38 details you might have missed so far on the latest season of 'Game of Thrones'

HBOEmilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen on ‘Game of Thrones’ season eight, episode one, ‘Winterfell.’

After nearly 10 years and seven complete seasons of HBO’s biggest series in history, “Game of Thrones” is coming to an end.

The final six episodes contain many references and layers of meaning, from callbacks to the pilot or scenes inspired by George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” books.

Keep reading for a look at the most significant details on “Game of Thrones” season eight so far.


Season eight’s opening credits sequence was changed to tell a new story.

HBOThe opening credits for ‘Game of Thrones’ had a new animation on season eight.

Previously the astrolabe device had bands of artwork showing Robert’s Rebellion and other historic tales known far and wide in Westeros.

Now it starts with the most recent cataclysmic event on the continent: The Night King bringing down the Wall at Eastwatch by the Sea.

You can see a row of the Army of the Dead in the lower right corner and birds flying off from the top left side which represent both the Night’s Watch fleeing and the ravens which Bran skinchanges into.


Now three dramatic events are shown on the astrolabe: The Wall’s breach, the Red Wedding, and the birth of Daenerys’ dragons.

HBOThe opening credits for ‘Game of Thrones’ had a new animation on season eight.

On this band, a dead wolf (Lady Catelyn) hangs from the towers of the Twins (House Frey’s castle) while a Flayed Man (House Bolton) holds up another wolf’s head (King Robb Stark).

To the left, a lion (Tywin Lannister) holds a fish in its jaws (House Tully).


The last motif shows Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons being hatched from their fossilized eggs.

HBOThe opening credits for ‘Game of Thrones’ had a new animation on season eight.

The birth of three dragons was the closest thing to a miracle most people in the world had seen in a long while. Unfortunately now the Night King has used one of those dragons to attack the realm of men, but Daenerys and Jon Snow won’t go down without a fight.


Read more:
A closer look at every new change in the ‘Game of Thrones’ opening credits you might have missed


Which brings us to the premiere episode’s actual opening, showing Daenerys and Jon arriving to Winterfell.

HBOA young boy watches the army marching in.

This introductory scene was a callback to the pilot episode of “Game of Thrones,” when King Robert and the royal party visited Winterfell.

The young boy climbing up the tree was a direct reference to Bran Stark scaling the castle walls for a better look at the coming guests.

Most important of all, the “Game of Thrones” composer Ramin Djawadi wrote a new iteration of a soundtrack piece we haven’t heard since that first pilot episode, called “The King’s Arrival.” That musical cue added to the familiarity of the opening sequence.


Arya also repeated parts of her experience with royal arrivals in Winterfell.

HBOMaisie Williams as Arya Stark on ‘Game of Thrones’ season eight, episode one, ‘Winterfell.’

Back on the pilot, Arya also stood outside the walls of the castle and watched the royal party trot into town.


She specifically noticed Sandor “The Hound” Clegane back then.

HBOMaisie Williams as Arya Stark on ‘Game of Thrones.’

On the season eight premiere, Arya looked rightfully less excited at the sight of Sandor Clegane among Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen’s retinue.


The Winterfell welcome party is also drastically different all these years later.

HBOThe highborn people gathered to greet Daenerys.

Just as King Robert presented Cersei Lannister to the Starks on season one, Jon Snow introduced Daenerys Targaryen to the lords and ladies in Winterfell.

This time Sansa and Bran Stark, Brienne of Tarth, Podrick Payne, Maester Wolkan, Lyanna Mormont, and Lord Yohn Royce made up the greeting crew.


Here’s how House Stark welcomed their last royal visitor:

HBOThe welcome party at Winterfell on season one.

Bran and Sansa Stark, Theon Greyjoy, and Jon Snow are the only four people in this photo who survived past season three. Jory, Robb Stark, Ned Stark, Maester Luwin, Catelyn Stark, Ser Rodrik, and Rickon were all murdered or executed.

Let’s hope the welcome party from season eight has better survival odds.


