Poor (Little) Ned: Here’s Where You Saw That Gruesome Ned Umber Symbol Before the ‘Game of Thrones’ Premiere
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
TLDR: Ned is not a name you want if you're going to survive.
Poor little Lord Umber got made into abstract wall art on last night’s episode (and season-eightpremiere) of Game of Thrones. While we shrieked to see his dead little eyes open behind where Tormund was standing to reveal shining blue White Walker orbs, we were more focused on the symbolism surrounding the aforementioned abstract art.
Just to back up for a second, Ned Umber (of House Umber that betrayed the Starks to House Bolton before the Battle of the Bastards) asks Sansa, Jon and Daenerys for more horses and supplies during a meeting at Winterfell.
But it seems his request didn't make it in time, because once little Ned Umber is back at his castle of Last Hearth, we can assume the White Walker armies killed everyone there and reanimated them as more wights. The White Walkers also kill Ned and hang dead Ned up on the wall in the middle of a spiral of body parts and limbs.
So when Tormund and Beric are searching the abandoned Last Hearth and run into Night's Watch acting commander Edd, they all stumble upon the poor dead boy and the spiral symbol. But it's not just (horrifying) art for art's sake: We've seen this symbol a few other times before in relation to the Night King...
Once, during season three, Jon Snow and the Wildlings find dead horses set up in the same exact spiral pattern. We also saw it on the cave markings beneath Dragonstone when Jon Snow is trying to mine Dragonglass. Jon takes Dany to see the cave paintings drawn by the Children of the Forest, which prove that the White Walkers have come before to kill the living.
And when Bran travels back in time during season six, he sees the symbol formed with a group of stones and the Weirwood tree. The Children of the Forest created the symbol before turning one of the First Men into the Night King.
But what does it all mean? Why does the Night King use this symbol to send messages with the dead bodies of the people he kills (and seriously freak everyone out)? What's the meaning of the spiral?
Well, it seems obvious that the Night King adopted the spiral symbol from the Children of the Forest, who first used it in the cave and during the Night King's creation. But it also has an uncanny resemblance to a noble house sigil: that of the Targaryen's dragon symbol.
Fans on Twitter were quick to point this out, and while it's probably not just coincidence, it may just be a warning to the Targaryens (now, both Jon and Dany), who have been using dragon fire to snuff out great swaths of wights.
Or it may be tied to the beginnings of the Targaryen house. If the Night King (who was once human and was created by the Children of the Forest to protect them from the destruction of man) was previously a Targaryen, then maybe he has an even greater vendetta against Jon and Dany.
Tune in to the next episode of GoT on Sunday, April 21, on HBO at 9 p.m. to find out.