Bran Stark won't be in 'Game of Thrones' season 5

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Game of Thrones is losing another Stark — at least temporarily.

There are no current plans to include Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and Hodor (Kristian Nairn) in season 5 of the HBO fantasy hit. The rather stunning plot shakeup was first let out of the bag by Nairn during an interview. “We have a season off and we have a year’s hiatus, solely because I imagine our storyline is up to the end of the books,” he said, then added regarding his DJing career: “So, I get my year off now to do Rave of Thrones and gallivant all over the world.”

The move ditches Bran and Hodor now that they’ve reached Bran’s three-eyed crow mentor, which is nearly as far as the characters have progressed in George R.R. Martin’s novels. For the fifth season of the series, producers are going to a new Westeros country — Dorne, which will be shot in Spain — and adding some new characters. Leaving behind Bran will give the show more time to spend with the new characters, and some time for the other storylines to catch up to Bran’s (as well as for Martin potentially to release his next book in the saga, The Winds of Winter).

Martin himself did a similar maneuver in his novels as his saga’s scope expanded, leaving out some key characters from his last two books. Still, the move is bound to upset some fans of Bran’s storyline, and marks the first time a major character has been benched for a full season. HBO would not comment or confirm.

Update: Game of Thrones showrunner explains why Bran won’t be in season 5

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