All the Hidden Symbols (& Parallels to Past Seasons) You Probably Missed in the ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 Premiere
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
There’s nothing like the end of an era to make you think about the beginning. Take Game of Thrones, for instance.
Last night’s season-eight premiere was packed with homages to previous seasons (mostly season-one), and we’re already mourning the end of the hit HBO series.
Here, every hidden symbol and homage from the premiere.
Sure, the travelers were different and there was snow on the ground instead of grass, but the scene was shot exactly like Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) and Cersei’s (Lena Heady) ride into Winterfell in the season-one premiere. To make it even more on the nose, the scenes featured the same exact music.
In season-one, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) tried to get a good view of the king and queen’s arrival, while in season-eight, another child does the same. In the first season, young Arya (Maisie Williams) pushes through a crowd to get a better look, and in the season-eight premiere she lets a small child go in front of her so they can see better.
The Meet and Greet
When Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) arrive in the Winterfell town square, the Stark family (sans Arya) and their allies are there to greet them. Like her father, Ned Stark (Sean Bean), Sansa tells the visiting monarch, “Winterfell is yours.” Like her mother, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), Sansa is wary about the visiting queen, in this case Dany.
Arya & Jon Reunite
In season-one, Arya jumps up to put her arms around Jon’s neck when they see each other for the first time in a long while. In last night’s episode, they do the same—only Arya is a lot taller than she was before. Jon gave Arya her sword, Needle, in the pilot. In the season-eight premiere, he expresses surprise that she still has it and unsheathes his fancy Valyrian steel sword to show her.
Jon Rides a Dragon
Now, we haven’t seen Jon ride a dragon before, but we have seen Rhaegal (named for Jon’s real father) fly over the exact valley in a season-eight trailer. The only difference? There was no Jon on his back. TBD if that was a just a clever way for the creators to not spill the beans or if there’s a deeper meaning.
Jon and Dany’s Love Fest
There are a couple of things to unpack in regard to Jon and Daenerys’s snowy makeout sesh. First, the scene is similar to the one in which Jon and Ygritte (Rose Leslie) first made love. Also, you potentially noticed that Rhaegal was staring at Jon and Dany while they kissed (weird). Well, there’s a theory that Bran used his Three Eyed Raven powers to take over Rhaegal and was watching Jon and Dany commit incest just like he did with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei in the pilot. (There’s also one that Jon’s dad Rhaegar’s spirit lives within the dragon.) Perhaps that’s why Bran later tells Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) that it’s time to tell Jon the truth about his parents.
Arya & Gendry
Speaking of young love, Arya and Gendry (Joe Dempsie) share a flirty moment when she goes to visit the blacksmith and asks Gendry to forge her a new weapon. When he says he should be calling her “M’lady,” she responds that she doesn’t want him to call her that and he says, “As you wish, m’lady.” This conversation mirrors a conversation they had in season-two, episode two. Ah, memories.
You may have noticed the strange spiral symbol fashioned from cut-off arms around poor Lord Ned Umber (Harry Grasby) at Last Hearth looks a little familiar. That’s because in season three, the Night King and White Walkers left the same spiral in the snow using body parts from dead Night’s Watchmen. In season five, the spiral was visible when the Children of Men made the Night King and in season seven it was discernible in cave drawings on Dragonstone. As of now, we aren’t sure what it means, but it’s definitely significant.
Bran & Jaime: The Tables Have Turned
And last but certainly not least is Bran. In the season eight premiere, Samwell Tarly comes across Bran sitting in the square at night. Bran explains that he’s waiting for an old friend. The next day, he’s in the same spot when Jaime Lannister arrives at Winterfell. In season one, Jaime drew a lot of attention when he stepped foot in Winterfell. He had bright blonde hair and wore the golden Lannister helmet. In season eight, his hair is dark, and he’s essentially disguised by a beard and gray cloak. He’s a changed man and no one recognizes him but Bran. In the first season, Bran was scared when Jaime looked at him, but now it’s Jaime who’s scared.
Which begs the question: How will Bran get even? Fingers crossed we find out when Game of Thrones returns with season eight, episode two on Sunday, April 21, at 9 p.m. PT/ET on HBO.