While much of the Game of Thrones cast has morphed from the innocence of the first season to the militarized cynicism of its seventh, none have undergone as striking a transformation as Isaac Hempstead Wright’s Bran Stark. The precocious little spider monkey whose climbing excursions effectively caused the War of the Five Kings has become a stoic, omniscient weirdo after his travels beyond the Wall. Everyone else is enjoying the brief and bittersweet pleasures of reunion; Bran is trying to continue being a human being rather than Westeros’ first computer filing system. That has meant changes for both Wright and his now one of the most fascinating on the series as we reach the beginning of the end. At a joint AT&T and HBO event, Paste sat down with Wright to talk Game of Thrones, memes, and what he can see of his future.
Paste: I heard that you were a bit of a meme aficionado. Have you been browsing Twitter after each episode?
Isaac Hempstead Wright: I’ve seen a lot of memes. Amongst the abuse I got after episode three [“The Queen’s Justice”]—so much hate after that. “Oh Bran, I hate Bran now. He’s changed so much.” Guys, chill the fuck out. It’s alright.
Paste: Do you contribute to the discussion secretly?
Wright: I don’t, I’m purely an observer. But all I do with my girlfriend is send memes to each other. She got so excited when she found one of me. “Isaac, you’re in a meme!” Yeah, I’m in a meme. [Bran] has become very meme-able. I’ve seen some great ones, like one where Meera goes, “My brother died for you, Hodor died for you,” and Bran says, “New phone who dis?”
Paste: Has this character change affected you professionally? A big acting step up?
Wright: It was really interesting to do, because in many ways, for me at least, Bran has been playing either a child or a teenager. Obviously with some unique and weird bits, but as I’ve grown up, it’s basically just been me in a different time period. There’s things you can bring into it, with this and other parts, but now there’s nothing you can possibly—I’m not arrogant enough to think I know everything. We had a couple meetings with the producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and we modeled it on Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen. We called it “Dr. Branhattan.” This idea of existing at all these…