I just want to get this out of the way: I don’t hate Bran Stark. He’s an extremely important character in the “Game of Thrones” universe, and Isaac Hempstead-Wright has done a fine job portraying the character over the last seven seasons.

But after assuming the mantle of the Three-Eyed Raven, and gaining the power of Westerosi tree gods to see everything that’s ever happened and is happening, Bran has become less a character and more a writers’ tool. With a blank stare and deadpan delivery, he informs characters of distant events for the sake of quickly moving the plot along. Or he witnesses important expository flashbacks that flesh out the larger narrative.

And it’s fine. How else would we have known that the Children of the Forest created the Night King by shoving a dragonglass dagger into his heart? Who else could’ve uncovered all of Littlefinger’s many crimes and told Sansa and Arya about them?

But is Bran all that compelling? Is he precocious? Heroic? Conflicted? Empathetic? Not so much. He’s essentially a supercomputer.

So I find it suspicious that, according to GetCenturyLink.com, Bran is Nebraska’s favorite “Game of Thrones” character.

To arrive at this result, CenturyLink analyzed Google Trends search data on a state-by-state basis, meaning Nebraskans apparently searched for Bran Stark more than any other “Thrones” character over the past five years. But, as we’ve seen before, this is not a foolproof way of determining a state’s favorite anything.

Sign up for the Go newsletter

This complete guide of local music, movies, dining and entertainment will have you weekend ready.

Given the uncertainty, we’ve compiled a list of alternative favorite characters that are more in line with our sturdy Midwestern sensibilities.

» Brienne of Tarth: Brienne is honest, faithful and a bona fide warrior. Her commitment to upholding her oaths, first to Catelyn Stark, now to her daughters, is one of the show’s most consistent plot points. She would be a fine pick for Nebraska.

» Jon Snow: The King in the North always strives to do the right thing, however painful the outcome. He hails from the North, which is basically the Nebraska of Westeros. He’s a little dour at times, but you would be too if it was up to you and your aunt/girlfriend to save the world.

» Khal Drogo: Literally tore out a dude’s tongue. Remains a fan favorite six seasons after being killed off. Respect.

» Sansa Stark: Though not the most physically powerful of the main cast, Sansa gets points for her cunning and steely resolve. She’s survived brutal hardships without succumbing to despair and has matured into a strong, nuanced character in her own right.

» Olenna Tyrell: The Queen of Thorns had some of the best one-liners in the show. Her world-weary barbs endeared her to audiences while infuriating some of the show’s most disliked villains. And when her machinations finally caught up to her, she had the last word.

» The Sand Snakes: Lol no.

» Hodor: Hodor Hodor. Hodor Hodor, Hodor Hodor Hodor. Hodor Hodor Hodor! Hodor Hodor; Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor. Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.