So, I’ve been thinking, and I have Thoughts About Bran Stark. More specifically, I have thoughts about Bran’s injury. I’m not an expert or anything, but…
In some ways, it seems like Bran Stark might be the luckiest cripple in Westeros. Based purely on what we see, the level of function he gets to keep after being pushed out of a window is really, REALLY high. Abnormally high.
He’s got full and unrestricted control of his upper body (including fine motor stuff with his fingers, which sometimes deteriorates even if it’s not totally lost) and even potentially some of the lower – he can’t feel or control his thighs or anything lower than that, but he seems able to use his hips at least a little bit. Not all paraplegics have that, since the level of control you get to keep depends on exactly where your injury is and exactly what kind of damage was done in that spot.
He’s had no mention of pressure sores or of circulation issues. This is huge. Circulation is an almost universal issue for people with limited mobility, including me and every wheelchair user I’ve ever met, but Bran doesn’t have a hint of it. We’d KNOW if he did, because cold makes circulation issues much worse and he’s been north of the Wall for sodding ages. If there was any character who should have serious issues in those conditions, it’s Bran, but Bran’s fine and somehow it’s Jojen Reed who falls apart.
He SEEMS to have surprisingly good bladder and bowel control. Again, this varies depending on where the injury is and what kind of damage was done…but there’s no mention of it, which sticks out a bit considering how happy GRRM is writing characters (even very young ones) being helplessly and gratuitously biological.
Every flip of the coin after his injury seems to have gone Bran’s way. Every single one. As I said, I’m just a layman…but he seems to have been freakishly lucky.
Is this just me?
My own experience with disability doesn’t extend to paraplegia, but after thinking about this a lot recently wrt to Jaime and amputation, I think you have a point here. My guess is that the “luck” has to do with plot requirements – it’s already barely plausible that Bran could make it from Winterfell to Bloodraven’s treefort in the midst of winter, and adding on more realistic side-effect issues only makes that tougher.