Jon greeted Bran with a kiss on top of his head — mirroring the exact way he said goodbye to him back on season one.

HBOBran is no longer the same person Jon once knew.

On season one, episode two, “The Kingsroad,” Jon said goodbye to Bran before heading to the Wall. Though Bran was in a coma and couldn’t hear him, Jon made his younger brother (well, cousin) some promises.


“We can go out walking beyond the Wall if you’re not afraid,” Jon said.

HBOJon, Bran, and Catelyn on season one.

This goodbye scene was one of the first times an iconic piece of “Game of Thrones” music was played. The track, titled “Goodbye Brother,” is the basis for what you’ll recognise on the show as the general House Stark theme music that plays during any significant scenes with Arya, Sansa, Bran, and Jon.


When Jon and Arya finally reunited, their hug mirrored the way they last parted ways.

HBOKit Harington as Jon Snow on ‘Game of Thrones’ season eight, episode one, ‘Winterfell.’

They embraced as Jon picked Arya up off her feet, in the same way he hugged her after gifting her with Needle on season one, episode two, “The Kingsroad.”


Read more:
‘Game of Thrones’ finally brought Jon and Arya back together, but the reunion was tinged with a threat of discord


These over-the-shoulder shots were pitch perfect.

HBOThis camera angle from season one was repeated on Sunday’s season eight premiere.

Arya named her sword Needle during her hug with Jon on season one. But this time when they embraced, Arya was warning Jon not to forget that she and Sansa are his family.


Jon Snow rode his first dragon, and the one he hopped on was named after his father.

HBOKit Harington as Jon Snow on ‘Game of Thrones’ season eight, episode one, ‘Winterfell.’

Daenerys named her dragons after three important men in her life: Khal Drogo > Drogon, Viserys > Viserion, and Rhaegar > Rhaegal.

Viserion was killed last season and belonged to the Night King, and Daenerys has always had a strong preference for Drogon. So that left Rhaegal, the greenish beast named after Jon Snow’s father (though Jon had no idea at the time), as Jon’s ride for the afternoon.


Jon and Daenerys had a semi-romantic moment by a cave and waterfall.

HBOJon Snow and Daenerys have an intimate moment on the ‘Game of Thrones’ season eight premiere.

Though Drogon was doing his best to interrupt, Daenerys tried to set an intimate mood with Jon.

“We could stay a thousand years. No one would find us,” Daenerys said to the former King in the North.


This was a reference back to Jon’s first romantic experience.

HBOBack on the third season, Jon Snow lost his virginity to Ygritte in a cave with a waterfall and hot spring pool.

“Let’s not go back. Let’s stay here a while longer,” Ygritte told Jon. “I don’t ever want to leave this cave, Jon Snow.”

On the fourth season, as she died in Jon’s arms, Ygritte mentioned the cave once more. It’s become a symbol of the rare peace and romance found on “Game of Thrones,” and so the invocation of it for Jon and Daenerys’ scene was contentious.

Could they really have a happy ending? If their love story is anything like Jon and Ygritte’s was, the answer is a sad “no.”


Read more:
‘Game of Thrones’ keeps adding fuel to a popular ‘Evil Daenerys’ fan theory, but her path forward is more complicated


Toward the end of the episode, we saw Beric and Tormund enter Last Hearth — the castle of House Umber.

HBOThe Umber sigil on a flag at Last Hearth.

One way to tell it was Last Hearth was by the crossed chain sigil of House Umber on the courtyard’s banners.


And inside, of course, was the young Lord Umber, killed and pinned to the wall.

HBOLord Ned Umber met a fiery death at Castle Last Hearth on the ‘Game of Thrones’ season eight premiere.

Little Ned Umber had been turned into a wight, and woke up shrieking and writhing until Beric set him on fire.

The flame spread to severed arms that were nailed onto the wall in a familiar spiral pattern.


This pattern is one of the symbols the White Walkers often leave behind.

HBOWe last saw this spiral inside the dragonglass caves on Dragonstone.

