly get some closure on this fan theory. But with only 4 episodes left, chances are that this may be postponed to the next season. Whatever may be the case, this theory is looking very probable right now!