In a final season groaning under illogical plot twists, impossible travel times and hugely underwhelming pay-offs for storylines spanning the previous seven seasons, certain characters still stand out. George RR Martin himself appeared to think that Bronn had more screen time than was warranted from his importance in the books. Nevertheless, he was a fan favourite and certainly provided much of the dry humour. However his entire arc this year was preposterous. Sent by Cersei to kill both her brothers, he pulled out the crossbow, vaguely threatened them and then agreed not to kill Tyrion and Jaime if they would leave him out of the upcoming battles but promise him a huge castle when it was all over.
Why on earth would they honour that? Both have enough resources to have Bronn found and killed off. Even if they had bigger things to worry about at the time, if they survived, as Tyrion at least did, it would be easy to have Bronn taken care of.
Yet he ends up ruling one of the biggest and richest regions on the continent at a time when Westeros desperately needs stability and wise heads to put everything back together. Far more importantly, however, how on Westeros will he possibly hope to hold onto his castle, or his head?
A powerful Reddit theory points out: “Bronn is now lord of Highgarden but with no actual personal wealth or armies of his own. How long will the houses of that region tolerate him?”
The lords of Westeros (and Essos) are not exactly known for tolerating anything and their form of intolerance tends to end in only one way.
The theory was set out by Redditor treefox who doubted Bronn’s ongoing survival chances as the new Master of Coin: “Doesn’t know how loans work. Foisted upon Highgarden by Tyrion despite absolutely zero connection with them. Highgarden was previously ransacked of everything of value by the Lannisters, who probably killed most of the key people as well.
“Bronn might be the only person left in the castle, and presumably doesn’t actually have anybody personally loyal to him in Highgarden. Bronn is probably just around because there aren’t any battles for him to profit off of, and Tyrion needs a friend.”
Highgarden is the ruling seat of the ancient Kingdom of the Reach, one of the Six Kingdoms now under Bran, once held by House Gardener. When the Targaryens invaded, House Gardener was destroyed and former stewards the Tyrells were appointed. But powerful families like the Oakhearts, Rowans and Florents all still have claim to the castle and the overlordship of the region.
Who will support Bronn’s claim?
Yes, he was appointed by the crown, influenced presumably by Tyrion. But the crown has no standing army and a king who appears content to step back and search for dragons.
How, then, will the Small Council (Brienne, Samwell, Bronn, Ser Davos and Tyrion) achieve anything with no money, no armies, no capital city or people to tax and no way to enforce anything at all?
How would they uphold Bronn’s claim to Highgarden with no resources?
At best, Bronn will remain in King’s Landing and profit however he can as Master of what little Coin there is.
At worst, he will go to Highgarden and meet an unfortunate ‘accident’ very quickly. The much-missed Lady Oleanna was unlikely to be the only one skilled with poisons…