The rock formation where the Night King was first created was in this spiral shape, so it’s likely just a pattern the Night King has chosen to use as his marker.


The opening credits changed slightly again at the start of episode two, this time showing the war preparations at Winterfell.

HBOWinterfell in the credits for season eight, episode two, ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.’

While the premiere episode’s credits were entirely new, for the second episode there were simple additions.

First, Last Hearth was shown enveloped in the icy-blue tiles that represent the Night King and his Army of the Dead. Then, as seen above, Winterfell was shown battle-ready with the deep trenches built around its border.


Daenerys referred to Tyrion as Jaime’s “little brother,” nodding to one of the more popular fan theories for the Lannister siblings.

HBODaenerys speaking to Tyrion in the great hall of Winterfell.

“Perhaps he trusts his little brother to defend him,” Daenerys said when Tyrion tried to come to Jaime’s defence. “Right up until the moment he slits my throat.”

In George R.R. Martin’s books, the prophecy told to Cersei as a young girl has a third and important part. The woods witch told Cersei, “The valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”


Valonqar means “little brother” in Valyrian, and Cersei interpreted that to mean Tyrion would eventually kill her.

HBOYoung Cersei as seen on the fifth season of ‘Game of Thrones.’

But many fans have come around to the idea that Jaime is the real valonqar – he’s also her little brother, after all, just by mere minutes.

But the show removed this part of the prophecy back on season five when we were given the flashback of Young Cersei hearing the predictions, so we can’t be certain this theory will manifest at all on “Game of Thrones.”

Regardless, this episode appeared to make a clear reference to it, if only to stoke the fires of speculation once more.


Read more:
Our full breakdown of the Valonqar prophecy and what it could mean for Cersei


Jaime repeated Brienne’s argument from the season seven finale when Daenerys asked him to explain his desertion of Cersei.

HBONikolaj Coster-Waldau and Gwendoline Christie as Jaime and Brienne on ‘Game of Thrones.’

When Queen Daenerys still seems doubtful of Jaime’s intentions, he turns and looks at Brienne before answering.

“Because this goes beyond loyalty,” Jaime said. “This is about survival.”


That’s very close to what Brienne told Jaime in the dragonpit when she was trying to persuade him to fight with the North.

HBOJaime and Brienne on ‘Game of Thrones’ season seven, episode seven, ‘The Dragon and the Wolf.’

“Oh f— loyalty,” Brienne said, much to Jaime’s shock. “This goes beyond houses and honour and oaths. Talk to the queen.”

It was Jaime’s invocation of this sentiment that finally pushed her to stand up and defend Jaime in front of all the Northern lords, Lady Sansa, and Queen Daenerys.


With Jaime and Brienne together, this marked the first time the pieces of Ned Stark’s sword have been back in Winterfell since his death.

HBONikolaj Coster-Waldau and Gwendoline Christie as Jaime and Brienne on ‘Game of Thrones.’

The ancestral blade of House Stark was a greatsword named Ice. The blade was Valyrian steel, making the metal precious (and one of the rare substances that can kill White Walkers).


The sword was taken by the Lannister when Ned was arrested and later melted into two new blades.

HBONed was executed by Ser Ilyn Payne with his own sword, Ice.

At the start of season two, Tywin Lannister had Ice melted down and forged two new swords from it.

He gave one of these swords to Jaime, who in turn gifted it to Brienne. She named it Oathkeeper. The second sword was given to King Joffrey, who named it Widow’s Wail. After Joffrey’s death, Jaime took the blade for himself.

Now, for the first time since Ned left Winterfell on season one, episode two, Ice was back in its rightful place of House Stark.


Tyrion repeated a joke we’ve heard before about how he’d prefer to die.

HBOPeter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister on ‘Game of Thrones.’

“I always pictured myself dying in my bed, at the age of 80 with a belly full of wine and girl’s mouth around my c—,” Tyrion told Jaime.

Clearly Tyrion loves this little jest, because Jaime finished his sentence for him.


