Bran’s “Chaos Is a Ladder” Quote on ‘Game of Thrones,’ Explained
Even before all that dragonfire on Game of Thrones Sunday night, fans had a ton of moments to geek out about — including that subtext-laden conversation between Bran Stark and Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish.
As actor Isaac Hempstead Wright reveals now, Bran was intentionally trying to get under Littlefinger’s skin with that whole “Chaos is a ladder” quote.
But what does it all mean? Keep reading, people...
“In a way, that dagger made you what you are today,” Littlefinger tells him.
“Forced from your home, driven out to the wilds beyond the Wall. I imagine you’ve seen things most men wouldn't believe.
“To go through all of that and make your way home again only to find such chaos in the world, I can only imagine…”
And that’s when Bran interrupts him and unnerves him, saying, “Chaos is a ladder.”
That comment of Bran’s is a direct reference to a conversation Littlefinger had with Varys years prior, as Littlefinger undoubtedly realizes.
In that Season 3 chat, Littlefinger refuted Varys’s assertion that chaos is a “gaping pit waiting to swallow us all.”
“Chaos is a ladder,” Littlefinger contends.
“Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them.
“And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse. They cling to the realm or the gods or love.
“Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”
In an interview published on HBO’s Making Game of Thrones blog, Isaac says his character is definitely trolling Littlefinger.
“That was my favorite scene to film this season,” he reveals.
“It was so neat to say something that cool. The fact that Bran heard that line means that he’s gone back and looked through Mr. Baelish’s timeline.
“His intention is to slightly rattle Littlefinger, to say, in just a subtle, really creepy way, ‘I know what you’re up to.’”
No sooner does that Bran-Littlefinger moment happen than Meera Reed walks in and drops a bombshell of her own: She thinks Bran died in that cave, since this new Three-Eyed Raven Bran is so emotionless.
“It’s quite a bold thing for Meera to have said,” Isaac says.
“Sadly, I think in many ways she was right. It’s just this whole idea that Bran has become a much smaller part of the character’s brain, when before 100 percent of his head was taken up with being Bran Stark. Now, that’s just one tiny file in a huge system.”
“That said, we’ve been waiting for this to happen since the beginning. It’s Bran’s fate to become the Three-Eyed Raven,” Isaac continues.
“That has been his destiny from day one; this is where his story arc has been leading up to from the moment he got pushed out of that tower.
“So the fact we’re here now is actually a bit of a relief. While he may not be that same character, he now has got a lot more to offer.
“He’s now an incredibly powerful character now; having all the knowledge in the world puts you in a seriously advantageous position.”
The 18-year-old says it was a challenge playing a character split between young man and old computer:
“I had a meeting with [series creators] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], and they wanted him to be quite monotone and agenda-less, but at the same time have a slight flair, so it wasn’t just like listening to a robot talk.
“There had to be a sense of mystery and wisdom to him. He was sort of inspired by Dr. Manhattan in the Watchmen series — being in all these places at once, in all these time zones at once.
“I tried to base it on the old Three-Eyed Raven and have a sense of this wise, old, man sitting in a tree.
“At the same time, still have that slight spark somewhere in there where you know this is Bran Stark. It was a fine balance.”
Is Bran right not to trust Littlefinger? What are Littlefinger’s ulterior motives? And will we ever see normal Bran again? Speculate away in the comment section below!
Game of Thrones Season 7 airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.