11 Game of Thrones Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

Game of Thrones is famous for dropping clues of things to come—and subtle nods to George R.R. Martin’s books—in casual bits of dialogue or unassuming props. As fans prepare to say goodbye to the beloved HBO series, we've rounded up 11 Easter eggs you might have missed the first time around, from the debut season all the way up to "Winterfell," the first episode in season 8. Be sure to watch and listen carefully for future references as the final episodes unfold.

1. Ser Davos Seaworth said Jon Snow’s real name in season 3.

Liam Cunningham in 'Game of Thrones'
Helen Sloan, HBO

In season 7, the popular R+L=J theory was finally confirmed. Jon Snow is not the bastard son of Ned Stark, as nearly everyone in Westeros believes, but the legitimate son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen—and the heir to the Iron Throne. Ergo, his real name is Aegon Targaryen. So far, only a handful of characters on the show have figured it all out, but technically, Davos Seaworth called this a long time ago. When Princess Shireen Baratheon taught Davos to read in season 3, the first word Davos learned was Aegon, foreshadowing Jon Snow’s true lineage.

2. Sansa Starks’s wedding gown contained an embroidered story.

On Game of Thrones, even the clothes have hidden messages. According to the show’s costume designer Michele Clapton, the dress Sansa Stark wore when she married Tyrion Lannister was stitched with her life story. The golden gown featured a fish embroidered around the belly to honor her mother’s house sigil, as well as a Stark direwolf and a Lannister lion on the back.

3. Walder Frey’s death was outlined earlier in the show.

Arya Stark claimed long-awaited vengeance for her family in the season 6 finale, when she finally killed Walder Frey. Before she slit his throat, however, she served him a pie stuffed with the remains of his sons—Black Walder and Lothar. It’s a shocking and gruesome scheme, but it’s also one we’ve heard before. In season 3, Bran told Hodor and his companions the legend of the Rat King: According to this folklore, a cook in the Night’s Watch once killed the son of a visiting king. He chopped the body up and cooked it into a pie that he then served to the king, who loved it so much he asked for seconds. The gods punished the chef by turning him into a large rat who could only survive by eating his own children. As Bran explained, the gods were not offended by the murder or even the cannibalism—they couldn’t abide a man “kill[ing] a guest beneath his roof,” which is exactly what Walder Frey did to Catelyn, Robb, and Talisa Stark.

4. The furniture at King’s Landing reveals regime changes.

Squint hard at the wooden furniture in the Red Keep and you’ll notice a lot of dragons. The Game of Thrones production team intentionally included these pieces—which are most prominent in Tommen Lannister’s bedroom and the Small Council’s meeting room—to remind viewers of past power struggles at King’s Landing. The dragon furniture implies that the Baratheons and Lannisters kept the Targaryens' furnishings after they staged a coup, perhaps while they waited on some new bedframes with roaring lions.

5. Olenna Tyrell referenced family history in Dorne.

When Olenna Tyrell called a secret meeting with Ellaria Sand in Dorne, she admitted to being uneasy in the kingdom—and with good reason. "The last time a Tyrell came to Dorne, he was assassinated,” Lady Olenna told Ellaria. “A hundred red scorpions, was it?” This is a nod to Martin's novels, which detail the death of Lyonel Tyrell. The story goes that Lyonel liked to storm Dornish castles, then kick the lords out of their own bedrooms. One night, he wound up in a bed with a velvet canopy and matching sash, intended to summon women to his room. Except when he tugged the sash to do just that, 100 red scorpions fell from the canopy, killing Lyonel and freeing the Dornish from his tyranny.

6. The magic of Harry Potter is alive in Westeros.

Fandoms collided in season 7 when Samwell Tarly asked Archmaester Ebrose for help accessing “the restricted area of the library.” The phrase was a familiar one for Harry Potter fanatics; in the book series and subsequent movies, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has a restricted section of the library containing books on dark magic. Sam’s request felt like a wink to Harry Potter fans, especially since Archmaester Ebrose was played by Jim Broadbent, who played Horace Slughorn in the movies. But that’s not the only connection: Natalia Tena, who plays Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter universe, also appears in Game of Thrones as the wildling woman Osha. In her early scenes, she is seen making brooms.

7. The Meereenese love Monty Python.

The warriors on Game of Thrones aren’t above trash talking. According to David Peterson, the show's language creator, the Meereense fighter who challenged Daario Naharis in season 4 shouted some very silly insults in Low Valyrian. His words translated to the French guard’s speech from Monty Python and Holy Grail—the one that goes, “Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!”

