23 things you may have missed from the Game of Thrones finale
Game of Thrones fans, it's time to dig in
As always, if you haven't seen the most recent episode, consider this to be your spoiler alert warning.
Game of Thrones has now ended and as is the norm, the final episode had plenty of little nods and winks at past events.
Here are some of the details that you may have missed from the dramatic finale.
Ok, after the very first episode aired, who stuck £10 on Bran winning the game of thrones? Anyone?
Let's dig in.
"Why do you think I came all this way?”
A sentence that's probably going to inspire countless theories about Bran's ascension to the Iron Throne.
We know that the Three-Eyed Raven has warging abilities and that he has seen glimpses of the future - his visions included the glimpse of Drogon flying over King's Landing.
The big question is this, did Bran already see some of the events unfolding? If so - and it's a big if - did the Three-Eyed Raven let these events transpire as they did?
Later on in the episode when Jon is consumed by doubt and about to leave for Castle Black, Bran also tells him that "you were exactly where you were supposed to be."
If you're following that line of logic - and we don't wan't to go down a weird wormhole here - you could argue that the destruction of King's Landing, Jon Snow's exile, and countless other events could have been avoided.
Maybe Bran didn't want those things to play out any differently?
Similarly, in the fourth episode of Season 8, Tyrion told Bran that his ability to know the whole history of Westeros would come in handy for Bran as Lord of Winterfell. Their conversation is very interesting, especially in the context of what unfolded in the season finale.
Bran: I'm not Lord of Winterfell.
Tyrion: You're the only surviving trueborn son of Ned Stark. (Pause) You don't want it.
Bran: I don't really want anymore.
Granted, this could be a case of the writers moving Bran's motivations in a completely different direction, but it was noticeable.
This being said, one thing is certain, the wheel has been broken because the Lords and Ladies of Westeros will now choose their King. Any claims to the throne based on family lineage and birthright are gone.
"You will never walk again... But you will fly"
Ever since Bran met the previous version of the Three-Eyed Raven, fan theories went crazy that he'd be able to warg into one of Daenerys' dragons and be able to control them.
This hasn't happened during the show but we have seen a few scenes where Bran wargs into ravens and starts flying.
When the newly-appointed small council meet for the very first time, they notice that Drogon is missing.
"Perhaps I can find him” is what Bran says.
Does this mean that Bran will rule with a dragon under his command? Daenerys would be raging!
The broken wheel
When the Lords and Ladies of Westeros meet at the Dragonpit, Sansa is successful in negotiation independent status for The North,
It's worth noting that during a previous conversation, Yara Greyjoy asked Daenerys for the exact same thing but in the most recent episode, she's happy for the Iron Islands to remain within the Six Kingdoms.
At the Dragonpit meeting, Yara's attitude was also pretty hostile to those defending Jon too. Surely she'd like the Iron Islands to be independent?
In terms of Westerosi history, Dorne has usually been resistant to being ruled but their new prince was also quiet on the subject of Dornish independence.
Clip via GOT CLIPS
It's arguable that Daenerys' vision in the Houses of the Undying was the most significant one in the show.
After the destruction of King's Landing, the final part of her vision occurred as the Mother of Dragons got to touch the Iron Throne but never sit on it.
"I just died in your arms tonight...
If you're Jon Snow, there's a haunting symmetry between these two images below.
Ygritte was killed by Olly while Jon was doing his duty, defending the Night's Watch.
Daenerys was killed by Jon because he was doing his duty, defending the Seven Kingdoms.
"Love is the death of duty”
We've seen countless character die in Game of Thrones but the passing of Maester Aemon Targareyn was more powerful and moving than most.
Maester Aemon's watch may have ended but his legacy lives on through the wise words that he imparted on Jon Snow.
"A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing" - a foreshadowing of the madness that would poison Dany's psyche as she no longer had any close friends or allies to lean on.
"Love is the death of duty” - Jon Snow's noble heroism has save the Seven Kingdoms, but it comes at great personal loss.
He will always be the shield that guards the realms of men.
Ned Stark was right when he told him "you may not have my name, but you have my blood."
In the second episode of Season 6, Tyrion said that: "Dragons are intelligent, more intelligent than men according to some Maesters. They have affection for their friends and fury for their enemies."
A small line that proved to be deeply significant in the episode.
As we've previously seen, Jon Snow's Targareyn lineage made him more friendly to Dany's three dragons - Jon fought on top of Rhaegal during the Battle of Winterfell - and if you take what Tyrion said as the truth, it paints Drogon in a completely different light.
