There’ve been many throwbacks in Game of Thrones season 7 so far, but the references and easter eggs in “The Spoils of War” may actually predict the future.
Check out the easter eggs we caught in Game of Thrones 7×04…
White Walker/Children symbols
Clearly a fan of caves, Jon tries to woo Daenerys in a Dragonstone cave by showing her…drawings. Lame courtship aside, these symbols drawn by the Children of the Forest have popped up multiple times throughout the series. Historically, the symbol is next seen when the Children created the Night King, the first White Walker:
S06E05 ‘The Door’
Interestingly, the next iterations of these symbols were by the White Walkers:
S01E01 ‘Winter is Coming’
S03E03 ‘Walk of Punishment’
What does it mean that the White Walkers are appropriating the Children of the Forest’s symbol(s)? Given that this symbol was notably used by the Children when creating the Night King, it’s possible the Night King is simply leaving a message to say he remembers what was done to him, and he’s coming for revenge.
To add yet another layer to this mystery, the symbol in “Winter Is Coming” looks like the Targaryen pins Daenerys and Viserys are wearing in the first episode:
S01E01 ‘Winter is Coming’
Does that mean some of the White Walkers’ symbols are a direct threat to the Targaryen line, because dragons are the only ones who can stop them? Then if the Targaryens and Children of the Forest share a symbol, what connection do they have with each other?
Many questions, and very few answers, but what we know for certain is that White Walkers and Children of the Forest share symbolic runes. The jury’s still out on the relevance.
‘Chaos is a ladder’
In case you’d forgotten, Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish is the man who incited this war.
Back in season 1, an assassination attempt was made on Bran. The weapon used was a Valyrian steel dagger, owned by Littlefinger. However, Littlefinger has been spouting the narrative that Tyrion ordered the hit, thus sparking the feud between Starks and Lannisters, and ultimately the War of the Five Kings.
For whatever reason, Littlefinger decides it’s a good idea to give Bran the weapon that almost killed him. In doing so, Littlefinger has inadvertently reminded Bran that he’s enemy number one. Bran tests Littlefinger, asking him who the dagger belonged to, which Littlefinger responds that he doesn’t know.
“Chaos is a ladder,” Bran says to Littlefinger, referencing his own speech given to Varys in season 3, episode 6 “The Climb.” Bran is essentially telling Littlefinger, ‘I know your game, I know you do nothing out of the goodness of your heart, I know all you care about is power.’
Littlefinger has been playing the game impeccably since season 1, but now in season 7, it seems he’s losing his edge. Not only are all the Starks onto his schemes, but Bran can even see everything Littlefinger has done, and those he’s betrayed.
It’s only a matter of time before the last remaining Starks get justice for their parents, and Littlefinger finally fails climbing the ladder, and never gets to try again.
Survival and pride
Yet again Daenerys asks Jon to swear fealty to her, and yet again he refuses. Dany says to him, “Isn’t [your people’s] survival more important than your pride?” This line is a direct reference to a conversation Jon had with Mance Rayder in season 5.
In “The Wars to Come,” Jon tried to convince Mance to bend the knee to Stannis (at Stannis’ behest). Mance refused, saying that his people will not support a southern ruler, that he won’t make his people fight a foreigner’s war. Stannis would have provided Mance the help he needed to get the Wildlings south of the Wall, and survive the coming winter, but Mance wouldn’t bend the knee to get that support.
Flashforward, Jon is asking Dany to help his people, and Dany has agreed, on the condition that Jon bend the knee to her. Just like Mance, Jon refuses to pledge to a southern ruler, and Dany fittingly, unwittingly, throws Jon’s own words back in his face.
It’s clear that this is a reflective moment for Jon, but what exactly is going through his head? Is he thinking that he’s being prideful in the way Mance was, and that he should pledge to Dany? Or is he thinking that Mance was right all along, and he greatly misjudged him?
Keep in mind, after Mance’s death, the Wildings did not support Stannis, and in fact went on to follow Jon, who also refused pledging to Stannis. Stannis went on to fight without the Northern support, ultimately failing and dying. If Daenerys does not figure out a way to earn Jon’s support (*cough*marriage*cough*), then she’s likely to go the way Stannis did.
‘Dumb high-born lad’
The battle in the Reach has great callbacks to season 1.
This is the first battle the Dothraki fight in Westeros, and this particular location references a quote from Robert Baratheon, “Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field.” True, Jaime’s forces were caught off guard, and this Dothraki army also had a full grown dragon for support. Nevertheless, Robert’s point stands, and Daenerys probably considered this tactical advantage when deciding to attack the Reach.
There was another Robert reference this episode. Jaime’s foolish decision to charge at Dany and Drogon and almost die, precisely reflects Robert’s first kill, “He came running at me, this dumb high-born lad, thinking he could end the rebellion with a single swing of his sword. I knocked him down with the hammer.”
Jaime has had fluctuating character development over seven seasons, most recently on a steady decline. This reckless decision isn’t helping anyone feel sympathy for him, and it certainly makes it seem like he has a death wish. Will Jaime be his own undoing?
‘A man teaches a girl’
The entire fight sequence between Arya and Brienne harkens back to all of Arya’s training over the seasons.
The first, obvious reference is her training with Syrio Forel, the Braavosi who started her training. Most of her flourish and technique are derived from those early training sessions.
Next, Arya’s harsh training with the Hound in season 4 is given a shoutout. When he caught her practicing by herself one morning, he told her to show him what she’s got. She embarrassingly tried to puncture his armored stomach with Needle, resulting in him kicking her to the ground and pointing Needle at her throat. Aim for the vulnerable areas, was the harsh lesson, and Arya applies this to her spar with Brienne.
Lastly, her season 5 and 6 training with the the Faceless Men (Jaqen and the Waif) most notably taught her how to recover, or in this case, literally bounce back.
Arya Stark has finally returned to Winterfell, but she isn’t the same girl who left Winterfell all those years ago.