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23rd Apr 2019

21 things you may have missed from the recent Game of Thrones episode

Paul Moore

Game of Thrones fans, it’s time to dig in

Spoilers are coming but you already knew that, right?

Anyway, just like the Season 8 opener, it’s time to delve in and take a look at some of the details that may have been missed, forgotten, or overlooked.

1) The opening credits

Just like last week, the ‘blue tiles’ on the map signify the movement of the Night King and they now cover all of Last Hearth, the home of House Umber.

You may have also noticed that they’re starting to make their way towards Winterfell, signifying the imminent attack.

There’s also dragon glass trenches depicted on the map of Winterfell too. A tiny detail but one that’s very cool.

Here’s a shot by shot comparison of the opening titles from the first episode in Season 8 with the most recent one.

Game of Thrones missed

2) The trial of Jaime Lannister

This isn’t so much something that went unnoticed but something that wasn’t said.

Yes, Jaime is a Kingslayer that stabbed Daenerys’ father, King Aerys II Targaryen, commonly referred to as “The Mad King”, in the back.

At the trial, Dany says “When I was a child, my brother would tell me a bedtime story about the man that murdered our father. How he sat on the Iron Throne and watched as his blood poured onto the floor. He told me other stories about all the things we would do to that man, once we took back the Seven Kingdoms.”

Dany has previously said that she’s aware of her father’s psychotic tendencies and it’s worth remembering that The Mad King plotted to burn down the entire city of King’s Landing.

Also, after riding to King’s Landing to confront the King about the apparent abduction of Lyanna Stark, The Mad King had Lord Rickard Stark (Ned’s father) and Brandon Stark (Ned’s brother) arrested for conspiring to kill Rhaegar, the prince they believe had abducted Lyanna.

After demanding a trial by combat, The Mad King chose fire as his champion. Lord Rickard was burned alive by wildfire as Brandon was forced to watch, strapped into a torture device that caused him to strangle himself in his attempts to save his father.

All of these details were conveniently not mentioned during Jaime’s trial.

Aside from this, it’s obvious that Dany is annoyed at Tyrion for trusting Cersei when she said that the Lannister forces would ride north to fight the dead. However, it’s worth remembering that she was also present when Cersei lied to everyone.

If she’s mad at Tyrion, she might as well be mad at herself.

Is that a trait of someone that you might call ‘unhinged’?

A final note, Bran’s cryptic statement of “The things we do for love” is pretty self-explanatory in the context of Jaime Lannister and the opening episode.

Ok, in case you can’t remember, it’s what Jaime said to Bran as he pushed him out of the window.

Clip via Davos Seaworth

3) A matter of survival

When Dany asked Jaime to explain why he’s willing to switch loyalties from House Lannister to her side, he said: “This goes beyond loyalty, this is about survival”.

These words were what Brienne told him in the Dragonpit.

At the time of that infamous meeting, she said: “Oh, fuck loyalty! This goes beyond houses and honour and oaths. Talk to the queen”.

4) ‘The Mad Queen’ hints

There were more than a few hints that Daenerys was very unhappy at some of the decisions that were made during the episode.

For example, the look she gave Sansa after Jaime received permission to stay and fight at Winterfell was colder than a White Walker.

Immediately after being told that he can stay and fight, Jaime says “Thank you your grace” and bows. Dany instantly stands up in anger and stares directly at him.

Tellingly, the conversation with Sansa about any future plans for The North and its independence – that is if they’re successful against the Night King – was left extremely vague.

Aside from this, Dany appears at her wits end when it comes to Tyrion. “Cersei still sits on the Throne, if you can’t help me take it back, I’ll find another hand who can,” she said.

Dany tells Sansa that “He (Tyrion) never should have trusted Cersei” but the Lady of Winterfell said it best with her reply: “You never should have either”.

All this pales in significance though to the final revelation about Jon Snow’s lineage and how he’s the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

After stating that Jon is the most honourable man she knows and that he’s a man of his word, she instantly replies by questioning his motivations.

“A secret no one in the world knew apart for your brother and your best friend. Does it seem strange to you?” said Daenerys to Jon after he told her the truth about his lineage. 

Suspicion, mistrust, and doubt have begun to enter her psyche.

As the army of the dead approached, the cold look that she gave Jon at the very end did appear to be quite worrying. You can read more about Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke’s views on that scene here.

Side note: a very cool detail is that the horn blew three times, signifying the White Walkers are approaching.

Game of Thrones missed

5) “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention”

It’s interesting that the Battle of Winterfell – the longest episode in Game of Thrones history and the biggest battle that has ever been filmed in TV/film history – is only the third episode in a six-part series.

Bran’s line to Jaime: “How do you know there is an afterwards?” does seem very loaded.

Methinks that the action is set to be epic in the next episode, but the real drama will be coming later.

6) The last time Targareyns brought dragons North

A small line that was mentioned in the episode but it’s important when trying to understand why Northerners really don’t trust Targareyns.