After Jon killed Dany, you could argue that Drogon made a conscious choice not to exact his revenge and burn Jon alive.
Perhaps Drogon understood that what Jon did was necessary and that the Iron Throne needed to be destroyed.
Power, lust and paranoia that consumed the Mother of Dragons, so instead of killing Jon, Drogon decided to destroy the symbol of what truly took his mother from him.
Aegon the Conqueror forged from Iron Throne from the 1,000 swords that had been surrendered to him during the War of Conquest. These swords were subsequently melted down by the fiery breath of Aegon's dragon, Balerion the Dread, and forged into the throne.
It's fitting then that the Iron Throne was destroyed by dragon fire.
He knows something
Two conversations in the episode proved to be pivotal when understanding why Jon Snow killed Daenerys.
When Tyrion was being held captive by The Unsullied, the Hand of the Queen defends his treasonous actions and implores Jon to see Daenerys for what she really is.
“Cersei left her no choice” said Jon in a desperate attempt to explain Dany's crimes but Tyrion instantly replies by asking Jon “would you have burned the city down? They don’t get to choose. But you do.”
Moments later, when Jon enters the Red Keep and talks with Daenerys in the throne room, he questions Dany on her vision for building a better world.
Jon: And all the other people that think they know what’s good?
Dany: They don’t get to choose.
Side note: This scene was extremely similar to two previous ones, Jon Snow's final words with Mance Rayder and Tyrion's chat with Oberyn Martell when The Red Viper decides to be the youngest Lannisters champion in the trial by combat.
Before Stannis sentenced him to die, Mance Rayder tells Jon that: "The freedom to make my own mistakes was all I ever wanted".
Dany chose fear over love.
In the final season of Game of Thrones, the issue of choice has proven to be pivotal.
The opening and closing shots of the show are exactly the same
The very first episode of Game of Thrones started at Castle Black before moving beyond The Wall as we followed the Rangers of the Night's Watch.
The season finale had the exact same imagery.
In fact, it even had the exact same shot when the gates of Castle Black were opened.
The King in the North
The very first scene in Season 8 showed Jon arriving to Winterfell, side-by-side with Daenerys, as they were flanked by horses.
The season finale offered an incredible shot that showed just how much the two characters have diverged.
Jon was on the battlefield, walking toards Dany as the Dothraki and Unsullied were flanking him. Daenerys was now high up, ruling from the top, and looking down on her subjects as she made her speech.
It's also noticeable that Arya's behaviour was the exact same.
Standing on the periphery, watching Jon from afar, and worrying for his safety.
Hand of the ashes
The image of Tyrion walking through the ashes is a common occurrence by now.
We saw him take a firsthand glimpse at the horror and carnage that unfolded during the Loot Train Attack and following the events of The Battle of Winterfell.
However, the destruction of King's Landing was even worse because as the Hand of the Queen noted, Cersei might be a monster but with one act of cruelty, Daenerys killed more people than his sister.
Here's an image of what Brienne wrote and the actual transcription. However, it should be noted that there are a few issues with her testimony.
Here's what Brienne wrote, word for word:
Ser Jaime Lannister.
Squired for Barriston Selmy against the Kingswood outlaws. Knighted and named to the kingsguard in his seventeenth year. For valour in the field: at the sack of King's Landing murdered his king Aerys the second at the foot of the Iron Throne: Pardoned by king Robert Baratheon.
Thereafter known as the Kingslayer: After the murder of King Joffery I by Tyrion Lannister served under King Tommen I.
Captured in the field at Whispering Wood: Set free by Lady Catlyn Stark in return for an oath to find and return her two daughters: Lost his [sword hand defending Brienne of Tarth, who also pledged her allegiance to Lady Stark] .
Took Riverun from the Tully rebels without loss of life.
Lured the unsullied into attacking Casterly Rock. Sacrificing his childhood home in service to a greater strategy. Outwitted the Targaryen forces to seize Highgarden. Fought at the Battle of the Goldroad bravely, narrowly escaping death by dragonfire.
Pledged himself to the forces of men and rode north to join them at Winterfell, alone. Faced the army of the dead, and defended the castle against impossible odds until the defeat of the Night King.
Escaped imprisonment and rode South in an attempt to save the capital from destruction.
Died protecting his Queen.
That all sounds good and proper, but it's worth noting that Riverrun wasn't taken without a loss of life. Ser Brynden Tully, better known as 'The Blackfish' was killed during the siege.
