Game Of Thrones Episode 4: 27 Easter Eggs And References You Might Have Missed In "The Last Of The Starks"
By Michael Rougeau | @RogueCheddar and Phil Hornshaw | @philhornshaw on
Game of Thrones Season 8 spoilers ahead!
With just two episodes left in Game of Thrones' final season, check out what Missandei's line at the end of this episode meant, how many dragons are left in Westeros, and our best theories from Episode 4, "The Last of the Starks."
Whether you're loving or hating Season 8, there's one sentiment that many fans share at this point: We're looking forward to the end. Spoilers for Game of Thrones Seaason 8, Episode 4 ahead.
Episode 4, "The Last of the Starks," saw big secrets revealed and some notable characters killed. Dany's war effort hasn't taken this many hits since those stoned wizards stole her dragons in Season 2, and even her own closest advisers are starting to plot against her. It's never looked worse for the Dragon Queen, who's now down to just one dragon.
We know another, final big battle is coming at some point in the last two episodes, and we've gotten an Episode 5 preview trailer to tease what awaits this coming Sunday. We also have new theories about where things may go from here. Cleganebowl seems to be approaching, Arya seems intent on crossing off at least one more name from her list, and Bronn has re-inserted himself into the Lannister's family problems.
One thing that's stayed consistent up through Episode 4: Game of Thrones is full of Easter eggs, callbacks to previous seasons, and references to the books. Here are the ones we spotted. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.
1. Stopped In Their Tracks
The tiles of the board in the opening credits had, until this week, been tracking the White Walkers' progress as they marched south toward Winterfell. In Episode 4, the tiles were still blue down to the Starks' home, but that's where the dead's progress stopped.
2. The Lord of Storm's End
When Dany legitimized Gendry, she granted him a castle, too: Storm's End. It hasn't played a large role in the show, but Storm's End is the traditional seat of House Baratheon. As the king, Robert Baratheon held King's Landing, while he gifted Dragonstone to his brother Stannis after defeating the Targaryens and ousting them from their longtime seat. Storm's End was held by their youngest brother, Renly, before his death in an earlier season.
One last note: Storm's End has played a much larger role in the A Song of Ice and Fire books. Author George R.R. Martin occasionally gives fans previews of unreleased material, and we learned from an unpublished Winds of Winter chapter that the castle will soon be taken by Jon Connington and the other Aegon Targaryen--two characters who don't exist in the show at all.
Game Of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 The Last of the Starks Breakdown!
Watch Ryan, Lucy, Dave, and Tamoor dissect Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 4 above, and keep reading for more Easter eggs and references.
3. A Bastard's Name
In the same scene as above, Gendry is referred to as "Gendry Rivers." This is a goof on a couple of levels. Firstly, Gendry's bastard name would be Waters, not Rivers, because he was born in the Crownlands (King's Landing), not the Riverlands. Secondly, only acknowledged, noble-born bastards get fancy geographical surnames. Up until this moments, Gendry was officially just a peasant from King's Landing, so he really wasn't Gendry Rivers or Waters.
4. The Lord of Light Hath Spoken
Davos didn't get much to do this episode, but he did ask one important question: What's up with the Lord of Light now that the Night King has been defeated? The Red God pulled a lot of strings to get all these pieces where they needed to be. Is that the end of R'hllor's story? We've been wondering that ourselves, and unless the show addresses it in the next two episodes, we might just have to keep on wondering.
5. Them vs. Us
The line "We may have defeated them, but we still have us to contend with" is an acknowledgment of the subversion of what many fans thought would be the show's ultimate conflict in its final season. The fact that the forces of the living dispatched the army of the dead in a single fight was pretty surprising if you've been paying attention, considering basically every character we're supposed to believe is smart, insightful, or empathetic has been saying for years that this would be the apocalypse. But now that the White Walker threat is over, they can go back to fighting with each other. Hooray?
