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13 Game of Thrones Easter Eggs You Probably Missed

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HBO

George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire book series and the HBO TV adaptation Game of Thrones are known for their passionate fan bases—but there are so many subtle references, in-jokes, and moments of foreshadowing hidden throughout both that even the most obsessive fans can't possibly catch 'em all. 

1. A Diminished Iron Throne

The Iron Throne has become one of the series' most recognizable images, but the Iron Throne used in the show is much smaller than the one George R.R. Martin envisioned. The show makes a sly reference to this when Varys says that it's "[a] thousand blades, taken from the hands of Aegon's fallen enemies. Forged in the fiery breath of Balerion the Dread," to which Littlefinger replies, "There aren't a thousand blades. There aren't even two hundred. I've counted."

2. Famous Swords

Speaking of the Iron Throne, several redditors have spotted some famous swords welded into the chair—including Orlando Bloom’s sword from the film Kingdom of Heaven and Gandalf’s sword, Glamdring, from The Lord of the Rings series.

3. The 43rd U.S. President

The show is notorious for repurposing props, and in a blink-and-you-miss-it moment from season one, episode 10, you can see George W. Bush’s head on a pike in King’s Landing. Show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss explained this in their DVD commentary: "George Bush's head appears in a couple of beheading scenes. It's not a choice, it's not a political statement. We just had to use whatever head we had around." Despite their insistence that they didn't mean anything by it, HBO wasn't pleased, saying in a statement, "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. We are sorry this happened and will have it removed from any future DVD production."

4. Tyrion's Nose

After the Battle of Blackwater Bay, Cersei tells Tyrion that she has heard rumors that his nose had been cut off. In the books, Tyrion actually does lose his nose in the battle, but this was changed because of shooting restrictions. “It would cost a lot of money, because they’d have to put a little green sock on my nose,” Dinklage told Entertainment Weekly. “Every scene I was in they’d have to [digitally paint] over my face in every frame and that’s costly and time consuming. I think a scar solves everything.”

5. Jaime's Hand

In season three's "The Bear And The Maiden Fair"—that's the one in which Jaime Lannister returns to Harrenhal to save Brienne—Locke tells Jaime to “go buy yourself a golden hand and f*** yourself with it.” This is a direct reference to the golden prosthetic hand that Jaime would later receive in season four.

6. The Deaths of Joffrey, Shae, and Tywin

In season four’s "The Mountain And The Viper," Littlefinger tells stepson Robin Arryn that “People die at their dinner tables. They die in their beds. They die squatting over their chamber pots. Everybody dies sooner or later.” These words clearly foreshadow the deaths of Joffrey, Shae, and Tywin, who died at a dinner table, in a bed, and on the toilet, respectively.

7. Monty Python

Season four contains one of the show’s most extensive private jokes. In episode three, “Breaker of Chains,” the Meereenese fighter shouts an insult in Low Valyrian. According to the show’s linguist, David Peterson, the rider was actually shouting, “Your mother is a hamster and your father smells of elderberries,” a reference to Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

8. Destiny

Earlier in season five, one redditor noticed that Tyrion was sitting in front of a window that bore a striking resemblance to actor Peter Dinklage's Ghost from the video game Destiny.

9. R+L=J

R+L=J is a popular Game of Thrones fan theory that states that Jon Snow is not Ned Stark's son, but is in fact the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned's sister Lyanna. Early on in season one, the show acknowledges the theory by showing the letters "R L" carved into the wall right next to Jon.

10. Rocker Cameos

Musical guests are starting to become a trend on Game of Thrones. During season three's infamous Red Wedding, Coldplay drummer Will Champion is featured as one of the musicians playing the "Rains of Castamere." Later, in season four's "Purple Wedding," Icelandic band Sigur Ros again perform the "Rains of Castamere" before they are pelted with coins by King Joffrey. This season featured three members of the band Mastodon playing Wildings in "Hardhome."

11. The New York Giants

Martin is a big football fan and will sometimes slip references to the New York Giants into his books. In A Dance With Dragons, he writes, “The galley was also where the ship's books were kept ... 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.” This is clearly a reference to the New York Giants' Super Bowl victory over the previously undefeated New England Patriots. 

In addition, the giant Wun Wun gets his name from former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, who was number "11."

12. The Three Stooges

The books also contain a reference to The Three Stooges. In the first book, A Game of Thrones, Catelyn arrests Tyrion with the help of three knights from House Bracken: Lharys, Mohor, and Kurleket, a Westerosi spin on Larry, Moe, and Curly.

13. The Grateful Dead

At an event at the 92Y, Martin confirmed the influence of the band's music on his books: "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," he said. "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.

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Pop Culture
The Strange Hidden Link Between Silent Hill and Kindergarten Cop
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

by Ryan Lambie

At first glance, Kindergarten Cop and Silent Hill don't seem to have much in common—aside from both being products of the 1990s. At the beginning of the decade came Kindergarten Cop, the hit comedy directed by Ivan Reitman and starring larger-than-life action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the decade’s end came Silent Hill, Konami’s best-selling survival horror game that sent shivers down PlayStation owners’ spines.

As pop culture artifacts go, they’re as different as oil and water. Yet eagle-eyed players may have noticed a strange hidden link between the video game and the goofy family comedy.

In Silent Hill, you control Harry Mason, a father hunting for his daughter Cheryl in the eerily deserted town of the title. Needless to say, the things Mason uncovers are strange and very, very gruesome. Early on in the game, Harry stumbles on a school—Midwich Elementary School, to be precise—which might spark a hint of déjà vu as soon as you approach its stone steps. The building’s double doors and distinctive archway appear to have been taken directly from Kindergarten Cop’s Astoria Elementary School.