We heard it the first time back on the first season, when Tyrion was surrounded by the mountain clans in the Vale.

HBOTyrion and Bronn facing down the mountain tribes on season one, episode eight, ‘The Pointy End.’

“How would you like to die, Tyrion son of Tywin?” said Shagga, son of Dolf. And Tyrion answered with his typical wit, saying the “belly full of wine” joke again.

The scene on season eight ended on a potentially more terrifying note, when Tyrion said perhaps he’d “march to King’s Landing and rip [Cersei] apart” after he was killed. Could this be yet another nod to the “Valonqar” prophecy? Fans would have to wait and see.


Arya and Gendry’s flirtatious forge scene was a shot-by-shot recreation of a season two moment between them.

HBOArya Stark watching Gendry on season eight versus season two.

When Arya walked up to the forge just as Gendry was starting to work on a weapon, the framing of the shots was identical to a scene from the end of season two, episode five, “The Ghost of Harrenhal.”


Here’s Gendry, now and then, in the same shot.

HBOGendry on season eight versus season two of ‘Game of Thrones.’

The actors Joe Dempsie (Gendry) and Maisie Williams (Arya) have aged along with their characters as the series has filmed over the past decade.

When they first began shooting, Williams was 12 years old. Now, she’s 22. Dempsie was about 23 by the time season two rolled around, and now he’s 31. Their characters are meant to be much closer in age (about 18 and 23, respectively).


Read more:
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Both Davos and Gilly were visibly moved by the sight of a young girl who reminded them of Princess Shireen Baratheon.

HBOA little Winterfell girl, Ser Davos, and Gilly on ‘Game of Thrones.’

The young girl had burn marks on her face, in the same place where Shireen’s greyscale covered her cheek.

Davos thought of Shireen as a daughter and was devastated to learn not only of her death but to hear she was executed by Stannis and Melisandre. Shireen helped both Davos and Gilly learn how to read. We saw the young princess bond with Gilly on season five, when they were both at Castle Black.


The scene was given added emotional weight with an instrumental version of the song Shireen once sang playing in the background.

Helen Sloan/HBODavos and Shireen with each other for the last time on ‘Game of Thrones.’

During a season three scene with Shireen, she was heard singing an eerie ballad called “It’s Always Summer Under the Sea.”

The melody of that song is the same music heard on the season eight scene when Davos has a visceral reaction to seeing the young Winterfell girl in front of him.


When Arya found out Gendry was a Baratheon, the weight of that revelation added fuel to a fun fan theory.

HBOMaisie Williams as Arya Stark on ‘Game of Thrones’ season eight.

Back on the pilot episode of “Game of Thrones,” Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark spoke in the crypts of Winterfell about their families.

“I have a son – you have a daughter,” Robert said. “We’ll join our houses.”

King Robert was referring to Joffrey and Sansa but, as we soon learned, Joffrey wasn’t Robert’s son at all but the bastard of Cersei and Jaime.

Fans have spent years hoping that line might foreshadow a romance between Gendry and Arya, the real son and daughter of Robert and Ned. And tonight they got their wish (just sans the arranged betrothal part).


Tyrion and Jaime mention the Siege of Pyke and Whispering Wood, two battles with loaded significance.

HBOTyrion, Davos, and Jaime together by the fire.

Tyrion calls Jaime the “fabled hero of the Siege of Pyke.” That fight happened decades before the contemporary events of “Game of Thrones,” but Jaime had a meaningful conversation with one of the Stark household soldiers about it on the first season.


On season one, Jaime was standing guard duty when Jory — one of Ned Stark’s most trusted men — came to him with a message.

HBOJaime and Jory together on ‘Game of Thrones’ season one, episode four, ‘Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things.’

The two exchanged pleasantries, and talk turned to the battle at the Siege of Pyke, where they had fought side by side. Jory mentioned how he nearly lost an eye fighting one of the Greyjoy men.


The next time Jaime and Jory saw each other was when Jaime and the Lannister men attacked Ned in the streets of King’s Landing.

