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Credit: Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

Winter is here, but Game of Thrones‘ seventh season remains as out-of-reach for fans as the Iron Throne is for Hot Pie.

Still, at least Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) has all the answers — sort of. At the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience in New York’s Madison Square Garden Tuesday night, Hempstead Wright played real-life Three-Eyed Raven, teasing just enough on what’s coming next in Westeros without giving too much away. The actor spoke with EW about filming this season, Bran’s transformation, and working for the first season without Hodor by his side.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you finish filming?
ISAAC HEMPSTEAD WRIGHT: I finished months ago. We got done in the beginning, which really helped for me. I think they were filming until February [of this year], but I was done [by the end of 2016] when everyone was still flying back out.

Bran returned last season only to lose so many around him—
Yeah, small hiccup. [Laughs]

Right. Goodbye, Hodor (Kristian Nairn), Summer, Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow). Where do we find Bran at the start of season 7?
Bran is in the same position he’s in, which is kind of like, “What am I gonna do? What’s gonna happen?” Is he gonna tell Jon? Is he gonna find anyone? Is he even going to make it past the Wall? He’s only with Meera now, and he’s out in the middle of nowhere, so it’s not looking great.

He’s now the Three-Eyed Raven. How does that affect him?
I think the thing with Bran is that he’s had to change massively. His circumstances are pretty bad, but overall I think Bran has maintained his sense of being good. He hasn’t gone, like, “Oh man, I have all these amazing powers now, let’s mess some things up!”

What’s been important has been taking this new role and that’s what Bran has done his whole life. He suddenly lost his legs, and then his family got killed, and then his house burned down, so it’s like, okay, “Now I’m in this forest with all these random people, and now I’m having weird dreams,” but what Bran is thinking of above anything else is this sense of responsibility and purpose and not just being a kid anymore and doing whatever he wants to do. Bran has certainly understood that this is out of his control now. He’s a piece on the chessboard that has to make a move, and he hasn’t got any moves.

I would argue that he does have a move, knowing Jon Snow’s true parentage. He’s not a pawn, at least…
Oh well yeah, it’s like he’s a combination of [chess] pieces, a weird spiritual combination.

As you said, Bran has had to grow up very fast. So is he an actual grown-up now, after losing his guardians Hodor and the Three-Eyed Raven, in season 7?
Ooooh, good question. [Pauses] I think Bran has transcended “growing.” Growing up or being an adult is not on his to-do list anymore. It’s doing what he needs to do. He’s on another plane. It’s not like he has to grow up and prove himself a man. He just knows he has to do his stuff.

How did you feel filming without Kristian for the first time?
It’s just weird. It feels empty, like, where’s my buddy on set? [Laughs] Although it’s a lot more peaceful now. [Laughs] I’m just teasing! Don’t tell him.

Game of Thrones is heading toward an end. How do you feel about that, knowing the finish line is approaching?
Like freaked out more than anything else. It’s been a big part of my life for seven years, just every year doing this show with the same faces, the same crew. It’s kind of exciting, it’s something new with lots of new possibilities. It’s gonna be so sad.

Can you give me one word to tease season 7? And don’t say “epic.”
No, that’s our go-to word! Then… [Pauses] probably “connections.”

So as in Stark connections?
[Shrugs] Take that how you will.

Ah, you’re not gonna give anything else away!
[Shakes his head] You underestimated me!

Game of Thrones season 7 is expected to air this summer on HBO.

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Game of Thrones

HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series A Song of Ice and Fire.

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