Game of Thrones is one of the most popular and acclaimed shows of all time, and with good reason. The show is brilliantly acted, and always seems to leave people guessing about what is going to happen next. But if you love watching the show the first time around, just wait until you go back and watch the seasons all over again. You’ll find that the show becomes even more engaging when you re-watch the series. What was once a small throw-away line, may turn out to have a lot more meaning when given the benefit of context.
Don’t have time to go back and re-watch it all? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Below are 20 of the coolest easter egg-style moments to come from the series so far. We’ve got moments of foreshadowing that you may have forgotten about, fun cameos you didn’t know about and little bits of trivia about the show that help make it even more engaging. You’ll even come across some differences from the books that got referenced on the show (many of which went over your head).
Do you know the role that the New York Giants and The Grateful Dead have in your beloved franchise? How about Gandalf? And can we just take a minute to think about the whole R + L theory surrounding Jon Snow?!
There’s no shortage of reasons as to why we love the show, but by the end of this list, you’ll be left amazed at just how clever it really is. You’ll also learn why you should never skip or ignore the introduction theme! Have another Game of Thrones fan on your social media feed? Be sure to share the list and show them all the amazing things they may not know about the series.
20. George Bush’s Head
When you need to come up with a bunch of heads to stick on pikes and have limited time and budget, you’re going to use whatever it is you have on hand. For Game of Thrones, that included a prosthetic head of George Bush. While the show came out and said it was not a political statement, people representing the former president were less happy.
Upon receiving backlash, HBO stated “We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste. We made this clear to the executive producers of the series who apologized immediately for this inadvertent, careless mistake.”
At least they took the steps to fix the problem, but with a show that is as scrutinized as Game of Thrones, how did they think they could do something like that and not have it be caught?
19. Ned’s Death
While some of these things are fun easter eggs, there is also a great deal of foreshadowing that goes on in Game of Thrones that re-watching can really add value to. One of the biggest examples occurs in the first episode of the series in which a direwolf is found having been killed by a stag. A sad scene, but one that takes on a different meaning when you realize that the House Stark’s sigil is a direwolf, and the sigil of the House Baratheon is a Stag.
As viewers of the show know, the end of the first season concludes with Joffrey Baratheon taking out Ned. Perhaps we all should have seen it coming!
18. Telling The Future With Social Media
No matter how big a fan of the show you are, the image of Oberyn getting his eyes popped out of his head is not one that is easy to forget. One thing that might be even more shocking than the iconic scene is the fact that Lena Headey posted the above photo to Instagram 2 months prior to the scene being shot. Clearly the cast knows what’s going to happen, but it’s rare to see a cast member leave such a sneak-peak of a future moment in the series.
17. Ramsay Snow’s Identity Being Revealed
Do you hate Ramsay? Good, I’m pretty sure that just makes you a human being, because holy smokes is that dude deplorable. For most of season 3 we watch Ramsay torture Theon, but we spend most of the season wondering who it was that was inflicting all this punishment. When Ramsay first appears in the series, it is in a dramatic fashion as he takes out several men who are following Theon. However, right before one of the men dies, he looks at Ramsay and calls him a “little bastard.”
While this line may not have resonated with most viewers, it was the first indication as to the fact that Ramsay was indeed a bastard son.
16. The Death Of Joffrey
Now let’s be honest, there was no doubt that Joffrey was not going to be able to make it through the end of the series. Especially when in season 3, Melisandra performed a ritual that called out for the death of Joffrey (and Robb and Balon). The leeches all burn in the fire, but the foreshadowing that comes next may have been missed on a lot of viewers. The very next scene shows Joffrey sitting at a feast and drinking some wine, which as you know, is also a very similar setting to the day that he finally met his end.
15. Littlefinger Knows All
There is no doubt that of all the characters we’ve met in Game of Thrones, Littlefinger has to be among the most intelligent. But did you also know about his unbelievable foreshadowing ability? In a scene with Robin Arryn, Littlefinger talks to him about how death is absolutely everywhere, “People die at their dinner tables, people die in their beds, they die squatting over their chamber pots.”
