One of the most exciting things about the Game of Thrones season six finale is how much debate and speculation it’s generated for the next season. This is already a show with a rabid and intense fan following and since “The Winds of Winter” delivered some of the most exciting and shocking moments in the show’s history, it’s not surprising that a bunch of discoveries have already been made about the episode itself. The episode not only contains a number of callbacks to previous events and minor occurrences in Game of Thrones lore, but also has a few hidden details that are almost impossible to spot on first viewing. Here are some of the most significant things you may have missed while watching “The Winds of Winter.”
10. Stark Sigil In The Opening Credits
By this point, we’ve all watched the opening credits so many times that it can be pretty easy to miss little changes made to the world map, but there was actually a pretty significant one made to this week’s edition. Specifically, the Bolton’s flayed man sigil was replaced with the Stark direwolf during the Winterfell portion of the credits, signifying the change in leadership that took place there last week. And it’s not just any direwolf but a white one specifically, a reference to Ghost and Jon Snow being called the “White Wolf” by one of his banner men. We’ll have to keep an eye out next season to see if the Sept of Baelor is now a smoldering ruin during the King’s Landing portion.
9. Arya’s “My Lord”
One of the more subtle touches that may have gone over many viewers’ heads has to do with Arya’s mannerisms during her assassination of Walder Frey. Arya refers to Frey as “My Lord,” which is actually a slip-up on her part. This is a clever callback to Tywin Lannister’s correction of Arya’s pronunciation of the term from season two, when he tells her that lowborn girls say “M’Lord” and that, “If you’re going to pose as a commoner, do it right.” So either Arya forgot what Tywin told her and messed up the pronunciation, or she did it intentionally to try and see if Frey would notice. We hope it’s the latter, as it makes Arya that much more sinister (and terrifying) than she already is.
8. The Martell and Tyrell Sails In Dany’s Fleet
One of the biggest mysteries from the finale deals with how Varys ended up aboard Dany’s ship in the final scene, after being seen in Dorne earlier in the very same episode. As this Reddit thread points out, it’s because the fleet has already joined up with the Martell and Tyrell ships, as you can spot both houses’ banners during the scene. It’s still a bit of a jarring time jump, to be sure, but considering we’ve been waiting six seasons for Dany’s invasion to happen, any way the show can speed things up at this point is more of a blessing than anything.
7. Qyburn’s Hand of the Queen Pin
Tyrion shared an emotional moment with Daenerys in the finale, as she named him her Hand of the Queen, but you may not have noticed that someone else got this official title from a very different queen. That’s right, if you take a look at the twisted Maester Qyburn at Cersei’s coronation, you can see that he’s wearing the iconic pin. We’d say that Cersei got the raw deal here, but Qyburn does have a way with creating monsters out of orphans and near-dead Mountains alike, a skill that will come in handy as Cersei tries to hold King’s Landing against pretty much every other character on the show.
6. The Globes In The Library
Game of Thrones viewers are quite familiar with the show’s opening credits which, among other things, always features a sphere representing the sun, encircled by metal rings that also detail the history of Westeros. What you may not have noticed is that we see this same sphere hanging in the Library of the Citadel that Sam tours. These globes are based on armillary spheres, which are celestial maps invented by the Greeks that rose in popularity during the Middle Ages. Naturally, this brief scene has sparked discussion about the show’s entire plot being some story read by a Maester at some point in the future (A Song of Ice and Fire, get it?). Whatever the case, having these globes be part of the show’s canon is a nice little treat for longtime fans of the series.
5. Red Wedding Death Parallels
With Walder Frey’s death, the three main perpetrators of the Red Wedding are all dead and gone. The interesting thing about these deaths are that they all mirror those of victims from the Red Wedding. Robb Stark was shot by arrows and stabbed to death by Roose Bolton; Tywin Lannister was killed by a crossbow and Roose Bolton was stabbed to death by his son. And of course, Catelyn Stark’s throat was cut, which is the exact same fate suffered by Walder Frey. Talk about karmic justice!
4. Walder Frey’s Stark Foreshadowing
We have to thank eagle-eyed Reddit user Swoose for this revelation. At one point during the conversation between Walder Frey and Jaime, Frey says, “The Starks mocked me, where are they now?” and right after he says that, the shot cuts to a servant girl pouring a drink at another table. Of course, we later find out that this girl is really Arya Stark in disguise, a clever bit of foreshadowing that very few probably saw coming. It’s also important to note that Bronn tells Jaime that servant Arya can’t keep her eyes off him, but in hindsight, it probably wasn’t due to his golden looks so much as eyeing a potential victim. Good thing for Jaime that someone Arya hates even more was in attendance.
3. The Rat Cook Parallel
As previously mentioned, the tragedy of the Red Wedding comes full circle in the finale when Arya Stark murders the main perpetrator, Walder Frey, but not before serving his sons to him in a baked pie. While no doubt inspired by Shakespeare’s Titus Andonicus, Arya’s methods also echo the show’s own lore; specifically, the story of the Rat Cook. As told by Bran back in season three (you can watch the full clip here) the Rat Cook was ultimately punished by the Gods for killing a guest beneath his roof, something that Walder Frey is also guilty of. The Seven take the ancient Westeros tradition of guest right very seriously, it seems.
2. Lyanna’s Whisper
Thanks to the flashback scene featured in “The Winds of Winter,” we now know that Jon Snow is actually the son of Lyanna Stark and not Ned Stark’s bastard son (sorry Jon, you’re still technically a bastard). We hear Lyanna tell her brother that, “If Robert finds out, he’ll kill him. You know he will.” but not before we see her whisper something inaudible. According to one Redditor whose girlfriend is deaf and communicates largely through lip-reading, Lyanna tells Ned, “His name is…” followed by a two or three syllable name ending in an s. Perhaps she’s telling him Jon’s Targaryen name, as many names in that family — Aerys, Daenerys, Rhaenys — end in an s. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to tell Ned anything about Rhaegar being the father, but that’s pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point, isn’t it?
1. Ser Arthur Dayne’s Sword
Although we got official confirmation of one Jon Snow theory in this episode, it’s possible that the finale contained an even more significant one as well. During the Tower of Joy flashback, there’s a shot in which we see Ser Arthur Dayne’s sword Dawn laid against Lyanna Stark’s bloody bed. One of the more popular Jon Snow theories (there are so many at this point) is that he is the Prince That Was Promised or the legendary hero Azor Ahai reborn, and this shot adds fuel to that speculation fire, if interpreted in a certain way. Part of the prophecy claimed that the Prince will be “born under a bleeding star.” Dayne’s sword is made of metal from a fallen star and the sword certainly has a fair amount of blood on it, so perhaps the bloodied Dawn is the sign Jon is born under. Or maybe we’re just getting our star metaphors mixed up …