HBOJaime killing Jory as he stares at Ned Stark on season one, episode five, ‘The Wolf and the Lion.’

Jory tried to take Jaime on single-handedly, but Jaime shoved his dagger through Jory’s eye, killing him instantly and bringing their earlier conversation around full circle.


Back on our season eight episode, Jaime calls himself the “fabled loser of the battle of Whispering Wood.”

HBOJaime and Theon standing before King Robb Stark on season one, episode nine, ‘Baelor.’

This was the first major battle Robb Stark won. He surprised the Lannister forces and captured Jaime, which eventually led to Jaime’s release with Brienne and the loss of his hand.

Given how Jaime-centric Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones” was, it’s fitting for us to be reminded of these two monumental character moments for Jaime. The first is an example of his previous cutthroat loyalty to his family, and the latter shows how far the relationship between House Stark and Lannister has come.


Meanwhile, that emotional knighting ceremony was a deep reference to George R.R. Martin’s books.

HBOBrienne is knighted by Jamie on ‘Game of Thrones.’

In addition to the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, Martin wrote three novellas set in Westeros about 100 years prior to the events of “Game of Thrones.”

Each novella follows the tales of a knight called Ser Duncan the Tall and a young Targaryen prince known simply as Egg. Ser Duncan even got name-dropped on the fourth season of “Game of Thrones,” when King Joffrey was reading through the White Book of the Kingsguard.


Ser Duncan the Tall is Brienne of Tarth’s ancestor.

Helen Sloan/HBOSer Brienne of Tarth in all her glory.

After years of fans speculating that the unusually tall Ser Duncan might be one of Brienne’s ancestors, Martin seemed to confirmed the theory at a convention in 2016. The three “Dunk and Egg” novellas were packaged into a single book called “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”

Knowing Brienne’s potential shared heritage with the chivalrous Ser Duncan made that incredible knighting ceremony all the more powerful when Jaime said, “Arise, Brienne of Tarth, a knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”


The song Podrick sang was pulled straight from the books, and it’s known as “Jenny’s Song.”

HBODaniel Portman as Podrick on ‘Game of Thrones’ season eight, episode two.

The song, renamed “Jenny of Oldstones” for the show, appears during one of Arya’s chapters in “A Song of Ice and Fire.” Learn more about the song and its hidden meaning here.

For now, here are the full lyrics to Podrick’s version:

“High in the halls of the kings who are gone Jenny would dance with her ghosts The ones she had lost and the ones she had found And the ones who had loved her the most The ones who’d been gone for so very long She couldn’t remember their names

“They spun her around on the damp old stones Spun away all her sorrow and pain And she never wanted to leave Never wanted to leave (x5)”


The version that played as the credits on the episode ran was by Florence and the Machine.

Helen Sloan/HBODaenerys and Jon Snow on ‘Game of Thrones.’

Just after Jon Snow dropped the bombshell news of his parentage on Daenerys, the Night King’s army arrived and the episode faded on an ominous note. Watch the lyric video for the Florence and the Machine version of “Jenny of Oldstones” here.


At the start of episode three, yet more small changes were made to the opening credits.

HBOThe Winterfell credits shot for season eight, episode three.

At the start of episode three, the Army of the Dead was right outside of Winterfell.

Just as predicted, the blue tiles crept all the way up to the grounds of House Stark’s beloved castle by the beginning of the third episode, “The Long Night.”


The Winterfell crypts were also changed slightly for episode three’s opening.

HBOThe Winterfell crypts on season eight, episode three’s opening.

For the first two episodes, the sweeping shot of the crypts showed flickering torches lining the hallway.

On episode three’s shot, the torches start going out at the end of the hallway. This was an early signal that the Army of the Dead would inflict its horror on the people inside the crypts, too.


Alys Karstark was with Bran and Theon Greyjoy at the start of the battle, which means she’s most likely dead.

HBOThe episode opened with a shot of Alys, Theon, and other soldiers heading to the godswood.

We can pretty confidently add Lady Alys Karstark to the list of characters who were killed during the battle, since Theon was left standing alone in front of Bran by the time the Night King showed up.


