10 clues in 'Game of Thrones' you may have missed that foreshadowed the show's ending

  • The dramatic finale to “Game of Thrones” might have seemed like a left turn for the series.
  • But if you look back, you’ll catch some clues alluding to how everything would end for the people of Westeros.
  • From the season one pilot to the final episode of season eight, here are 10 details in “Game of Thrones” you might have missed that allude to the show’s ending.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Tyrion: All hail Bran the Broken, first of his name.

All: All hail Bran the Broken.

Narrator: It’s official, “Game of Thrones” has ended, and the character who won it all was one of the most overlooked candidates for the crown. Bran, the youngest Stark, has no blood claim to the throne, and he never seemed particularly interested in ruling. But if we look back, there were some clues he’d end up king.

Here are 10 of them, and here’s a warning: spoilers are coming.

1. Bran’s importance is established early on in the series.

In fact, he’s the first major character we meet in the pilot.

The first scene in Winterfell centres on Bran practicing his archery with the older Starks looking on. This introduction is consistent with the novels, which open with a chapter written from his point of view. Did author George R.R. Martin favour Bran to end up on the throne all along? It seems likely.

2. One particular moment in the pilot seems significant in retrospect.

The camera cuts to young Bran during Ned Stark’s recitation of the execution oath. Just as Ned says the line, “King of the Andals and the First Men.”

Ned: In the name of Robert of the House Baratheon, the First of His Name…

Jon: Don’t look away.

Ned: King of the Andals and the First Men…

Jon: Father will know if you do.

Narrator: It seems they left it deliberately unclear whether we should focus on Bran or Jon in that shot. That’s a tactic the show often uses to subvert our expectations. For example, after Hardhome, it seemed that the Night King was after Jon, when in fact it was Bran that he really wanted.

3. Based on the Night King’s fixation on Bran, maybe we should have known that he was destined for the throne.

As Bran explained before the Battle of Winterfell, the Night King’s goal was to erase this world in its entirety. To do so, he had to erase Bran first. In view of the show’s ending, some fans believe the Night King was dead set on destroying Bran because he knew he’d become Westeros’ ruler and a strong, competent ruler at that.

4. It seems significant that Bran is also the first person we see targeted by Jaime Lannister, the man infamously known as ‘Kingslayer.’

5. In the finale, when Tyrion makes his impassioned case in front of Westeros’ leaders, it’s clear he has a strong appreciation for Bran.

Apparently, it’s reciprocated because Bran makes Tyrion his hand despite his spotty track record as Daenerys’ adviser.

In the events leading up to this moment, it might have been easy to overlook the friendship between Bran and Tyrion, especially since they have only interacted a handful of times on-screen, but their special bond actually dates back to the fourth episode of the series. Following Bran’s injury, Tyrion travelled all the way to Winterfell, bringing designs for a customised saddle.

Bran: Will I really be able to ride?

Tyrion: You will.

Robb: Is this some kind of trick? Why do you want to help him?

Tyrion: I’ve a tender spot in my heart for cripples, bastards, and broken things.

Narrator:Tyrion’s words inspired the title of that episode in season one, as well as the moniker of Bran the Broken that he coins later on.

6. Tyrion and Bran’s relationship picks up right where they left off in the second episode of season eight.

After the battle-strategy meeting, everyone leaves the room except the two of them. Tyrion pulls up a chair and asks Bran to recount the story of his travels.

The writer of this episode, Bryan Cogman, tipped us off to the significance of the Bran-Tyrion bond in an interview back in April. “Tyrion does have a connection with Bran,” he said. “Tyrion’s a student of history and I think him wanting to talk to Bran is about him trying to understand… Obviously, Bran’s had a very unique experience.”

This would explain why later Tyrion is so ready to vouch for Bran in light of his incredible personal journey to becoming the Three-Eyed Raven.

7. Tyrion approaches Bran again two episodes later at the victory celebration following the Battle of Winterfell.

He compliments Bran’s wheelchair, saying it’s even better than the saddle he designed back in season one. According to Bran, his chair is based on the one Daeron Targaryen built for his nephew 120 years ago. Based on the timeframe, he must be referencing Daeron II, also known as Daeron the Good.

His familiarity with that history impresses Tyrion, who told Joffrey back in season four that Daeron’s story should be required reading for any future ruler.

Joffrey: A book?

Tyrion: “The Lives of the Four Kings,” Grand Maester Kaeth’s history of the reigns of Daeron the Young Dragon, Baelor the Blessed, Aegon the Unworthy, and Daeron the Good. A book every king should read.

8. Tyrion says Bran’s historical knowledge will serve him well as Lord of Winterfell, but he’s surprised to learn Bran has no intention of holding that title.

At this point, it’s entirely possible Bran had already foreseen himself on the throne, in which case his reaction would make sense on multiple levels.

Bran: I don’t really want anymore. Narrator: If he expected to be crowned king, why would he take on a lordship? In episode six, he does imply that he’d known about his destiny beforehand. As for Daenerys, it’s safe to assume Bran knew her fate well before the rest of us.

In a vision back in season four, he saw the shadow of a dragon flying over the rooftops of King’s Landing. When he was fleeing the cave with Meera in season six, that ominous shot recurred in a longer dream sequence that also included images of Daenerys and of a full-grown Drogon in the sky. These were intercut with shots of Aerys II and his green wildfire, connecting the Mad King of the past with the Mad Queen of the near future. The question is whether Bran shared this information with anyone.

9. Some fans have theorised that his conversation with Tyrion in episode four continued after the camera cut away and that during that time, Bran warned him about Daenerys’ imminent descent.

It wouldn’t be the first time the Three-Eyed Raven issued warnings off-screen.

The season seven finale revealed that Bran had been advising his sisters about Littlefinger’s schemes. Did he confide similarly in Tyrion? If so, that would explain the certainty with which Tyrion spoke to Jaime about the outcome of the impending battle.

Jamie: It’s not impossible that she’ll win.

Tyrion: She won’t.

Jamie: If the three dragons are dead, she’s evened the odds.

Tyrion: The city will fall tomorrow. There won’t be an Iron Fleet for much longer. Do it! If you don’t, you’ll never see Cersei again.

Narrator: Maybe Tyrion mistakenly thought he could change the inevitable by issuing fierce warnings to all the important players.

Tyrion: Her followers will abandon her if they know the war is lost. Give them that chance. If the city surrenders, they will ring the bells and raise the gates, please, if you hear them ringing the bells, call off the attack. Swear to me, escape. The two of you, together.

10. Bran’s detached attitude toward power may be the result of foresight, or it may just reflect the state of enlightenment he’s reached as the Three-Eyed Raven.

Either way, the show hints that the kind of indifference Bran exhibits is actually an asset. This idea is referenced in season eight, episode four, when Tyrion and Varys are discussing Jon’s fitness to rule.

Tyrion: He doesn’t want the throne.

Varys: Have you considered the best ruler might be someone who doesn’t want to rule?

Narrator: It’s likely that Varys’ observation made Tyrion think of his exchange with Bran earlier in that episode. Perhaps it was at this moment that the idea was planted in Tyrion’s head that Bran should be crowned king.

What do you think? Did the show hint at Bran’s destiny all along, or did the ending feel out of the blue?

And did we miss any major clues? Let us know in the comments.

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