It’s because of her that Bran is still alive.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for the latest Game of Thrones episode, “The Spoils of War.”
As much as we root for and praise the big players still vying for the Iron Throne—and their lives—on Game of Thrones, none of them would be standing without guidance and support from the characters pulling the strings behind the scenes. Jon Snow wouldn’t have risen to power without Samwell Tarly, Ser Davos Seaworth, and Melisandre, or taken back the North without Sansa Stark. Daenerys Targaryen would probably still be in Essos if not for Missandei, Grey Worm, and Tyrion Lannister (who wouldn’t be Dany’s Hand of the Queen if Varys hadn’t convinced him Dany was worth fighting for).
Their journey, which began early in season 3, ended unceremoniously in the episode “The Spoils of War.” Bran (now the Three-Eyed Raven) told Meera he no longer needed her as she prepared to head home to her family for when—not if—the White Walkers travel south.
“You died in that cave,” said Meera, clearly pained by his response.
Meera first appeared with her brother Jojen Reed in the season 3 episode “Dark Wings, Dark Words.” They sought out Bran after he escaped Winterfell to help him get to the Three-Eyed Raven far beyond the Wall. While Jojen had greensight like Bran, Meera is a capable fighter and hunter—and she didn’t mind having to look after her beloved younger brother.
Ever since, Meera has been through everything with Bran. She followed her brother, Bran, and Hodor to the Wall. Through it all, she became their main line of defense—and unless Bran took over Hodor’s mind, their only line of defense. While they finally made it, it was at the cost of her brother’s life. Meera even had the fortitude to ease her brother’s passing before the Children of the Forest destroyed his body to prevent him from coming back as a wight.
Then, she spent a season and a half watching and waiting as Bran trained with the Three-Eyed Raven. She and Hodor were basically in a holding pattern, waiting for the next step in her journey. Hodor was quintessential Hodor, but Meera grew impatient.
“He isn’t going to stay here forever,” Leaf told her early in season 6. “And out there, he needs you.”
And he did—only a few episodes later. The Night King touched Bran, leading him and his army to their doorstep. For part of the fight, Meera was on her own. She killed countless wights and even shattered a White Walker with a dragonglass throwing a spear, making her only the third living person to have killed a White Walker on Game of Thrones. It’s no small feat. Unfortunately, her shouts of “Hold the door” during their escape is why Hodor can only say a mangled version of the last words he’ll ever hear.
Meera went through hell and exhausted herself trying to pull Bran to safety. She’s only given a reprieve after she and Bran are saved by Benjen Stark, who’s no longer quite alive. He soon leaves them, leaving Meera to once again pull Bran as far south as she can go. By the time she reaches the Wall at the beginning of season 7 she’s past the point of exhaustion. Although time and distance can be tricky to figure out, it easily took weeks to get from the weirwood tree to the Wall. And they had even further to go to get to Winterfell.
She watched Bran transform from Brandon Stark to the Three-Eyed Raven and knows him better than anyone alive. (Arguably even more than his still-living siblings.) Now that Bran is finally well-protected, she finally decides to head home. Bran’s distant aloofness isn’t a surprise to her or the audience—who watched his awkward interactions with Sansa and Littlefinger—but she’s still hurt by his coldness.
“My brother died for you,” she said. “Hodor and Summer died for you. I almost died for you.”
After everything she did and everything she sacrificed to bring Bran to the Three-Eyed Raven and home again, she couldn’t really save him. For Bran to succeed and become the Three-Eyed Raven, she had to fail. But in order for Bran to save Westeros, he needed Meera.
We don’t know if this is the last we’ll see Meera in Game of Thrones, though she exits the main story in better shape than most do. Considering that Benjen, Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, the Hound, Edmure and Brynden Tully, Rickon Stark, and Osha all returned after several seasons away from the main story (with at least one more on his way), however, there’s hope we’ll revisit Meera again before the end. She deserves that much.