Over the years, fans have come to realize that Game of Thrones is one of the most detailed and intricately designed television shows on the air. With secrets built into almost every scene, fans scour each episode trying to piece together everything and uncover future revelations before they play themselves out on screen. In the early seasons, fans had the books as their companions and many of the huge reveals were already know and expected by many. That being said, the show has done well to keep itself separate and refreshing on its own. Now that the shows have passed the books in almost every area, we’re all in the dark together. With each new scene, some theorists try to make sense of potential hints, using them to solve future mysteries, while others are always looking back trying to find what may have been missed. This list has a little bit of both.
Every time we get a new piece of information, we can go back and apply it, trying to make sense of all the breadcrumbs that have been laid about. It’s often only in hindsight that we’re able to spot details we never noticed at first, as things signify differently as time goes on. This list is filled with bits of incredible details, little moments that we never thought twice about until a revelation forced us to look back. Some details we anticipate will be meaningful but never be. It’s things like this that make Game of Thrones such a phenomenal show. After multiple viewings, fans are still seeing fresh details and it’s that kind of staying power that will allow Game of Thrones to go down as one of the best television shows ever made. Here are 16 Incredibly Important Moments We All Missed in Game of Thrones.
16. Azor Ahai Reference
For quite a while now, fans have been speculating about who Azor Ahai will be. At some point, basically every character in the show has been said to be the prophesied savior of the Lord of Light, but not everyone fits the mold so tidily. It’s clear that both the books and the shows want to set up a few possible options, otherwise it would be too easy to predict who the real one is. Few fit the description as well as Jon Snow though, and none have a better single scene connected to the prophesy than Jon’s birth. In season six, the long speculation of Jon’s parentage was finally put to rest. We learned that his mother was Lyanna Stark and, though not completely confirmed, we now know Rhaegar Targaryen is his father. In this scene, we were shown a specific camera angle that highlighted, leaning against the bed, the blood-covered sword of Dawn, a sword forged from a fallen star (note also the sun on the hilt, which is also a star). This seems to fulfill the Azor Ahai prophesy, that the “prince who was promised” will be “born under a bleeding star.” Also, pay attention to Lyanna’s words: “promise me, Ned. Promise me.” This means that Jon is the prince who was promised.
15. How Varys Got to Meereen so Fast
More of an explanation to a continuity error hole than a hidden secret, but Varys’ arrival on Daenerys’ boat in the final scene of season six might not be such a crazy time jump after all. While many have just accepted that more time passed between scenes than many think, the reason Varys was able to travel between Highgarden, after his meeting with Olenna Tyrell, to Meereen, where Daenerys and her ships left from, is probably because the scene in which we see Dany and her army at sea isn’t near Meereen; it’s near Dorne. Many fans have pointed out that not all the ships are sailing under the Kraken (Pyke’s flag). Some carry the flags of the Martells from Dorne and others have the flag of the Tyrells of Highgarden. We can assume that these two fleets gathered in Dorne and met with Daenerys’ fleet there on their way further in to Westeros.
14. Arya’s Speech
Way back in season two, Arya is serving Tywin Lannister while hiding her true identity from him. At one point, she calls his “My Lord,” to which Tywin corrects her, “Lowborn girls say M’lord, not my Lord. If you’re going to pose as a commoner, you should do it properly.” Here, Tywin shows that he knows Arya isn’t who she says she is, though he doesn’t exactly know (or care) what her true identity is, just that she’s not a lowborn girl. Later, in season six, when Arya wears a faceless man’s mask and poses as Walder Frey’s serving girl, she says “my lord” several times very purposefully before she cuts his throat. As we know, Arya has once again claimed her birth name. Here she proudly says “my lord” showing that has become the noble girl she was born to be once more.
13. Carving on the Post
By now everyone has likely heard of the R + L = J theory. If you haven’t, it was the title used for the early theory that predicted who Jon’s parents were going to be. This well thought out theory saw that Rhaegar and Lyanna were going to be revealed as his parents long before it was all but confirmed in season six. Well, in keeping with the theory, fans noticed something on a post back in season one. In the scene, Jon and Samwell Tarly are discussing how Jon never knew his mother. There, behind him, is a wooden pole with some letters carved into it, an “R” and an “L” and even a sideways “J” might be possible. It seems that the show was trying to give us the parent’s initials from the very start.