Torrhen Stark, known as the King Who Knelt, was the head of House Stark and he reigned as King in the North until Aegon I Targaryen invaded Westeros with his dragons.

After the Targaryens destroyed Harrenhal and their enemies at the Field of Fire, Torrhen knew that he was outnumbered and facing the wrath of forty-five thousand men and three dragons.

Rather than see his house destroyed and The North on fire, Torrhen surrendered and was named the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North.

Granted, Torrhen bent the knee at The Trident, an area that’s in the Riverlands, but it signified the start of the mistrust between the two Houses.

Despite House Stark pledging allegiance to House Targaryen, relations were usually quite cordial. The Starks took Queen Rhaenyra’s side during the Targaryen civil war, the Dance of the Dragons, in which they signed the Pact of Ice and Fire, and later taking part in the conquest of Dorne.

However, many of the northern lords opposed the Targaryens’ rule, including Torrhen’s own sons.

In more recent years, the issue of Robert’s Rebellion – which we’ve discussed during the trial of Jaime Lannister – cemented any lingering doubt that Northerners had to the Targaryens.

7) Two deathly throwbacks for Tyrion

In Season 1, when Tyrion was travelling out of The Vale and into The Riverlands with Bronn, he was asked how he’d like to die.

“In my own bed, at the age of 80 with a belly full of wine and a girl’s mouth around my cock” he said.

Well, that line was mentioned again during his chat with Jaime.

This ‘light’ way of dying was somewhat overshadowed by a more sinister line though.

“At least Cersei won’t murder me. At least I’ll feel some satisfaction denying her that pleasure while I’m getting ripped apart by dead men. Maybe when I’m dead, I’ll march down to King’s Landing and rip her apart,” said Tyrion.

There are two interesting things here.

A) As we saw in the opening episode, Bronn has already been hired by Cersei to kill Tyrion and Jaime with the same crossbow that Tyrion used to kill his father, Tywin.

Now, if you know your Game of Thrones history, you’ll know that deaths tend to have a rather poetic, yet horrific, symmetry.

For example, Ned Stark decapitated a Night’s Watch deserter. Ned Stark was decapitated.

Olenna Tyrell killed Joffrey via poison. Olenna died by poison.

Ramsay Bolton fed his adopted mother and stepbrother to the dogs. Ramsay died after being eaten alive by his own dogs.

Walder Frey helped plan the murder of Catelyn and Robb Stark, they both had their throats slit.  Walder Frey had his throat slit by Arya.

Littlefinger betrayed Ned Stark by holding a knife to his throat. Littlefinger was killed by the same knife when it slashed his throat.

Ygritte killed Olly’s parents via a bow and arrow. Olly killed Ygritte in the same way.

Lysa Arryn executed people by throwing them through the Moon Door. She died in the same way.

Tyrion killed Tywin with a crossbow. Bronn now has the same crossbow.

He’s a marked man.

B) The small mention of Tyrion killing Cersei could be a little nod to the valonqar prophecy.

Without getting into too much detail, the valonqar prophecy occurred when Cersei visited Maggy the frog. She predicted that Cersei would die at the hands of “the valonqar” According to Cersei’s septa, Septa Saranella, “valonqar” is High Valyrian for “little brother”.

8) Ghost

You would have to be blinder than Arya in the House of Black and White not to notice this but Jon’s beloved direwolf is back.

To be honest, we wanted more of a bigger deal to be made. After all, it’s Ghost!

9) Princess Shireen

The scene when Davos and Gilly are talking to the little girl that wants to fight is a direct throwback to Princess Shireen.

Of course, for many people, the death of Stannis’ daughter is still one of the most horrific scenes in the show because her screams were haunting. The image of her burning at the stake is still one that’s difficult to dwell on.

Bryan Cogman, writer of the recent episode, told EW that this scene is 100% referencing the fallen princess.

“The short little scene with Davos and Gilly tending to refugees streaming into Winterfell. They encounter a girl with half her face scarred who bears a resemblance to Shireen. The name ‘Shireen’ is not said in the scene. But Shireen taught both Davos and Gilly how to read. This is an example of how brilliant [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] are”.

10) Tyrion learning about the Three-Eyed Raven’s story

It seemed like a small moment but one that could prove to be very significant. For the last two episodes, all we’ve seen is Tyrion being berated and insulted by Dany for the mistakes that he has made.

We’ve a feeling that he’ll learn something very important during this conversation with the Three-Eyed Raven that could prove to be very significant.

11) Here are the battle plans for episode three

The Unsullied and Dothraki forces will be fighting in the centre.

The Knights of the Vale, supported by those loyal to House Stark, take the left flank.

House Stark defends the right side of Winterfell and it looks like Jorah Mormont is leading the defence of the actual castle (the Mormont sigil sits on top of the castle)

12) They’re as dead as the Night King

Greyworm and Missandei are already making romantic plans for when the war ends. Brienne got a lovely character moment when she was finally made a knight.

