After nearly a decade of production, Game of Thrones will begin its final season on Sunday, April 14. As you prepare to watch the final episodes, now is a good time to look back on the show’s history to see what you’ve missed over the years. Although Game of Thrones is known for shocking, climactic moments, there are plenty of cool Easter eggs hidden through the show’s seven (soon to be eight) seasons. Here are some of the best of the batch.
Note: This article contains spoilers for seasons 1-7 of Game of Thrones, as well as the Song of Ice and Fire novels.
The Iron Throne is one of the most iconic objects in Game of Thrones, a gnarly seat forged from the swords of the enemies Aegon vanquished when he conquered the Seven Kingdoms. Apparently, Aegon faced more than lords and knights; he may also have fought … a great wizard? As one user in the Song of Ice and Fire subreddit noticed, one of the swords in the Iron Throne appears to be none other than Glamdring, aka Foe-hammer, the sword Gandalf acquired in The Hobbit and later used in The Lord of the Rings. Although only the hilt of the sword is visible, the pommel, grip, and crossguard are unmistakably similar.
This is perhaps more homage than Easter egg, but the Ironborn, Game of Thrones’ incompetent Vikings analog, have a religion that will be familiar to readers of H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmic horror stories. The Ironborn worship a deity called the Drowned God, who dwells within the oceans, and their prayer is “What is dead may never die.” Even people with a passing knowledge of the Cthulhu mythos will recognize the similarities to Cthulhu, a horrifying cosmic being who slumbers at the bottom of the ocean, and the Ironborn’s prayer is similar to a line in Lovecraft’s famous couplet “That is not dead which can eternal lie.” Is it possible that, when the White Walkers march south of the Wall, the Ironborn priests will summon the public domain Cthulhu to stomp some ice zombies? We can dream.
One of the fun things about inventing a fake language for a show is that you can slip in some jokes that only the most dedicated fans might notice. Writer David Peterson created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for Game of Thrones, and he also got a chance to translate a classic bit of British comedy into Valyrian. In the episode Breaker of Chains, when Daenerys marches her army on Meereen, her foes send out a champion to duel a warrior of her choosing. Before the fight, he takes some time to hurl out a few insults in Low Valyrian. In addition to some choice quips about anatomy, Peterson says that the champion also drops some of the Frenchman’s taunts from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Apparently, Rhaella Targaryen was a hamster, and Mad King Aerys smelled of elderberries.
For years, Jon Snow’s parentage was one of the story’s big mysteries, and one of the strongest, most popular theories among fans was that Jon’s parents were Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Season 7 confirmed this theory, but years before, the show seemingly dropped a reference to the theory, hidden in the background of a scene. In the episode Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things, when Jon is talking to fellow members of the Night’s Watch, one of the beams in the background has the letters “R” and “L” carved into it. An homage to children’s horror writer R.L. Stine? Or a clear hint to fan theorists that the showrunners are reading their forum posts?
The Game of Thrones writers really like their Monty Python references. The episode Breaker of Chains sports what is likely another reference to the Frenchman scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. When Davos comes to Shireen for a reading lesson, she chastises him for pronouncing the word knight “ka-nigit,” which is the way the French guard pronounces it when taunting King Arthur and his knights.
The Night King has a number of fearsome undead creatures in his thrall: Wildlings, bears, even a zombie dragon. His army also sports some talented metal musicians. In the season 7 finale, as the undead dragon Viserion melts the Wall, the camera pans over the waiting legion of wights, at which point metalheads may be able to spot Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher, members of the band Mastodon, hanging out in the vanguard. Mastodon previously appeared as wildling fighters in Hardhome, before dying and coming back as wights. If Viserion failed to crack the wall, we assume Mastodon was there to knock it down with the power of crunchy riffs.
Given the trauma that the Red Wedding inflicted on viewers, they could be forgiven for missing the celebrity cameo in the scene. Before all the stabbing and screaming, Walder Frey throws what seems to be a pretty raucous party, and despite being one of the slimiest lords in Westeros, he even managed to get Coldplay drummer Will Champion to show up and play drums. Even though it’s called the Red Wedding, for a brief time it was all yellow.
Daenerys’ three dragons are some of the most famous firebreathers in pop culture right now, but Game of Thrones is humble enough to pay homage to the dragons who have come before. In a scene from season 1, while bathing with his sister’s handmaiden, Viserys regales the woman with stories of Targaryen glory and lists the names of some of the family’s dragons. Among the names he drops is Vermithrax, the name of the main antagonist from the 1981 movie Dragonslayer.
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