Game of Thrones is one of those shows where easter eggs and callbacks abound. Based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the series has slowly diverged from its ultra-faithful to the source material first season. But that doesn't mean it's not totally throwing out the ability to reference the text, whether it's using Harry Strickland and the Golden Company (who have a different purpose in the novels), or having Cersei obsess on elephants. But these hidden details in Game of Thrones Season 8 episode 1 are the ones fans loved the most because they all call back to the pilot episode.
The Game of Thrones pilot was the first introduction to the world of Westeros, and the first time fans got a look at if the show would be able to translate the source material to screen. It may not be an hour that makes the series' Top Ten, but it is a brilliant way to establish the dozens of lead characters all introduced in the first fifty minutes of a now 68-hours-and-counting series.
With the show ready to bring it all to a close, let's look at how everything came full circle and the end is the beginning is the end.
Season 8 opened with an image of a young boy, desperate to get a view of the procession of the King and Queen coming to his town, in the end climbing a tree for a good look. It's a callback to Bran's climbing the Winterfell walls to see Robert and Cersei's arrival in the pilot.
Arya Then, Arya Now
Arya never lines up with her family. In the pilot, she was hiding, disguised as a soldier. Here she merely slips into the crowd, unnoticed by all, but getting a good look at everyone as they ride by.
Back then, Sansa was dazzled by Cersei, fooled by furs and finery. Now she is Cersei, voice dripping with cold disdain as she judges Daenerys for her furs and finery, and is unimpressed.
The Heart Tree, Then and Now
The Ned and Cat had a heart-to-heart under the Weir tree, but there's a gulf between them. Now Jon and Arya have a heart-to-heart in the same spot, but there's a gulf between them.
The Return of the Brothel
The first brothel scene in several seasons, Bronn's boasting in front of prostitutes brings to mind the first time fans saw Tyrion in the pilot.
Dany's First Horse Ride vs Jon's First Dragon Ride
Then, Dany rode off on a horse with Drogo to her terrible wedding night, a maid unable to control the situation. Here she flies off with Jon, now firmly in control, as she's the one telling him "let's get it on."
The Scenes In The Crypt
In the pilot, Ned and Robert are BFFs, but Ned lies to Robert about the Targaryens being gone because he knows the truth will destroy their friendship.
In the Season 8 premiere, Sam and Jon, BFFs are faced discussing the same thing, Lyanna, and Robert's Rebellion. But here Sam tells Jon the truth, despite the risk to their friendship.
White Walker Messages
Then the White Walkers nailed a wildling child up and laid body parts around it in a gory message. Now, they nail a Northern child up and display body parts around it the same way.
Jaime & Bran
The pilot episode ends with Jaime, at the height of his power and arrogance, throwing Bran out a window. The Season 8 premiere ends with bran, now at the height of his power, welcoming Jaime back again.