By the time the final credits roll on next week’s episode, the smart money is that at least two of those three characters will be as dead as a Stark at the Red Wedding.

13) Night’s Watch reunion

The scene of Sam, Dolorous Edd and Jon standing on the ramparts of Winterfell is reminiscent of the three men standing on top of The Wall as the Wildlings attacked Castle Black.

Here they are defending the wall during the ‘Watchers on the Wall’ episode.

14) Tyrion poured Podrick a full glass of wine

A tiny detail but one that shows how much respect and friendship Tyrion has for his old squire.

On the eve of battle, Brienne instructed him to only have half a glass. Tyrion gave him the whole thing.

15) The Hound and Arya

When Arya and The Hound were reunited on the ramparts of Winterfell, Sandor Clegane was sitting in the exact same pose that Arya left him to die after his epic fight with Brienne.

Arya asks, ‘When have you fought for anything or anyone other than yourself,’ and The Hound says, ‘I fought for you.’

Arya still left him to die.

16) Arya’s weapon

The double-edged spear is the exact same one she used – and the Waif – when training to be a Faceless Man.

17) Whispering Wood is mentioned again

The classic tactic of the bait-and-switch got another mention.

Basically, this involves a military leader preempting an attack, moving his forces elsewhere, and getting the drop on his enemies.

Robb Stark used it to perfection when he defeated the Lannisters at Whispering Wood.

Jaime did the same thing when he deserted Casterly Rock and moved his forces to take Highgarden.

During the recent episode, there was an awful lot of talk that the Night King is actually going to show up at Winterfell. Do you believe that he’ll risk his neck?

Jon said: “The Night King made them all, they follow his command. If he falls, getting to him may be our best chance”. The battle plans also involved using Bran as bait by placing him in the Winterfell Godswood under Theon’s protection.

Mmm, there’s a good chance that the Night King might be about to spring a surprise of his own.

After all, it’s very likely that he’s a greenseer and after waiting thousands of years to march south of The Wall, he’s probably far too cautious to be baited into an attack by Jon.

Even if the Night King is present at Winterfell, he has the ability to raise the dead. Bad news for anyone that’s near the crypts of Winterfell then.

As you can see in the shot below – which compares the recent episode with the Season 2 finale – the Night King isn’t to be seen alongside his generals (bottom left).

Granted, he always had a habit of standing back from the fighting – he kept a good distance during Hardhome and Beyond the Wall – and we think that he’s not going to get his sword, or spear, dirty during the Battle of Winterfell.

Why take the risk?

If he’s not at Winterfell, could he be somewhere else? The smart money would be on King’s Landing.

It’s clear that he wants Bran but why attack when your enemy is at their strongest? If he’s clever, he’ll let his generals decimate the Jon-Dany alliance and then swoop in.

18) The tiny touches

You’ll notice that the defensive ramparts, walls, and traps are all lined with dragonglass.

The wights have a tendency to stack their deceased corpses up on top of each other as they try to scale walls.

This should hold them back…for a while!

19) The recent history of House Mormont

Something that’s rarely mentioned in the show is the reason why Jorah Mormont can not return to Bear Island. It also adds a bit more poignancy to their recent reunion.

Basically, here’s the reason why the badass Lyanna Mormont (his cousin) inherited the leadership of House Mormont.

Ser Jorah’s father was Jeor Mormont, the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and mentor of Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly. Before he took his post at The Wall, Jeor was the Lord of Bear Island, and the head of his house. However, once he took his oath at the Wall, all his titles were stripped and passed down to his son, Jorah.

Jorah was forced into exile after he was caught illegally selling poachers into slavery – long story short, he started dating a woman with expensive tastes and to pay for this, he started selling slaves which is a crime.

With Jorah in exile, Jeor’s sister Maege, Lyanna’s mother, kept rule of Bear Island until she died fighting in the War of the Five Kings. Lyanna then became the Lady of Bear Island and the head of House Mormont.

20) Podrick’s song

There’s a long and complicated history associated with the song but in the show, Florence + The Machine performed ‘Jenny’s Song’ and the lyrics do have some significance.

Jenny had a doomed love affair with Prince Duncan Targaryen who abdicated his throne in order to marry her. Because of this, his nephew, the Mad King Aerys, eventually wound up on the throne.

In A Dance with Dragons, Barristan Selmy tells Daenerys: “The Prince of Dragonflies loved Jenny of Oldstones so much he cast aside a crown, and Westeros paid the price in corpses.”

Someone casting aside a throne for love, sound familiar?

21) We now know what the Night King wants.

We all heard the reason why he’s attacking Winterfell but there’s surely a bigger question that needs to be answered?

“That’s what death is isn’t it? Forgetting, being forgotten. If we forget where we have been and what we have done we are not men anymore…just animals” said Sam.

Ok, if the Night King wants to end the world and its collective memory then the big question is, why now?

He has had thousands of years to attack. Why do it now?

Here’s hoping that all will be revealed.