12. Robert Baratheon’s Curse
There’s potential for the theory of Robert Baratheon’s Curse to be a real thing, as long as no more Starks die. As of the end of season six, this neat little observation makes it seem like every Stark that Robert touched on his visit to Winterfell was cursed to die a tragic death. When Robert first arrives, he is greeted by the Starks and the interactions that follow may be important. He first hugs Ned and then Cat, both of these parents, as we know, die. Then he quickly rubs the head of Rickon and shakes Robb’s hand. Again, both of these children die. Robert does not touch any of the other three, and they all live, but his words could even be important. He calls Sansa pretty, asks Arya’s name and says Bran will be a soldier. We see the irony in both the comments to Bran and Arya, but the comments about Sansa’s looks might still be in play. If she does become the show’s version of Lady Stoneheart, it’s possible that her good looks are also a thing of the past in the end. It may also just highlight how her looks have caused her great trouble with men and women.
11. Jon the Turncloak
While you might just pass this neat little moment off as clever wordplay and symbolism and nothing more, it does, in a way, signal Jon’s entire presence with the Night’s Watch. Most fans felt that John’s time at the Wall was not a forever kind of thing. It was important that he allowed us to see the happenings at the Wall and beyond it, but we knew there was going to be a time when he joined the major events south of the Wall. When Jon first goes out to meet with the Wildlings, Mance Rayder tells him to take off his Night’s Watch cloak. In return, Rayder gives him a cloak made of sheep’s wool. Later, the men of the Night’s Watch call him turncloak for wearing it. The interesting bit here is that Jon is always questioning whether he’s a Stark of a Night’s Watchman, a Wolf or a Crow. In this sense, Jon is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
10. Surrounded Starks
When Robb Stark and his council sit around that awesome world map with those even more awesome map markers, it looks like a solid war plan is laid out. We have the Lannister lions and Tyrell roses on the one side and then the Stark wolves, the Bolton flayed men and Frey towers on the other side. However, in hindsight, the pieces on the board show something much more sinister. By knowing how the alliances work out later on, more specifically how the Freys and Boltons ally with the Lannisters, the board seems to foreshadow that the Starks are surrounded, caught in the middle of a dangerous alliance.
9. Jon Hears Ghost
The books and the show deviate in many different ways, so the fact that Ghost makes noise in the show isn’t all too crazy. In the books, Ghost, Jon’s direwolf, is different from the others because he’s an albino, but he is also silent. In the show, we see and hear Ghost snarl and howl when he gets older, but there’s still something interesting about how Jon found Ghost in the first place. In both the books and the show, Jon helps the Stark children collect their direwolf pups. As they’re walking away, Jon stops. He hears something that the others cannot. In the books, Jon asks, “Can’t you hear it?” In the show, Jon is seemingly drawn away from the path and Robb asks him what he’s doing. We can here the sound of pups making noise, but, considering that no one else hears Ghost, it’s likely that the sounds we hear are from the five verbal pups. Jon is listening to something else, like he has a telepathic link with Ghost. This is just another cool little detail pointing out the Stark’s intimate connection with their animals.
8. Margaery and the Sparrows
In a great little moment of foreshadowing with double meaning back in season four, Margaery Tyrell and her grandmother, Olenna, are discussing necklaces. Olenna sends her girls out to bring back some necklaces for Margaery to choose from for the wedding. Margaery then says, “Perhaps I should let Joffrey choose, end up with a string of sparrow heads around my neck.” At first, this points out how gross and twisted Joffrey is, but it also seems to hint that Margaery will be wearing Sparrow heads around her neck like trophies, something that would suggest she is the victor in her battle against the High Sparrow. However, as we now know from season six, Margaery doesn’t get a chance to win that battle because Cersei kills all of them before she has a chance. This means that the necklace of Sparrows wasn’t a trophy collection like we first thought but closer to a reference to a necklace with an albatross on it, a punishment for her going against Cersei.
7. Syrio and the Waif
Ever since we last saw him in season one, fans have insisted that Syrio has a part to play yet. The golden rule in Game of Thrones is, if we didn’t see them die, it never happened. Well, we never saw Syrio, Arya’s fighting/dancing teacher, die. The last we saw of the Braavossi was him telling Arya to run while he delayed the Kings Landing guards. Later, when we met another Braavosi, the mysterious Jaqen H’Qar, many fans assumed the two were connected in some way. They talk the same; they’re from the same place; they’re both fighters, etc. etc. People have been trying to find hard evidence to connect them and, in season six, we might have finally found some. When the Waif begins to attack the blind Arya, she uses a very similar fighting strategy to what Syrio used. It makes it seem like they were trained by the same person. Maybe this is evidence we need to conclude that Syrio was indeed a faceless man.
