Game of Thrones: 8 Easter Eggs, References, and Callbacks You Might Have Missed in “Stormborn” – Vanity Fair
Season 7, Episode 2 of Game of Thrones had plenty of plot twists and shocking moments to keep even the most casual viewer coming back for more. But after a few re-watches, even more layers of the story come to light. Here’s a spoiler-free look at all the book and show references, callbacks, and Easter eggs you might have missed from “Stormborn.”
Destiny: The show is really ramping up the expectations for the pre-destined, inevitable meeting between Co-Chosen People Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. There’s a nice echo-y Season 5 callback in this scene where Daenerys gets her first taste of what kind of ruler Jon is. Melisandre extolls Jon’s virtues as Lord Commander and mentions how he took the wildlings under his protection and united the North. Two seasons ago, Samwell Tarly read a similar account to Maester Aemon about how Daenerys refused to leave Meereen “until the freedom of the former slaves is secure.” (That Season 5 scene also has a nice hidden nod towards Jon’s Targaryen ancestry when Aemon says “it’s a terrible thing” to be a Targaryen alone in the world” and the camera immediately cuts to Jon entering the room.)
But the point here is that Daenerys and Jon both have similar, compassionate ruling styles. He may prove an important influence on her as the lure of her family’s history and the echoes of her ancestors’ approach to conquering the Seven Kingdoms continues to tug on her. Much has been made of Daenerys and her connection to her father, the Mad King Aerys. But this episode (full of Season 1 callbacks) also found a lot of room to remind us of Daenerys’s brother, Viserys.
When the two of them are alone, Lady Olenna makes her case to Daenerys as to why her advice should be heeded over Tyrion’s. The Queen of Thorns rightly says that she’s outlived many of the clever men in Westeros. But maybe Daenerys shouldn’t listen too closely to Olenna in this case. Tyrion’s advice that Daenerys not be the Queen of Ashes seems pretty sound, no? And we should recall that the last person to be described as a monarch of ashes in the show was Littlefinger. Varys used this language to warn Olenna about Lord Baelish’s scheming ways back in Season 3.
But it’s worth remembering that Olenna ignored this advice and joined forces with Littlefinger anyway in order to poison King Joffrey. For the greater good? Maybe. But everything went south for Margaery et. al. in the end, and Olenna is left the Queen of the ashes of House Tyrell thanks to the chaos she and Littlefinger helped create. Olenna also cautions Daenerys to “be a dragon.”
This, of course, was Viserys’s favorite title for himself. Daenerys has largely ignored branding herself this way, preferring the softer, more nurturing title “mother of dragons.” Olenna’s talk of dragons and sheep here echoes Arya’s declaration (in the guise of Walder) that if you “leave one wolf alive the sheep are never safe.” These attitudes position the Targaryens and the Starks as fearsome predators vs. the more vulnerable “sheep” of Westeros. Look for Cersei to quote her father from Season 1 and the pattern will be complete.
But Daenerys and Jon have always been protective of their flocks and that, in the end, may position them to be the best candidates to rule the realm or, at least, help save it from the oncoming storm.
One last note on being the ruler of ashes. In Season 2, Daenerys had a vision in the House of the Undying of a half-demolished King’s Landing throne room. It seems as though it’s snowing inside, which could either be, many have guessed, as a premonition that winter will come all the way down south to the capitol or, perhaps, as a symbol of Jon Snow’s destiny to sit on the Iron Throne. But some have also wondered if Daenerys is actually seeing ashes here. The roof looks burned out as if torched by a dragon. But who knows if this dream is prophetic at all? Thanks to Cersei’s lion-themed Lannister makeover of King’s Landing, the throne room doesn’t even look like that anymore.
A Translation Error: Speaking of the twin destinies of Jon and Dany, you can