When Bran Stark finally arrived back in Winterfell in Season 7 of Game of Thrones, it was immediately apparent that there was something different about him. He had a new haircut. He spoke in cryptic one-liners. He wasn't the Bran Stark who left home at the start of the summer, that much was clear. And fans took notice: people are obsessed with Emo Bran on Game of Thrones.
Bran's personality shift was especially jarring in contrast to Sansa's reaction to having him home. She welcomed him with open arms in Episode 3, and he could barely summon enough energy to give her a halfhearted hug in return. Instead of a warm sibling reunion fans might have expected, there was only awkwardness. That continued to be the case in "The Spoils of War," where Bran couldn't even manage much of a goodbye to Meera despite how much support she'd given him over the years. Becoming the Three Eyed Raven changed Bran entirely, sapping him of his personality even as he gained new knowledge. It also made him incredibly meme-worthy.
Seizing on the opportunity to inject a little levity into this whole downer fire and ice thing, fans responded to Bran's abrupt personality shift with all manner of jokes, gifs, and tweets.
Though Bran's sudden turn from sweet kid to sullen young adult may have felt bizarre to the viewing audience, it was really just par for the course — and not just because he'd been turned into a medieval super computer. Bran basically did what many teenagers do at a certain point: get really into philosophy, wear a lot of black, and refuse to hug family members in public.
That's not to say that it wasn't annoying, or really, really hilarious. Comparing Emo Bran to his siblings also proved rich ground for comedy. Poor Sansa has been thrilled with each successive reunion with one of her siblings, only to be once again faced with the reality that she was the most normal member of the family. Jon had risen from the dead and spent all his time worried about ice zombies. Bran was a tree wizard. Arya was a faceless master assassin bent on revenge. Sure, they all have great icebreakers at parties now, but at what cost?
Sad as it is that Bran has forsaken all emotion in favor of looking aloof and flaunting his inner encyclopedia, his sacrifice has given viewers a much greater gift. I'm not talking about whatever help he can offer in the battle to come or information he can provide about Jon's family history. I'm talking purely about the jokes.
On a show as heartbreaking as Game of Thrones, Emo Bran is just what viewers need to get through the hard times.