The speech foreshadowed the death of Joffrey, Shae, and Tywin. Call me crazy, but squatting over a toilet is probably one of the least badass ways to go.
14. The Initial Warg Connection
Fans that are up to date with the series know all about Bran and the fact that he is a Warg (has a connection with animals). Yet did you know the significance of the several visions of Bran running around in the form of a wolf from season 1? While initial viewers may have pushed these scenes off as dreams, it’s clear the writers had a deeper intent for them. One of the other more prominent examples of Bran’s connection comes when Ned is forced to kill Sansa’s direwolf. Right after the direwolf dies, the show cuts to Bran waking up. Call it a stretch if you wish, but there are definitely people out there that think this was an early way to indicate to viewers that there was something special about Bran.
13. Jamie Would Hate Being Crippled
In the 2nd episode of the series, we come across Jamie talking to Tyrion about the state of Bran. Jamie looks at Tyrion and states “Even if the boy lives, he’d be a cripple. Grotesque. Give me a good, clean death any day.” I cannot imagine that Jamie thought that within 2 seasons’ time, he’d be walking around without a hand! Being able to catch lines like this that were clearly written to foreshadow future events are why re-watching series can be so enjoyable. Good thing Jamie was able to make the most of his bad situation, at least eventually!
12. The Grateful Dead’s Role
When it comes to trying to create a universe as diverse as Game of Thrones, you’re going to try and draw inspiration from anywhere you can. For writer George R.R. Martin, it was one of his favorite bands, The Grateful Dead, that helped him during a lull period. He talked in an interview about how “I’m certainly a fan of the Grateful Dead. My wife Paris is perhaps more of a fan of the Grateful Dead than I am…I have Grateful Dead lyrics rattling around in my head all the time. ‘Ripple’ is one of my favorite songs of all time… ‘There is a road, no simple highway.’ The Weirwood trees are even named for Bob Weir, the band’s co-founder and guitarist.”
Talk about a cool thing for Bob to get to tell people at parties!
11. R + L = ???
When you make one of the primary characters a bastard, you’re only asking for fans to try and theorize on who his real parents are. One of the most prominent fan theories is that Snow is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned’s sister, Lyanna. While this would be an incredibly cool revelation, clearly it is a theory that is also known around the set. As you can see in the above photo, there is a scene in season one in which Jon can be seen standing beside R + L carved into a post. While this is something we probably won’t get to the bottom of for quite some time, definitely keep your eye on Snow and the role his birth parents may play as the series continues to develop.
As you learned above with the Grateful Dead, there was no shortage of inspiration from George’s current life when naming characters or things in his universe. One thing that George also loves is the New York Giants. This becomes evident when reading his book A Dance with Dragons, where he writes “the fourth and final volume of The Life of the Triarch Belicho, a famous Volantene patriot whose unbroken succession of conquests and triumphs ended rather abruptly when he was eaten by giants,” which fans inferred to be referring to how the New York Giants had the huge upset over the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl.
George also named the giant Wun Wun, which he says was a reference to Phil Simms, a former Giants quarterback who wore the number 11 (or…1-1).
9. The Golden Hand
It wasn’t enough that Jamie had a moment in which he openly talked about how much he would hate life if he was crippled. He also had a moment in season 3 in which a character, Locke, looks at Jamie and tells him to “go buy yourself a golden hand and **** yourself with it.” While this was initially just a funny line, it was clearly meant to be a direct reference to how Jamie was going to receive a golden prosthetic hand to replace the one that got cut off…The second part of that sentence would probably not be shown on camera.