Read more:
All the ‘Game of Thrones’ characters who died in the Battle at Winterfell


Alys didn’t have any speaking lines this season but was shown on the first two episodes.

HBOAlys Karstark and Ned Umber back on the sixth season finale.

She and little Ned Umber were the two young highborns whom Jon Snow pardoned after the Battle of the Bastards (their fathers each fought for the Boltons). Ned was killed by the Night King on the eighth season premiere.

The deaths of both Alys and Ned mark the end of two great Northern houses. Though Winterfell survived the battle, the North has clearly been weakened in the fight.


The spell Melisandre used to light the Dothraki’s arakhs on fire is similar to the one used by Beric Dondarrion.

HBOThe Dothraki’s swords, also called arakhs, aflame before the battle.

Melisandre showed up just before the war against the Army of the Dead got started, and she used a Valyrian spell to ignite the blades of all the Dothraki horseriders.

Part of her spell included the phrase “āeksiō ōños,” which means “lord’s light” (as in the Red God or Lord of Light himself: R’hllor).


We know this thanks to Richard Dormer, the actor who plays Beric.

Helen Sloan/HBODormer said Beric’s firesword was also ignited using the power of R’hllor.

Dormer has said Beric uses that same Valyrian spell to ignite his sword, but he doesn’t even have to say the words.

The language creator David J. Peterson, who crafted the Valyrian and Dothraki phrases for the series, shared a translation of the incantation used by Melisandre on his website.

Here’s what she was saying in Valyrian: “Āeksios Ōño, aōhos ōñoso ilōn jehikās! Āeksios Ōño, ilōn misās! Kesrio syt bantis zābrie issa se ossȳngnoti lēdys!”

And the English translation: “Lord of Light, cast your light upon us! Lord of Light, defend us! For the night is dark and full of terrors!”


Some of the last words Edd Tollett said to Sam Tarly was an echo of their season-three encounter with the Army of the Dead.

HBORIP Edd. Now his watch has ended.

Just before he was killed by a wight, Edd told Sam he needed to get up from the ground.

Early on season three, Sam, Edd, and the rest of the Night’s Watch were fleeing from a White Walker attack when Sam collapsed to his knees, unable to go on anymore.


Edd and Grenn stopped and encouraged Sam to get up because he’d die if he didn’t move.

HBOEdd and Grenn on season three, episode two, ‘Dark Wings, Dark Words.’

Edd survived the Fist of the First Men, the battle of Castle Black (where Grenn met his death at the hands of a giant), Hardhome, and the Night King’s attack on the Wall.

Unfortunately Edd’s watch ended at the Battle of Winterfell.


Read more:
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Wights threw themselves off the castle walls, harking back to the season five battle episode, “Hardhome.”

HBOWights hurling themselves from Winterfell’s ramparts into the courtyard.

Sunday’s episode, “The Long Night,” was directed by Miguel Sapochnik.

Sapochnik made his mark on “Game of Thrones” back on the fifth season when he helmed Jon Snow’s showdown versus the Night King at Hardhome.


On “Hardhome,” one of the most striking moments was when the Night King had thousands of wights fling themselves off a cliff.

HBOThe wights at Hardhome.

They all crashed at the foot of the mountain but then immediately cracked their heads up and continued running. That was the moment when Jon Snow (and Edd) decided to bail on any effort of fighting, which led to his iconic first staredown with the Night King.


Arya passed along Jon Snow’s fighting advice to Sansa (even though her sister didn’t appear to learn the lesson).

HBOThis was a very familiar line to anyone who has rewatched the series or read the books.

When Sansa told Arya she didn’t know how to use the dragonglass dagger, Arya simply said: “Stick ’em with the pointy end.”

This was precisely what Jon Snow told her back on season one, episode two, when he gifted Needle to her before they said goodbye.


“First lesson,” Jon told Arya. “Stick ’em with the pointy end.”

HBOJon Snow and Arya on season one of ‘Game of Thrones.’