8. The Iron Throne includes swords from other fantasy franchises.

The swords that form the Iron Throne further link Westeros to other fictional universes. If you look closely, you’ll spy Gandalf’s sword from The Lord of the Rings movies molded into the back of the throne, as well as the weapon Orlando Bloom wields in Kingdom of Heaven.

9. Ed Sheeran’s fate was revealed in a sex scene.

Ed Sheeran and Maisie Williams in 'Game of Thrones'
Helen Sloan, HBO

Fans were furious when pop star Ed Sheeran appeared in the season 7 premiere as a Lannister soldier Arya Stark encounters in the woods. The response was so negative that Sheeran later joked, “It was fun being in Game of Thrones, but I definitely think they should've killed me off in the episode.” Well, he almost got his wish. In the season 8 premiere, Bronn visits a brothel and hires three women who can’t stop talking about the Lannister men who perished in battle. They specifically reference a “ginger” named “Eddie” who “came back with his face burned off” and no eyelids. Ouch.

10. Euron Greyjoy’s fleet hides some famous faces.

Speaking of cameos: season 8 has already given us two more. When Theon Greyjoy storms his uncle Euron’s ship to free his sister Yara, his men take out the crew with arrows to the face—and, for one especially unfortunate sailor, the eye. That unfortunate sailor was none other than Rob McElhenney, co-creator and star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Also aboard the ship? Martin Starr of Silicon Valley fame.

11. The show's co-creators are in the Hall of Faces.

Maisie Williams and Tom Wlaschiha 'Game of Thrones'
Helen Sloan, HBO

In a move straight out of Alfred Hitchcock’s playbook, Game of Thrones co-creators David Benioff and David Weiss have cameoed on their own show—or at least, their faces have. The two men’s visages appeared in the Hall of Faces that Arya frequents with Jaqen H’ghar. See if you can spot them on your next rewatch.

Isaac Hempstead Wright Explains Bran Stark's Intense Staring in Game of Thrones

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

There's always been something off with Brandon Stark's empty stare that we see so often in Game of Thrones. This week, actor Isaac Hempstead Wright explained exactly how he pulls it off.

The 20-year-old went on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and shared a few of his experiences from working on the show, including accidentally dropping a spoiler in his math class and the interesting sex ed talk he was forced to have with his mom given his tender age when he began filming the show.

He also talked about his "intense stare"—and his preparation for the role may not be as deep as you think.

"I'm kind of getting good at this sort of intense stare," the star began. "But it's actually aided by the fact that I'm completely blind when I'm on set. I don't have my glasses, and I don't have contact lenses."

"How thick are the glasses?" Kimmel asks him, to which Hempstead Wright replies, "They're not that thick, but I need them to see."

He recalled another time when his vision problems aided his character. In season 7, while filming a scene with Sophie Turner (a.k.a. Sansa Stark), he recalled Turner making a comment along the lines of "Isaac, your stare is like—you're staring into my soul!" to which the actor replied "I can't see you!"

Actors—they're just like us.

Richard Madden Shared a Hilarious Throwback Photo With Game of Thrones Co-Stars Kit Harington and Alfie Allen

Charley Gallay, Getty Images for Netflix
Charley Gallay, Getty Images for Netflix

Richard Madden may not have held the title of King in the North for long on Game of Thrones, but his memories of his time on the series—and the lasting friendships he forged—live on. Madden, who played Robb Stark, was famously killed off in season 3’s penultimate episode, “The Rains of Castamere” (a.k.a. The Red Wedding episode). But he has continued to champion the series, and his former colleagues, in the years since his premature demise. People spotted his latest tribute to his Game of Thrones days: a #TBT Instagram post that serves as a stark (no pun intended) reminder of just how long we’ve all been watching the epic HBO series.

The image features Madden with co-stars Kit Harington and Alfie Allen—each of whom is almost recognizable—after taking a ride on the Wheel of Belfast following their first read-through of Game of Thrones’s pilot episode. Which means that Madden’s caption that the photo is about 10 years old is pretty spot-on; the original pilot episode filmed in Northern Ireland in 2009, which would make all three of the actors about 22 years old at the time.

The show's actors have remained tight even after Madden’s brutal on-screen murder. In June 2018, Madden was a guest at Harington and fellow Game of Thrones co-star Rose Leslie’s wedding. Just a few months later, the 32-year-old actor—who won a Golden Globe earlier this year for his Netflix series The Bodyguard—was there to support his on-screen little sister Maisie Williams when she made her stage debut in I and You at London’s Hampstead Theatre. Which means that Madden might know more than any of us do in terms of how Game of Thrones will end, and could have been on to something when he predicted that ultimately, "[I]t’s just going to be three dragons flying around and everyone else is dead.” Hey, it could happen!

[h/t People]

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