6. Trystane Martell Becomes His Sigil
Trystane Martell wasn’t in the show long, but he was an important figure while he lasted. Son of Prince Doran Martell and betrothed to Myrcella Baratheon, Cercei’s daughter, Trystane was set to become part of the high council in King’s Landing. While on their way, however, Myrcella is poisoned by the Sand Snakes and killed. Trystane is then told by Jaime to stay hidden for his protection. While in the ship waiting, the Sand Snakes enter his room. As he prepares to fight one of the sisters, Nymeria, Obara stabs him through the face from behind with her spear. In gruesomely poetic fashion, Trystane, the son with a spear through his face, became the physical embodiment of the Martell Sigil.
5. Arya Walking Like a Rich Girl
In the beginning of season six, Tyrion and Varys walk through the streets of Meereen together. Varys states that Tyrion walks “like a rich person.” To our eyes, the only difference between the way Tyrion walks and the others is that he is straight backed and walks with his hands clasped behind his back. Later in the same season, we see Arya booking passage back to Westeros. Obviously, we now know she wants to go “home,” but symbolically we also see how she has reclaimed her noble status by walking just as Tyrion was, back straight and hands behind her back, “like a rich person.”
4. Squire Poisoning the Blade
Oberyn Martell’s fighting style is well-known in the books. In the show, it is mentioned, but it’s not as prevalent. This is a man with an incredible talent for fighting, but he is also known for treating his weapons with poison. We know the outcome of the battle with the Mountain, but during the fight, the Mountain tires quite noticeably. Was this only due to him expiring all his energy or were those flesh wounds that Oberyn was inflicting doing more damage than they appeared? If you notice before the fight, when the announcements were being made, the camera trains in on Oberyn’s squire cleaning his spears. This seems like an odd shot if it didn’t have any significance to it. It would make sense if what we were seeing was the squire applying poison to the blade.
3. The Hound’s White Cloak
In season two, the always-lovely Joffrey orders his men to beat and humiliate Sansa. As Meryn Trant hits her and rips her clothes, as per Joffrey’s commands, Tyrion walks in and stops the grotesque display of power. In the books, the Hound has more of a role in stopping the shenanigans, but that’s no matter. When Tyrion asks someone to cover her up, the Hound approaches and rips off his white Kingsguard cloak and wraps her in it. This is interesting because it’s the last time we ever see the Hound in that cloak. Not long after, he leaves Joffrey’s side because of his antics. We can look back at this scene as the symbolic moment when the Hound actually resigned from the Kingsguard.
2. Rickon and his Arrows
This is a sad little symbolic connection and one that is likely more coincidental than meaningful, though it does work and we like it. In the very first scene ever shown of the Stark family, we see Bran shooting arrows at a target, while his brothers look on. After Bran misses, Rickon laughs at him. Later, after Bran chases Arya away for showing off her skill with a bow, Rickon is shown running to the target and collecting arrows. After bringing them to Jon, Rickon runs back to the target. This can be interpreted as a symbolic foreshadowing of Rickon’s death, running with arrows to Jon, or running from the bowman to the target. Either way, intentional or not, this is a pretty dark association.
1. The Horn of Winter
In the books, the Horn of Joramun or the Horn of Winter has a much larger role, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t in the show. We first hear of how there’s a horn that can bring down the wall. We are led to believe that the Wildlings were searching for it and found it, but Melisandre burns it when the Wildlings are defeated by the Night’s Watch. We then learn that the Wildlings never did find the horn. The only other horn we’ve ever heard about was the one that Ghost, Sam and Jon found at the Fist, North of the Wall. Jon notes that it’s broken and gives it to Sam. Since everyone is more interested in the Dragonglass found in the package, everyone forgets about the horn. In the show, the men find this same package. In it, they find Dragonglass but look at what else is there, a horn. Though it’s not mentioned, we expect Sam to read about this horn in Oldtown and maybe even repair it. It’ll come into play somehow.