All the ‘Game of Thrones’ Easter Eggs and References You Missed in ‘Stormborn’
Sunday night’s Game of Thrones began placing all the pieces in place for the total political chaos and carnage that’s to come. In “Stormborn” – SPOILER alert – Daenerys said Jon Snow’s name for the first time, which was all sorts of exciting, two Sand Snakes met a nasty end, Arya had multiple reunions, Missandei discovered the wonders of oral sex, and Sam began to cure Jorah.
A whole bunch of other juicy developments happened, which you can read more about in our episode review, but “Stormborn” was also full of subtle callbacks to earlier seasons. Arya’s reunions included references that reflect how far she’s come since the beginning of the series, a character was recast, and one one exchange in the Citadel library might have proven a huge fan theory. Here are all the Easter eggs and references you may have missed in the latest episode:
1. What Arya’s Nymeria reunion really means
Arya finally had her long-awaited reunion with her direwolf this week (one of our predictions turned out correct!), but it ended with a pang of sadness. The young Stark and her direwolf shared a tender moment, but once Arya pleaded with her grown friend to return to Winterfell with her, Nymeria turned away. “That’s not you,” Arya whispered with a small smile breaking across her face (in, by the way, what was an overall wonderful performance by Maisie Williams). Why was she smiling as her direwolf left her in the snow?
As Dan Weiss and David Benioff mention in the “Inside the Episode” following “Stormborn,” this was a direct callback to what Arya told Ned in Season 1, Episode 4. After telling Arya she’ll grow up to marry a high lord and become a respectable, though passive lady, she defiantly tells him, “No. That’s not me.” Arya recognizes who she’s become once she looks in Nymeria’s eyes. These two didn’t follow the expected paths laid out for them, and since Season 1 (when Arya and Nymeria last saw one another), the two have grown into independent, fierce individuals. Both refuse to be domesticated, instead choosing to survive and forge their own futures. It’s heartbreaking to see the two part ways again, but the reunion served as a meaningful reminder of the type of woman Arya’s grown up to become.
2. Euron’s silent pirates
Amid the excess of flying CGI sparks and gurgling blood during the Euron’s sea attack, you might have noticed one especially gruesome moment. Just before Theon jumps ship, he spots one of Euron’s Ironborn fleet slicing the tongue out of a man’s mouth. As one Redditor pointed out, that little detail was a nod to the books, in which Euron’s ship the Silence is manned by a crew of mute men he’s taken from other fleets after cutting out their tongues. You get another hint about those tongueless pirates when Ellaria begs Euron’s men to kill her and her daughter. In response one pirate merely shakes his head in silence.
3. Did Sam foreshadow the series’ ending?
It’s been a fan theory for a while now that Sam Tarly is the George R.R. Martin of the Seven Kingdoms, training to become a master who will eventually write all the events we’ve seen into a book. Fans have wondered for ages if the show (or even the books) will end by revealing Sam as the narrator all along, and one brief scene at the Citadel in “Stormborn” might support that theory.
When walking through the library, Jim Broadbent’s Maester Ebrose gives Sam a few tips about becoming a historical writer, suggesting research is just as essential as style. Then an interesting exchange happens. “I’m not writing A Chronicle of the Wars Following the Death of King Robert I so it can sit on a shelf unread,” Ebrose says, before noticing Sam’s cringe at the book’s title. “What would you call it then?” Sam responds, “Possibly something a bit more poetic.” Hm, A Song of Ice and Fire certainly sounds more poetic to me. Martin did once say that if he were any character he’d be Sam. Could the last scene of Game of Thrones find an old Sam with quill in hand as he writes the final page of the series? We’ll never know (unless Martin actually publishes the book, which you know, might never happen).
4. Westeros’ worst writer gets knocked again
That Citadel library scene came with another callback to a previous episode you might have missed. Maester Ebrose hands Sam a copy of The History of House Lannister, a book written by Maester Ch’Vyalthan whom Ebrose calls a “dreadful writer.” One Redditor noticed that “Stormborn” wasn’t the first time we’ve heard that name. In the eighth episode of the second season, Varys and Tyrion are reading The Great Sieges of Westeros and the Spider delicately shades the author’s unimpressive writing talent. Harsh critics!
But beyond that author callback, I suspect this book was introduced for potential bigger reasons – the director wouldn't have hovered over the title for nothing. It's too soon to predict, but it's bound to provide fuel to one popular fan theory that Tyrion, and perhaps even his siblings, are the children of the Mad King.
5. Hot Pie still hasn’t learned much about knights
Hot Pie returned this week! His chat with Arya included a funny little reference to her own pie-making at the end of Season 6, but there was another slight call-back to a line from Season 2. When catching Arya up on the Latest News of Westeros, Hot Pie tells her a knight, AKA Brienne stopped by looking for Sansa. “I figure she was a knight because she had armor on.” Hot Pie’s knight detecting skills haven’t changed much. Back in “The Night Lands,” Hot Pie bragged about witnessing a battle (really a pub fight between two guys). When Gendry asked him how he knew one man was a knight he said, “Well, it was ’cause he got armor on.” The long-lost blacksmith assured him that anyone can buy armor. This week’s callback was a fun nod to that episode, and the more playful days Arya spent with Hot Pie and Gendry in the Riverlands.
6. Jon strangles just like his
This was just a small visual nod, but still a neat one. When Littlefinger creepily pops up in the crypts as Jon prepare to head south, the conniving trickster taunts the Lord of the Winterfell, admitting he wants to hook up with his sister. (Maybe a dumb move?) Jon, rightfully, gets pissed and pins Baelish again the wall. Director Mark Mylod shot the moment similarly to a scene from Season 1’s “Lord Snow” where Ned also chokes Littlefinger against a wall outside his King’s Landing brothel.
7. Tyrion recalls his first meeting with Jon
Tyrion’s raven to Jon ended with a line that left Sansa a bit puzzled, asking Jon what it was about. “For all dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes.” Jon remembers it clearly as what the little Lannister said to him upon their first meeting years ago. In the series’ pilot, Tyrion confronts Jon in the Winterfell courtyard about being a bastard.
At first he seems like any other jerk teasing Jon about his parentage, but his monologue turns into a powerful moment of bonding as Tyrion likens Jon’s outsiderness to his own. “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor,” Tyrion told him. Including references that in his raven to Jon wasn’t just to prove the message was really sent by Tyrion, but a little reminder that Jon and Tyrion aren’t so different in this fight against political tyrants like Cersei.
8. Wait, who’s that guy again?
We only met Dickon Tarly, Sam’s younger brother, once when the now-maester-in-training visited his family at Horn Hill last season. But Freddie Stroma made an impression as the cocky and handsome hunting bro who laughs at the prospect of Sam killing at White Walker. Stroma’s (now cancelled) ABC series Time After Time got in the way of his Thrones schedule, forcing HBO to recast the role. We met the new Dickon Tarly last night, played by Black Sails‘ Tom Hopper, but his introduction came with a little meta nod at the recast. When Jaime approaches daddy Tarly, he greets Hooper’s Dickon with the wrong name, dismissively calling him Rickard. Now that House Tarly has aligned with the Lannisters, we’ll surely be seeing more of the new Dickon this season.