The Three-Eyed Raven is a seer who first appears in Bran Stark’s dreams as a raven. However, the seer is actually an old man nestled deep in a cave in the forest who has fused himself with a weirwood tree. The raven’s third eye represents greater knowledge of the future, which is why Bran is inclined to trust his visions.
The Raven first appears to Bran after he has been injured in his fall from the tower. He guides Bran to re-examine the Stark family crypts by leading him there in a recurring dream. The Raven also leads Bran in a dream to speak with his father Eddard Stark in the crypts, although Eddard had already been executed. Bran did not yet know of the execution. In encounters with other characters, Bran learns that he is not the only one who has had dreams about the Three-Eyed Raven.
Later, Bran dreams again of the Three-Eyed Raven while he is travelling north. Bran speaks to the boy Jojen about the Raven, and Jojen explains the power of greenseers such as the Three-Eyed Raven. Jojen was a part of Bran’s dream. Jojen has certain prophetic powers and so was able to be present as himself in the dream rather than as a representation of himself.
Eventually, Bran decides that, since he keeps having the dreams, he must embark on a journey to find the Three-Eyed Raven in person. He travels North beyond the wall with a group containing Jojen and Hodor as well as some others. The Raven keeps sending visions, one of which shows a lone giant weirwood on a hill and a message to look beneath the tree. The group eventually locates the tree, where they are attacked by a group of wights. Jojen is fatally stabbed.
A child that finds them in the forest guides the group to a cave where the wights cannot enter because of the magic at work there. The child leads them deeper into the cave, where they finally find the Three-Eyed Raven. To Bran’s surprise, the Raven is not a bird but is rather a very old man whose body has over time become fused to the roots of the weirwood tree. His clothes are rotting, and his skin is entirely white. His voice is raspy and sounds unused. The Raven explains that he was once a lord of men known as Brynden.
Bran asks the Raven to heal his crippled legs, but the Raven is unable to do so. He does, however, tell Bran that he will one day fly. The Raven explains skinchanging and greenseeing and awakes Bran’s own greenseer gifts by feeding him a paste made from weirwood seeds. After eating the paste, Bran has visions of his deceased family members.