Game of Thrones is known for two things: fan theories and references. This week's episode was filled with gems, like the scene in the cave with the drawings by the Children, as well as an excellent fight between Brienne and Arya, not to mention the best battle of the season so far between Lannister and Targaryen. But that's not all! There are several Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 4 Easter eggs in this week's episode, "The Spoils of War."
It's interesting that as the show goes on, the showrunners have taken to drawing so heavily on their own history. Some of these Easter eggs could easily be stand-alone articles, they're so dense with callbacks to earlier seasons and references. This may have been the shortest episode to date, but it was also the most densely packed so far, with a full dozen callback sections in a single 50 minutes. And that's just the ones I caught after three viewings -- each of which uncovered more than the last time.
So where have you seen that image before? Or why *does* that line seem so familiar? Let's run down all the callbacks and Easter eggs tucked away in Game Of Thrones' fourth episode of Season 7.
We opened this week on Bronn asking, nay, demanding the castle that Jaime Lannister offhandedly promised him to get him to go to Dorne in Season 5. He got Bronn to walk away from a nice castle and an engagement to Lollys with the promise of a bigger castle and prettier girl. (That engagement to Lollys itself is an Easter egg to book readers.)
Now Bronn's looking for Jaime to make good. Castles abound, if not pretty girls. He'll take Highgarden.
Arya Nearly Turned Away
The first time I saw this scene, I asked why did Bran get recognized last week when he's changed way more, and not Arya? I should have realized it was a callback. The scene is almost a word for word retread of this scene in Season 1, when Arya turns up at the Tower of the Hand and the guards think she's A) a boy and B) a liar.
Oddly enough, she looks almost the same too. Just slightly cleaner.
Stannis' snapping of "fewer" at Davos in Season 5 to correct "lesser" was a fan favorite. Seems like someone took grammar lessons, and is passing them on. Shireen would be proud.
Noah Syndergaard Cameo
So there was this really weird thing this summer where Game of Thrones teamed up with Major League Baseball as some sort of wack advertising campaign that made no sense to anyone, except that small slice of fandom that crosses both. (That happens to include Dan Weiss, David Benioff, and George R.R. Martin.)
We were also promised a sportsball cameo by Mets player Noah Syndergaard, which I'm sure means something to someone. Turns out he was just Lannister chum for Dany's fire.
"Isn't Their Survival More Important Than Your Pride?"
Did Dany's admonishment to Jon in the Cave scene sound familiar? It should. She took those words right out of Jon's own mouth, back in Season 5 when he tried to get Mance Rayder to bend his knee.
Chaos Is A Ladder
Did you scream when Bran recited those words back at Littlefinger because he was so stupid to say the word "Chaos"? I did.
Still one of the best speeches in all of Game of Thrones history. Let's hope Littlefinger stays away from Bran after that.
The Catspaw Dagger
This is indeed the Valyrian steel dagger that was sent by someone to kill Bran back in Season 1. It had been Littlefinger's, but he claimed he'd lost it to Tyrion. It's the lynchpin that along with Lysa's letter, set Catelyn off to start a war.
In the book, this is actually proven true. Tyrion did own it, and, via Tyrion's POV, we get enough puzzle pieces to put together that Joffrey stole it from Tyrion and sent it to kill Bran in a misguided attempt to please his "father" Robert, after he overheard him say the boy would be better off dead. Not because he knew what Bran had seen, or why he should die or anything.
The show on the other hand, has never attempted to resolve the mystery, leaving open the possibility to change the story and have it be Littlefinger who was lying, and ordered the hit on Bran.
No One & Syrio Forel
Everything in this fight scene is built from Arya's lessons with her earlier teachers. There's elements of her fantastic water dancing training throughout the first half.
There's also elements that reflect the work she did with the Waif on "how to function when you've been disarmed."
Personally, I need Sansa to stop worrying if she's on Arya's list or not and realize this is the foundation for one hell of a Queensguard.
Cave Writing: White Walker Symbols
I did an entire article already on these drawings, but there are two I want to draw your attention to, which are located at the feet of the drawing of the "First Men" that fought side by side with the Children during the Long Night.
On the left there's the swirl, which we've seen represents the tree where the first First Man was turned into a White Walker back in the Dawn Age:
And second, there's a circle with the straight line through it, which the White Walkers themselves made as a symbol out of body parts waaaaaaaaay back in the pilot episode:
Are they trying to communicate? The White Walkers also made the same tree symbol out of body parts in Season 2:
What does it mean?
Robert Baratheon Called It
You know what sort of battle you never want to be facing, Jaime?
Robert, tell him what he shouldn't ever do.
Forty thousand Dothraki screamers in an open field. That's where Jaime found himself this week. Robert Baratheon really knows his warfare, y'all.
Field of Fire 2.0
Jaime may have already been in a bad position vis-à-vis the Dothraki, but Robert never dreamed they would face three full-grown dragons. The resulting battle is being referred to by fans as "The Field of Fire 2.0." That's because there was already a terrible Lannister defeat by that name in the history books, right there on the plains of the Reach as they traveled across the south of Westeros to battle Aegon Targaryen and his dragons, who had recently taken the Crownlands as part of their conquest.
As you can see, the battle for the Reach went about as well for the Lannisters now as it did then. Turns out you don't want to face dragons on an open field, either.
Jaime Falling Like Bran
One fell through the air, the other through water, but both flew because of what someone tried to do for love.