22nd of December 2017
Bran/Brandon has multiple meanings. Sadly, we don’t know which George R.R. Martin had in his mind when he decided to give this name to the son of Ned Stark. Still, I hope that you’ll find some of them interesting:
Select meanings of ‘Bran’:
– English: outer layer of cereal grain (miller’s bran)
– English: carrion crow, brand (for example on animal), firebrand, torch, sword
– Welsh: crow, raven, rook (brân)
– West Frisian: fire, conflagration
– German: fire (Brand)
– Old English: fire, flame, to burn, sword, torch
– Icelandic: sword, burning log (Brandur)
– Old Norse: sword, firebrand, torch, fire, flame, burning log (brandr)
– French: sword (archaic), from Frankish *brand, *brant (flaming sword, firebrand)
– Old French: edge of a sword (branc), from *brandus (sword, flaming brand) in popular Latin
– from Middle English: Brandon, Bramdun, which in turn comes from Old English bromdun (broom hedge + hill)
– from Frankish *brant, *brand (burned log, cinder)
– as a from of Irish name Bréanainn, which comes from Welsh ‘prince’ (for example: Saint Brendan the Voyager)
– from Brân (crow), the name of famous mythological hero Bran the Blessed
In The White Goddess by Robert Graves the archetypical god of ravens, crows and secret knowledge is called ‘Bran’.
In The Golden Bough the reader is introduced to a Norman custom, The Sunday of Firebrands, Brandons – the first Sunday of Lent, when bonfires are lit. In that region there was a tradition to elect ‘The Green Wolf’, grand master of brotherhood of the same name, who was symbolically burned at St. John’s Eve (Midsummer).
When we take the fact that in A Song of Ice and Fire Hodor carries Bran in a wicker basket (reminiscent of the wicker-man), originally used to carry firewood, maybe we should begin to worry about the young Stark’s fate… or maybe, what we have here is a hint that Bran is Lightbringer?