- "My...name? Long...forgotten....Am old....Very...Old. Lived as...Old Man....Birch..."
- ―Tregar introduces himself to Bran Stark
Tregar Blackgard, more commonly known as the "Old Man Birch" is a minor character in the sixth season, first appearing in "The Winds of Winter". Tregar is an ancient, still living member of House Blackgard who, after he was exiled to the Wall, encountered the Three-eyed raven and under his tutelage, gained the greensight and the ability to warg. Ever since the Raven's death, Tregar has been guiding Bran Stark.
Tregar was born in Blackgard at least a hundred years before the start of the series as the elder brother of Tragen Blackgard and the former heir apparent of House Blackgard. As the heir of Blackgard, Tregar was betrothed to Anya Stark, a member of the main branch of House Stark. However, the betrothal was quickly annulled when Tregar was exiled to the Wall. Once there, he became a prominent ranger of the Night's Watch. Since then, his younger brother Tragen became the new heir with Anya as his wife.
After a ranging gone wrong beyond the Wall, Tregar stumbled upon a heart tree and heard a voice calling out to his name. The voice told him to go to a certain location somewhere beyond the Wall. Eventually, Tregar encountered the Three-eyed raven who taught the lost ranger the secrets of greensight and warging. Since then, Tregar stayed beyond the Wall after learning about the White Walkers and their eventual return.
After mastering his newfound powers, Tregar made his home at the same heart tree where he first heard the Raven's voice. Since then, Tregar sat at the tree for almost a hundred years, as the roots started to manifest in and around his body. While his body still aged, the heart tree grew taller and it started to grow around Tregar. Eventually, the tree's roots were buried so deep in Tregar's body, that he was no longer able to move. Ever since that day, tales were told about an ancient heart tree beyond the Wall dubbed the "Old Man Birch", a heart tree that could talk and even walk, unknowing that it is in fact a long lost member of House Blackgard who controls the tree.
After Benjen Stark and Aenir Targaryen leave Bran Stark and Meera Reed near a heart tree, Benjen tells them to talk to a man hidden beneath the tree called "Old Man Birch". When he leaves, Bran and Meera enter the tree and see a very old man sitting with the tree's roots entangled around him. Old Birch claims to know about Bran and Meera, and says that he too serves the Three-eyed raven, meaning that he now serves Bran. When Bran asks about the man's name, Old Birch says that he was born as Tregar Blackgard, older brother of Tragen Blackgard, the grandfather of the recently deceased Trevyr Blackgard. He admits that, since he has lived inside the tree for so long, he no longer remembers his age, or the year in which he currently lives.
Bran asks Tregar why he needed to come see him, and Tregar says that he has to "show him" something. He invites Bran to grab one of Tregar's roots and warg inside the tree. After doing so, Bran returns to the Tower of Joy vision and sees his aunt, Lyanna Stark, dying after giving birth to a baby that would later be named Jon Snow.
Tregar is a Borderman, and since the Bordermen have strong ties to the First Men, Tregar was able to inherit some magical abilities. Tregar knew he had special abilities only after he reached maturity.
- Greensight - also called simply "The Sight", is the ability to receive prophetic visions, starting off in the form of dreams. Tregar's powers extend far beyond simply viewing events unfold; he is capable of influencing past events, though he cannot change what was not predestined to occur already.
- Warg - Tregar is a warg, a human who can send his consciousness into the mind of an animal, to see through its eyes and control its body as if it were his own. A master in warging, Tregar is inherently a very powerful warg, even able to enter the mind of another human, something the wargs among the wildlings are unable and unwilling to do.
- Skinchanging with a Heart tree, a Weirwood with a face carved in it by the Children of the Forest, allows Tregar (when combined with his Greensight) to have vivid visions of past, present, and future events, including those far away from himself. While in the visions, Tregar is able to return to his pre-tree form and is once again capable of normal speech and moving.
- Controlling a Heart tree - although this is never fully confirmed, it is implied that Tregar is able to control the Heart tree that has rooted in his body. According to the stories told by the Night's Watch and the Free Folk, an enormous tree north of the Wall, called Old Man Birch, or the Lonely Tree, is able to talk, and even move. It is heavily implied that - combined with his warging ability- that Tregar is able to control the tree by letting it walk on his own. As for the voice, it could be possible that it is simply Tregar speaking.
|Season Six appearances|
|The Red Woman||Home||Oathbreaker||Book of the Stranger||The Door|
|Blood of My Blood||The Broken Man||No One||Battle of the Bastards||The Winds of Winter|