6. All Hail King Jon
The show has been setting the stage for a Dany-vs.-Jon conflict for a while now, including in Episode 4's early scenes. Pay attention to Dany's face here as Tormund loudly expounds on what a tremendous leader Jon is. Dany lately has inspired more fear than actual loyalty, and this may be the moment when she fully grasps which way the winds are blowing.
7. Dragon Spice Latte
In the same scene: Someone forgot to hide Emilia Clarke's coffee cup before they called "action." Listen, we get it: Filming a show of this scale must be exhausting. We all need a caffeine hit now and then. But that doesn't mean we're ever going to stop laughing at this massive gaffe.
8. Tyrion's Drinking Game
Tyrion likes to hang out with people and get them to drink and talk with him. To facilitate that, way back when he first was hanging out with Shae and Bronn in Season 1 with the Lannister army, Tyrion invented a drinking game that's a bit of a spin on our world's "never have I ever." Tyrion makes a guess about someone's past: If he's right, that person drinks, and if he's wrong, Tyrion drinks and someone else gets a turn. He has brought the game up a few times with various other people--and sometimes it brings up painful memories, the way it did when he played it with Brienne and Jaime during the victory feast at Winterfell.
9. Justice For Tysha
During their drinking game, Brienne references Tyrion's first marriage, a story the dwarf recounted back in Season 1. He foolishly married a young girl who turned out to be a prostitute, and his father, Tywin, had her gang-raped in front of him as punishment. It wasn't a pleasant tale.
Naturally this rustled Tyrion, causing him to bring up Brienne's virginity as retaliation. But some viewers got rustled too, since the scene reminded us that the show's version of events doesn't include the second part of that story: that the girl actually wasn't a prostitute, but just an innocent young girl, a revelation that makes Tywin seem even more monstrous (and takes place in the books just before Tyrion snaps and murders his father, lending that crime even more weight).
It also drove an even bigger wedge between Tyrion and Jaime, since the older Lannister brother was complacent in the lie for years. After the story was once again referenced without that resolution occurring in the third-to-last episode ever, any hope fans ever had of finding out the rest in the show died for good.
10. A Dog On A Mission
When he leaves Winterfell, Sandor Clegane isn't simply meandering south. He has a mission, and although it goes unstated in Episode 4, fans know what that mission is: to kill his douchebag brother in what has come to be known as "Cleganebowl." "There's only one thing that would make me happy," he says. Same, Hound. Same.
11. Insensitive Sandor
Sandor isn't exactly known for his empathy. He proved once again in this episode that he's a problematic character to root for with his insensitive comment to Sansa about her rape. "Heard you were broken in rough," he says. Nice one, Sandor.
The only thing worse was Sansa's lame insistence that "everything happens for a reason," or whatever. Guess the writers really couldn't be bothered this episode.
12. Little Bird
The Hound also calls Sansa "Little Bird," which was his nickname for her in earlier seasons (as well as in the books).
13. "That's not me"
After Daenerys legitimizes Gendry, he immediately goes to find Arya, professing his love for her and asking her to marry him. Gendry is now lord of Storm's End, and wants Arya to be his lady--but everybody knows asking Arya to be a lady is a bad call. "That's not me," Arya tells him, letting him down easy. It's a callback to two key moments: First, Arya told her father Ned Stark "That's not me" when he talked about her marrying and being a lady. The conversation was what led Ned to signing Arya up for water dancing lessons, setting her on the path of assassinhood.
The line got another mention in Season 7, when Arya was heading to Winterfell to find Jon, Bran, and Sansa, after she'd dealt with the Freys. While Arya was traveling through the woods, she was surrounded by a pack of wolves, led by a direwolf that turned out to be Nymeria. Back in Season 1, Arya released her direwolf into the woods near the King's Road after she bit Joffrey, because Arya knew Queen Cersei would have the wolf killed. When Nymeria reappeared, wild and apparently in charge of the smaller wolves of the area, Arya tried to get Nymeria to come with her to Winterfell. She realized the wolf needed to be free, muttering, "That's not you," as Nymeria turned and headed back into the forest.