Refusing to surrender his family home to the Freys, The Blackfish was killed in a final stand when Jaime Lannister retook the castle with the unwilling help of Edmure.
A song of spring
After Jon and Tormund take the Wildlings north of The Wall, there's a tiny shot where we see a patch of grass growing up from underneath the ice.
Winter has ended.
There are a few throwbacks to earlier speeches that Daenerys made to both the Unsullied and the Dothraki.
Part of her speech includes a reference to "blood of my blood" - episode six in Season 6 has that exact same title.
During that episode, Dany gives the following speech: “Every Khal who ever lived chose three blood riders to fight beside him and guard his way. But I am not a Khal. I will not choose three blood riders. I choose you all. I will ask more of you than any Khal has ever asked of his Khalasar. Will you ride the wooden horses across the black salt sea? Will you kill my enemies in their iron suits and tear down their stone houses? Will you give me the Seven Kingdoms, the gift Khal Drogo promised me, before the Mother of Mountains? Are you with me, now and always?”
In the most recent episode, Daenerys thanks her forces for tearing down these stone houses and killing the men in their iron suits.
During this recent speech, Daenerys also says that she'll continue her military campaign of 'liberation' throughout the Seven Kingdoms from "Winterfell to Dorne, Lannisport to Qarth."
At the mention of Winterfell, the camera instantly cuts to the a close-up of Jon Snow. The director did the exact same thing with Tyrion when Lannisport was mentioned.
It's a small thing, but a significant one, because it shows that Dany's descent into madness was putting the homes and families of both men in serious jeopardy.
Varys' throwback line
When Maester Samwell Tarly - congrats on the new gig there, Sam - brings out the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' chronicle that he has been working on, it's telling that Tyrion's name does not feature in the saga.
In the aftermath of the Battle of the Blackwater, Varys tells Tyrion that: “There are many who know that without you, this city faced certain defeat. The king won't give you any honours, the histories won't mention you, but we will not forget”.
Varys was right about Daenerys' tyrannical nature and he was right about this.
A Song of Ice and Fire
In the second episode of Season 7, Archmaester Marwyn (Jim Broadbent) talks with Sam about the importance of documenting history in books so that the mistakes of the past might not be repeated.
He admits that a little "style" is necessary for making people engage with history though, which leads Sam to question the title of the book that the archmaester's is working on, A Chronicle of the Wars of Following the Death of King Robert I.
"MmM, possibly something a bit more poetic?" said Sam nervously.
Arya sneaking up on Jon again
Just like she did in the Winterfell Godswood when reuniting with Jon and killing the Night King, Arya proved again that she's the master of stealth by surprising Jon while he was headed up to the Throne room to talk with Dany.
Similarly, when they said goodbye to each other, it was extremely similar to the moment when Jon was heading to join the Night's Watch in Season 1.
We've heard it for years but we're never going to get that punchline.
“I once brought a jackass and a honeycomb into a brothel…”
Feel free to leave the punchline in the comments below.
The Unsullied and Jon
Prior to the Battle of Winterfell, Grey Worm and Missandei have a chat about their future.
Grey Worm pledges to keep fighting for Daenerys and help her win the war, but that once the war is over, he feels there will be no place for them in The North. He asks Missandei what else she would like to do or where else she would like to see. Missandei replies she would like to return to her home of Naath and see the beaches. Grey Worm promises to take her back there, and says that he will make sure to protect her and her people.
At the end of the saga, he's keeping the promise that he made to her.
Similarly, we're assuming that Jon rejoining the Night's Watch was just a ruse to get Grey Worm to let him live.
It's likely that everyone in attendance at the Dragonpit knew that Jon was just going to join the Wildlings and go north of the wall to be free.
In the opening credits, you can see the destruction of King's Landing following Dany's attack.
Notice the crack in the floor of the map room.
A Tyrion throwback
The new small council still needs a Master of Whispers, A Master of Laws, and A Master of War. They better get busy.
However, we know the people that Bran has trusted to be his advisors.
Master of Coin - Bronn, Ser Davos - Master of Ships, Grand Maester - Sam, and Tyrion is the Hand of the King.
During their chat, Tyrion mentions the work that he used to do in the sewers of Casterly Rock.
Book readers will know that Tywin Lannister always gave Tyrion this remedial job as a means to keep him down. Oddly, it's one of the things about Casterly Rock that that Tyrion is the proudest of!
"The world would always need a home for bastards and broken men”
Jon's final words with Tyrion harked back to a moment in Season 1 when their friendship solidified.
Map room crack
It could be a coincidence but this is very cool.