This line is particularly iconic in George R.R. Martin’s book series, because Arya thinks back to it at several points. The show even named a season-one episode after this line, in which Arya kills her first person (a young stable boy).

Martin also used this line back in 2010 as the title of a blog post announcing Maisie Williams had been cast in the role of Arya Stark.

Unfortunately Sansa didn’t put the advice into practice down in the crypts.


Arya’s first encounter with the wight army led to a throwback fight move she used on the sixth season with the Waif.

HBOArya fighting against a wight with her spear.

When Arya first fought a group of wights on the ramparts of Winterfell, she was using her new dragonglass-tipped spear in fight choreography that mimicked her season-six training with the Faceless Men.


Back when she was training, Arya had a triumphant moment when she stopped the Waif’s staff in this same position.

HBOArya was blind when she first started training with her staff.

To highlight this callback on Sunday’s episode, a variant of Arya’s theme music (a track called “Needle”) by Ramin Djawadi played as she used the same move on a wight.


Read more:
How Arya killing the Night King at the Battle of Winterfell was foreshadowed last season


The little girl who promised to protect Gilly and the others was briefly seen inside the crypt, though she didn’t do any fighting.

HBOThe young Winterfell girl had said she wanted to protect people.

This young girl was part of an important scene on last week’s episode, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” when she reminded both Ser Davos and Gilly of the now-dead Princess Shireen.

As with Sansa, it was a bit strange to know there was a person down in the crypts prepared to fight but never took the chance. Once the tombs broke open and the dead emerged, all heck broke loose and we didn’t catch sight of the young girl again.


When the Night King resurrected all the corpses, a familiar Dothraki man named Qhono was among their ranks.

HBOQhono’s corpse reanimated by the Night King.

Qhono, Edd, and Lady Lyanna Mormont were all shown reopening their eyes when the Night King used his powers to raise the dead.


Qhono was one of the Dothraki who took Daenerys prisoner at very end of the sixth season, but he went on to serve as her guard.

HBOQhono and Tyrion Lannister on ‘Game of Thrones’ season seven.

He was present when Jon Snow first arrived to Dragonstone and at the “Spoils of War” battle on season seven.


Theon’s final moments in the godswood had a poignant connection to a key chapter in the book series.

HBOAlfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy on ‘Game of Thrones.’

Martin has so far published only five of his planned seven books in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. In the last published chapters told from Theon’s perspective, he’s only just barely breaking out of his tormented “Reek” persona.

Theon ponders death as “the sweetest deliverance he could hope for” and also thinks about Winterfell as his home. “Not a true home, but the best I ever knew,” he says to himself.

Theon wanders around Winterfell and finds himself in the godswood, where he speaks with the weirwood tree there.

“Please. A sword, that’s all I ask,” he says. “Let me die as Theon, not as Reek.”


In the books at this same time, Bran is still beyond the Wall and learning to use his powers.

HBOBran Stark using his skinchanging powers on ‘Game of Thrones.’

Theon in the books thinks he sees Bran’s face in the weirwood tree and hears whispers on the wind. This was most likely Bran using his greensight powers through the weirwood tree.

Though the events that lead Theon to the godswood are very different from his arc in Martin’s book, the moment when Bran tells Theon that Winterfell is his “home” too had extra meaning for people familiar with the book series.


Theon’s manner of death is a callback to the rousing speech he once gave at Winterfell.

HBOThe Night King killed Theon Greyjoy in the godswood.

After seeing how outnumbered he was, Theon opted for a hero’s death as he charged at the Night King with a spear.

The Night King easily deflected the blow and in turn stabbed Theon right through the belly.


Back on the second season finale, Theon delivered a rallying speech to the Iron Born about the “Battle of Winterfell.”

HBOTheon on season two of ‘Game of Thrones.’

After Theon took Winterfell from Bran, the Boltons came to reclaim the castle in the name of Robb Stark. Seeing he was surrounded, Theon thought they’d make a stand against the army outside Winterfell’s walls.