14. The Dothraki: Not All Dead (Apparently)
At the start of Episode 3, Winterfell's defenders very stupidly sent what appeared to be the entire Dothraki horde charging to their immediate and pointless deaths. Episode 4 revealed that some of them apparently lived. And here we spent an entire week believing that the Dothraki suffered a total genocide. Phew!
15. The New Prince of Dorne
The Dorne storyline really hasn't come up at all this season, since the show cut it very short by unceremoniously murdering almost every character involved (and we have zero hope of ever seeing Ellaria Sand again since Cersei locked her in a dungeon with her rotting daughter). But "the new prince of Dorne" came up very briefly in Episode 4. Who this might be is anyone's guess, since the show will probably never mention it again. Quentyn Martell seems like the most obvious candidate, since he was a somewhat important books character, but there's never been any sign in the show that he exists, so who knows.
16. "The Imp"
Tyrion refers to himself as the Imp during his conversation with Jaime. We haven't heard this nickname in a while. Tyrion is using it in a self-deprecating way, to play up his infamous promiscuity as he asks Jaime for sexy details.
17. Details, Please
Tyrion used to be a regular at various brothels, but that all changed when he met Shae. Tyrion fell in love with her and tried to protect her through his time in King's Landing, but when she testified against him at his trial for killing Joffrey, it broke his heart. Even worse, Tyrion found Shae in his father Tywin's bed--and then the two tried to kill each other, with Tyrion murdering Shae in the end. It was very horrible and traumatic.
Since then, Tyrion hasn't been with anybody else--he visited a brothel briefly in Volantis, but couldn't bring himself to go through with the deed. He might have changed his mind, but Tyrion got grabbed by Jorah Mormont before that could happen. So when Tyrion says he hasn't been with a woman in years, he isn't exaggerating, and the pain from Shae is still with him.
18. The Deal
Bronn finally makes it up to Winterfell in Episode 4, conveniently after everything has been sorted out with the army of the dead and the White Walkers, and manages to walk right in with a crossbow and find Tyrion and Jaime hanging out together. Bronn is pretty upset with the Lannister Bros., who, despite constantly talking about paying debts, owe the sellsword quite a lot (specifically a castle and a lordship). Cersei sent Bronn to kill the brothers back in Episode 1 of Season 8, "Winterfell," with the crossbow Tyrion used to kill Tywin Lannister, and for a while there it seems like he might even do it.
Bronn talks it out with Jaime and Tyrion instead of murdering them, but threatens them a bit (and punches Tyrion) to let them know he's serious. He references the deal Tyrion and Bronn made way back in Season 1 as they traveled out of the Vale together: If anyone ever tried to buy Bronn's loyalty away from Tyrion, Tyrion would double whatever they offered. As it happens, Cersei offered Bronn the castle of Riverrun, so Jaime and Tyrion offer him an even better castle: Highgarden. Bronn sides with the brothers, which means he's got to be on Cersei's list at this point, and that could definitely go bad for him.
19. Empty Castles
Bronn is going to get a castle out of all this if it kills him (and it honestly might). Cersei apparently promised him Riverrun, which is currently either empty or being manned by a skeleton crew of Lannister forces (since Arya murdered every last Frey). Also, Edmure Tully may still be in the dungeon, although there's little hope of ever seeing him again on the show.
Meanwhile, Highgarden too is most likely completely empty right now, since the Lannisters sacked the former Tyrell headquarters before Dany's Unsullied could capture it for the Dragon Queen. Where will Bronn wind up? After his threatening meeting with Jaime and Tyrion this episode, hopefully at the bottom of a shallow grave. Nobody threatens the Lannister boys!
20. Northerners in the South
As Sansa wisely pointed out, the men in her family don't generally do well when they head south toward the capitol. Ned lost his head, obviously, but before that, Ned's brother and father were also murdered by a monarch in King's Landing, although in that case it was the Mad King Aerys Targaryen and not a Lannister.