Could it be a coincidence?

Well, further clues can be found as you venture inside. As well as encountering creepy gray children and other horrors, you’ll notice that its walls are decorated with numerous posters. Some of those posters—including a particularly distinctive one with a dog on it—also decorated the halls of the school in Kindergarten Cop.

Do a bit more hunting, and you’ll eventually find a medicine cabinet clearly modeled on one glimpsed in the movie. Most creepily of all, you’ll even encounter a yellow school bus that looks remarkably similar to the one in the film (though this one has clearly seen better days).

Silent Hill's references to the movie are subtle—certainly subtle enough for them to pass the majority of players by—but far too numerous to be a coincidence. When word of the link between game and film began to emerge in 2012, some even joked that Konami’s Silent Hill was a sequel to Kindergarten Cop. So what’s really going on?

When Silent Hill was in early development back in 1996, director Keiichiro Toyama set out to make a game that was infused with influences from some of his favorite American films and TV shows. “What I am a fan of is occult stuff and UFO stories and so on; that and I had watched a lot of David Lynch films," he told Polygon in 2013. "So it was really a matter of me taking what was on my shelves and taking the more horror-oriented aspects of what I found.”

A scene from 'Silent Hill'
Divine Tokyoska, Flickr

In an interview with IGN much further back, in 2001, a member of Silent Hill’s staff also stated, “We draw our influences from all over—fiction, movies, manga, new and old.”

So while Kindergarten Cop is perhaps the most outlandish movie reference in Silent Hill, it’s by no means the only one. Cafe5to2, another prominent location in the game, is taken straight from Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers.

Elsewhere, you might spot a newspaper headline which references The Silence Of The Lambs (“Bill Skins Fifth”). Look carefully, and you'll also find nods to such films as The Shining, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, and 12 Monkeys.

Similarly, the town’s streets are all named after respected sci-fi and horror novelists, with Robert Bloch, Dean Koontz, Ray Bradbury, and Richard Matheson among the most obvious. Oh, and Midwich, the name of the school? That’s taken from the classic 1957 novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, twice adapted for the screen as The Village Of The Damned in 1960 and 1995.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Kindergarten Cop'
Universal Pictures

The reference to Kindergarten Cop could, therefore, have been a sly joke on the part of Silent Hill’s creators—because what could be stranger than modeling something in a horror game on a family-friendly comedy? But there could be an even more innocent explanation: that Kindergarten Cop spends so long inside an ordinary American school simply gave Toyama and his team plenty of material to reference when building their game.

Whatever the reasons, the Kindergarten Cop reference ranks highly among the most strange and unexpected film connections in the history of the video game medium. Incidentally, the original movie's exteriors used a real school, John Jacob Astor Elementary in Astoria, Oregon. According to a 1991 article in People Magazine, the school's 400 fourth grade students were paid $35 per day to appear in Kindergarten Cop as extras.

It’s worth pointing out that the school is far less scary a place than the video game location it unwittingly inspired, and to the best of our knowledge, doesn't have an undercover cop named John Kimble serving as a teacher there, either.

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The 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now
Disney/Marvel
Disney/Marvel

If you’re in the mood for some speculative fiction and your pile of Arthur C. Clarke books has been exhausted, you could do worse than to tune in to Netflix. The streaming service is constantly acquiring new films in the sci-fi and fantasy genres that should satisfy most fans of alternative futures. Here are five of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.

1. CUBE (1997)

This low-budget independent film may have helped inspire the current "escape room" attraction fad. Six strangers wake up in a strange room that leads only to other rooms—all of them equipped with increasingly sadistic ways of murdering occupants.

2. METROPOLIS (1927)

Inspiring everything from Star Wars to Lady Gaga, Fritz Lang’s silent epic about a revolt among the oppressed people who help power an upper-class city remains just as visually impressive today as it did nearly 100 years ago.

3. TROLL HUNTER (2010)

A Norwegian fairy tale with bite, Troll Hunter follows college-aged filmmakers who convince a bear trapper to take them along on his exploits. But the trapper fails to disclose one crucial detail: He hunts towering, aggressive trolls.

4. NEXT (2007)

Nic Cage stars a a magician who can see a few minutes into the future. He's looking to profit with the skill: the FBI and others are looking to exploit it.

5. THE HOST (2006)

A slow-burn monster movie from South Korea, The Host has plenty of tense scenes coupled with a message about environmental action: The river-dwelling beast who stalks a waterfront town is the product of chemical dumping.  

6. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 (2017)

Marvel's tale of a misfit band of space jockeys was a surprise hit in 2014. The sequel offers more Groot, more Rocket Raccoon, and the addition of Kurt Russell as a human manifestation of an entire sentient planet.

7. STARDUST (2007)

Director Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel features Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro as supporting players in the tale of a man (a pre-Daredevil Charlie Cox) in search of a fallen star to gift to his love.

8. KING KONG (2005)

Director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings) set his considerable sights on a remake of the 1933 classic, with the title gorilla pestered and exploited by opportunistic humans.

9. DONNIE DARKO (2001)

What will a teenage mope do when a giant rabbit tells him the world is about to end? The answer comes in this critical and cult hit, which drew attention for its moody cinematography and an arresting performance by a then-unknown Jake Gyllenhaal.  

10. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (2016)

Soon we'll have a movie for every single major or minor incident ever depicted in the Star Wars universe. For now, we'll have to settle for this one-off that explains how the Rebel Alliance got their hands on the plans for the Death Star.

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