“We die today brothers,” Theon said to his men. “We die bleeding from a hundred wounds, with arrows in our necks and spears in our guts. But our war cries will echo through eternity. They will sing about the Battle of Winterfell until the Iron Islands have slipped beneath the waves. Every man, woman, and child will know who we were and how long we stood.”

Theon was promptly knocked out and betrayed by those men, but his speech takes on more weight now that we know how Theon will be a legendary part of the real Battle of Winterfell.


Arya’s surprise dagger-flip move was similar to one she pulled on Brienne last season, as well as a nod to Maisie Williams being right-handed.

HBOArya Stark facing down the Night King.

In what was one of the biggest surprises “Game of Thrones” has delivered in a while, Arya leaped at the Night King and was almost thwarted. He turned, grabbed her by the arm and neck, and seemed close to squeezing the life out of her.

But then Arya dropped her Valyrian steel dagger from her left hand, and caught it in her right hand. She stabbed the blade into his chest, instantly killing him and therefore the entire Army of the Dead.


Back on season seven, Arya trained with Brienne and the two came to a draw after Arya flipped her dagger from one hand into the other.

HBOArya and Brienne’s fight was a masterclass in choreography.

In addition to Arya and Brienne’s training, we think the left-to-right switcheroo is a fun nod to Maisie Williams’ experience of playing Arya Stark left-handed.

Arya is a lefty in George R.R. Martin’s books, and when 12-year-old Williams got the part she wanted to fully commit to the character.

“I’m right-handed, and when Mum was reading the first book, she told me about Arya being left-handed,” Williams told TV Guide in 2011. “From then on, I was like, ‘All right, I’m going to try to do everything left-handed.'”

And she did indeed learn most of the fight choreography left-handed, which makes her big final heroic Arya act all the more fun because she was able to show off her acquired ambidextrous skills.


Arya stabbed the Night King in the exact spot where dragonglass was shoved into his chest by the Children of the Forest.

HBOArya killing the Night King on ‘Game of Thrones.’

Arya was fast on the draw and found weakness in the Night King’s armour right where it mattered the most.


Read more:
9 ‘Game of Thrones’ characters that were recast, including the Night King


The showrunners said only Valyrian steel stabbed in that exact spot could have killed the Night King.

HBOThe flashback shown on season six of ‘Game of Thrones.’

“We knew it had to be Valyrian steel, to the exact spot where the Child of the Forest put the blade to create the Night King,” David Benioff said in HBO’s “Inside the Episode” segment. “And he’s uncreated by the Valyrian steel.”

Arya’s Valyrian steel dagger was given to her by Bran in that same godswood location last season. That scene itself was loaded with foreshadowing of Arya’s fated Night King encounter.


Davos was drawing a dagger so he could kill Melisandre before she allowed herself to die.

HBODavos in ‘The Long Night.’

When they last saw each other, Davos had just discovered the truth about Melisandre burning Princess Shireen alive. Jon Snow banished her from the North with the caveat that she would be “hanged as murderer” if she ever returned, and Davos promised to carry out the sentence himself.

He allowed her to stay and help their army, but by the time dawn was breaking Davos was clearly ready to kill Melisandre before he saw what she was doing.

She walked into the rising sun, removed her magical necklace (which concealed her real, hundreds-year-old body), and succumbed to her fated death.


Last but not least, the episode title “The Long Night” is linked to an early season-one scene and the developing “Game of Thrones” prequel series.

HBOOld Nan and Bran on season one, episode three, ‘Lord Snow.’

When Old Nan was telling Bran his favourite “scary story,” she mentioned “the Long Night” and how the White Walkers had first come to terrorize Westeros.

HBO has four “Game of Thrones” spin-off series in the works, with the first of these in the pilot stage. That prequel would take place around the Age of Heroes, which just so happens to be the lead-in point to the legendary Long Night.


For more “Game of Thrones” insights and analysis on all the best moments in the series, preorder the “The Unofficial Guide to ‘Game of Thrones'” now.

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