21. Bye Ghost
The last we saw of Jon's former direwolf, Ghost, he was charging into battle with the Dothraki, and for all we knew that was it. We learned in Episode 4 that he escaped the fighting--albeit not unscathed, based on his bloody stump of an ear. We also learned that Jon is actually the least sympathetic, most evil psychopath in Westeros, judging by the way he coldly dismissed his faithful pet and friend without so much as a pat. That, or the showrunners have always resented the effect the direwolves' presence has had on their CG budget and they're bad writers with a poor understanding of symbolism. One way or the other, this was apparently it for Ghost.
22. A Real Sam Jr.
Sam and Gilly have for years pretended that her baby with her rapist father is actually Sam's, even going so far as to name him Sam Jr. Now that Gilly is knocked up once again, as the duo revealed in what may well have been their final scene ever, will they name the new kid after Craster? Let's hope not.
23. Something Even Varys Didn't Know
One question fans have been asking for a very long time is whether Varys, the Spider and Master of Whispers, knows of Jon's true parentage. Throughout the books over the years it's seemed more and more likely that Varys is a Targaryen loyalist underneath all his layers of mystery and misdirection, so the question of how he would react to Jon's identity--if he didn't already know--has felt important. This week, we got the answer: Varys thinks Jon would be a better ruler than Dany, and it seems like he's going to take steps to make that happen.
24. One Last Eunuch Joke
Of course, Tyrion had to slip one last Eunuch joke into his conversation with Varys. Hopefully Varys doesn't take it too hard and murder Tyrion while he's assassinating Dany in the next two episodes. (Calling it now!)
25. Euron: As Dumb As He looks?
In Episode 4, Cersei played a card she's been using against men throughout Season 7 and Season 8, telling Euron she's pregnant. Cersei also told Jaime and Tyrion, and the two of them think the baby is Jaime's, while Cersei told Euron the baby is his. There's some kind of deception going on here, whether it's Cersei lying to Euron, or Cersei lying to everyone--but Tyrion mentioning the baby during his attempted negotiation at King's Landing at the end of the episode might have just tipped Euron off that the baby isn't his, since Tyrion should have no way of knowing about it, unless it's much older news than Euron thought. Then again, maybe he just thinks Tyrion heard about the pregnancy from Qyburn one second earlier? Or maybe he got it from a spy and a really, really fast raven? Who knows, since Euron seems like kind of a dope.
26. Jaime Is A Murderer
Despite having made great strides in being not actively horrible, Jaime still harbors a lot of guilt about his own past deeds. He basically breaks up with Brienne by listing off his greatest hits of being a jerkbag, talking about tossing Bran out a window, threatening to kill everyone in Riverrun, and killing his own cousin. That last one was a big moment you might not remember: When Jaime was a prisoner of Robb Stark in Season 2, he was locked up with his cousin, Ser Alton Lannister, who acted as a messenger between Robb and Tywin. Despite having a bonding moment with Ser Alton, Jaime grabbed him and beat his face in, using his dying cousin to give him a chance to kill his guard--the son of Rickard Karstark--and escape. That act created a schism between the Starks and the Karstarks that was part of what eventually led to Robb's downfall (and had repercussions long afterward as well).
27. Qyburn, King of Carnage
During the meeting of Hands, when Tyrion tried to appeal to Qyburn's better nature (he definitely doesn't have one), the former Imp mentioned the carnage that Dany and Cersei's fighting will inevitably cause. If Tyrion really knew anything about Qyburn, he would understand that carnage is more of a dangling carrot for the disgraced Citadel dropout than something to be avoided. Qyburn has a major, uh, passion for death and corpses, practices necromancy (successfully!), and is apparently intimately familiar with the sound of dying children's screams. Yeah, that argument probably isn't going to work on him, Tyrion.