8. Didn’t You Lose A Nose?
Fans of the book are already aware that Tyrion’s battle of Blackwater Bay goes a lot more poorly for that character than it did for Peter Dinklage. In the book, Tyrion literally loses his nose, but in the show, Dinklage opened up about how “It would have cost a lot of money, because they’d have to put a little green sock on my nose…every scene I was in, they’d have to [digitally paint] over my face in every frame and that’s costly and time-consuming.” As a result, the creators decided to give him a scar instead. That didn’t stop the writers from having a fun tongue-in-cheek moment when Cersei goes up to Tyrion after the battle and tells him that she heard rumors that he had lost his nose in battle.
7. Hall Of Faces
If you watched any of the promos for season 6, you were well aware of how iconic the “Hall of Faces” is. Known as being the place where faceless men can alter their identity prior to an assassination, the hall has thousands of identities on the wall. Two of them just happen to be David Benioff and Dan Weiss, who are the co-creators of the show. Talk about a super cool (albeit creepy) prop to take home from the show.
As well as this, the first face that Arya interacts with is the mother of Barry Gower, who is the prosthetics supervisor on the show. I suppose when you are in charge of creating the show and the scene, nobody is going to step in and tell you to take your faces off the wall!
6. A Witch In Westeros?
There are a variety of actresses who had the chance to appear in both Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter. One of the coolest links is Natalie Tena who plays Nymphadora Tonks in Harry Potter, and the wilding Osha. One of the coolest (albeit smaller) references to her Witch-like days, comes in season one in which Osha is seen making brooms with straw. As well as this, there is the shot where a very witch-like broom is featured prominently. Let’s just hope that doesn’t mean Voldemort is going to be making an appearance anytime soon.
5. We Are The Knights That Say…Go Daenerys!
Did you know that Daario is very good looking? On top of that, he’s clearly a capable fighter, as he showed when he defended Daenerys from a Meereenese champion and chopped his head off. Prior to beheading him, Daario shouts a few insults in what appears to be the fictional language of Old Ghiscari. What you didn’t know (but now do!) is that Daario was shouting “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries,” which is, of course, a reference to the great Monty Python’s French Knight. You may also find it interesting to note that in the first episode of the series, the creators used the same exterior shots as the Castle Anthrax from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
4. Musician Cameos
When it comes to making a guest appearance on Game of Thrones, you can imagine there is no shortage of actors that would love the opportunity. Yet as far as cameos are concerned, it is musicians that seem to be among the favorites. For Joffrey’s purple wedding, the band Sigur Ros was brought into perform (…and get pelted by coins).
Will Champion, the drummer from Coldplay, also got the chance to make an appearance and helped perform The Rains of Castamere during the infamous Red Wedding.
Last but not least, the heavy metal band Mastodon appear as Wildings in the episode “Hardhome.”
3. Gandalf On The Throne
There is no doubt that out of all the cool chairs to sit on, the Iron Throne might be the coolest one out there. It’s about to get even cooler when you realize that Gandalf (you know, from The Lord of the Rings) has his sword, Glamdring, embedded into the throne. Fans of the show took full advantage of their fancy TVs and also found Robin of Locksley’s blade, as well as a sword that appeared in the film Kingdom of Heaven. Call me crazy, but if Gandalf wanted to take the Iron Throne, I don’t think there are many people out there that would step in to stop him!
2. Tyrion’s Destiny
There is no doubt that everybody on the show is going to be able to transition their popularity to other projects. For example, Peter Dinklage was given the opportunity to work on the video game Destiny in which he plays the character Ghost. In the show, there is a moment where Tyrion is taken towards Meereen and is stuck in a carriage. This scene becomes all the cooler when you realize that the window is shaped to resemble his video game character. A small easter egg, but a cool one nevertheless.
1. The Intro
Do you like to skip through the opening credits of your favorite television shows? I guarantee that if you used to skip the intros of Game of Thrones, you aren’t going to be doing that anymore! Fans made the connection that during the intro, the show will showcase where the bulk of the action is going to be taking place in the episode. For a show that is continuing to get bigger and more intense, having a little reminder in the intro as to what part of the world we’re going to first is a welcomed and much-needed guide.