WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
So far in Season 7 of “Game of Thrones,” David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have been quick to foreshadow groundbreaking plot points.
We’re talking realm-changing stuff here. Sure, much of it is inevitable, but fans are still anxious and chomping at the bit.
Take for example Episode 3, “The Queen’s Justice,” when Jon Snow states, “I’m not a Stark,” as one of Daenerys’ dragons briefly nosedives right overhead.
Clue: Jon will soon find out he’s a Targaryen heir! (Dear Jon, please find out before any more sparks fly with Dany, though the practice aligns with the Targaryen brand of intimacy.)
Or, as another example, in the same episode, the Red Woman, Melisandre, tells Varys that she will return to this region of Westeros to die in the “strange country,” right as she warns Varys of a similar fate.
So, should fans assume that Varys will not live through this epic contest for the Iron Throne?
In hindsight, there have been a number of occasions where Benioff and Weiss gently pulled back the curtain, to show viewers what was ahead. That dates back to the very first season — when the showrunners still worked with full George R.R. Martin source material.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at four different scenes from prior seasons that either teased a later event or that still have a chance to come to fruition in the penultimate season.
King Robert’s warning
Robert Baratheon was a usurper. He seized the throne during a rebellion which bears his name. He was in a loveless — and actually childless — marriage to Cersei Lannister, all for strategic reasons. The Lannisters had their funds and Tywin’s tactical brilliance.
But when he wasn’t talking about ale and women, Robert was an intelligent and practical man — more so than he is given credit for. In Season 1, Episode 5, he admonishes Cersei over a looming Targaryen threat — when said Targaryen claimant has a Dothraki horde behind him.
“Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field. They leave us in our castles. They go from town to town, looting and burning, killing every man who can’t hide behind a stone wall…” Robert said.
“How long do the people of the Seven Kingdoms stand behind their absentee king, their cowardly king hiding behind high walls? When do the people decide that Viserys Targaryen is the rightful monarch after all?”
When Cersei tells him that they’d still outnumber Targaryen forces, Robert says that “one” is actually stronger than “five” (armies or kingdoms under their banner) — because that one collective group is unified and poised to accomplish its mission.
“One army, a real army, united behind one leader with one purpose,” he says. “Our purpose died with the Mad King.”
Season 7 happens to find Dany sailing across the Narrow Sea and making a pit stop at Dragonstone — with a Dothraki army. Maybe, just maybe, Robert was spelling out the extinction of House Lannister way back in Season 1.
Lady Olenna predicts the fall of House Tyrell?
In Season 3, when Olenna arrives in King’s Landing, a young Tyrell girl shows her an embroidered rose she’d sewn.
Olenna’s seen enough of that sigil in her day and shows it: “Another golden rose. How original? I eat from plates stamped with roses, I sleep in sheets embroidered with roses, I have a golden rose painted on my chamber pot, as if that makes it smell any better. Roses are boring, dear.
“‘Growing strong.’ Ha! The dullest words of any house. ‘Winter is coming.’ Now that’s memorable. ‘We do not sow.’ Strong, strong; those (are the) houses you watch out for. Direwolves and krakens, fierce beasts. But a golden rose growing strong? That strikes fear in the heart.”
While the Queen of Thorns may not have actually been seeing the Great Sept exploding when she said this, she certainly knew that House Tyrell would have to outsmart its enemies if it wanted to survive. And for a while, it did.
That’s what makes the end of Season 7, Episode 3 so tragic. At least you told it how it was, Olenna.
Daenerys visits the House of the Undying
In Season 2, Daenerys and Jorah make their way to the House of the Undying in Qarth — home of the city’s warlocks. Inside, Dany experiences vivid illusions — of the Great Hall of the Red Keep and in a tent with Drogo and their son. (She is eventually able to kill the warlock Pyat Pree thanks to Drogo’s fire breathing.)
Yet, the most relevant part of this vision comes as she emerges from the base of the Wall in the North. She traipses over a snow pack and moves through Winter. At the time, it was the first tease of Ice and Fire, and now stands to be a huge indicator on what’s next.
How does she respond to Jon’s otherworldly requests at Dragonstone? How do they help each other? Do they fall in love? Do they stop the Night King? Better yet, when does she find out she’s his aunt?
While there are certainly questions remaining, the House of the Undying teased an eventual rendezvous between two great houses and two great characters.
Jon Snow and Tyrion meet in Winterfell
In Season 1, Episode 1, “Winter is Coming,” Tyrion Lannister meets Ned Stark’s bastard, Jon Snow, in Winterfell. It’s a part of King Robert Baratheon’s royal progress through the North — as Robert enlists Ned’s help in bolstering the monarchy by getting the Stark brand behind it.
But Tyrion, ever the wise bibliophile and drinker, makes a grand entrance shortly after, as Jon is training with a sword.
Tyrion at first talks down to Jon, emphasizing the word “bastard” and making it seem like he has it all figured out. (Season 7, with Tyrion as battle commander, shows us otherwise!) Right when you want to criticize Tyrion’s tone, you realize there’s a motive behind it.
It’s all a trick to get Jon to toughen up.
“Let me give you some advice, bastard,” Tyrion says. “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.”
Jon chimes in, saying, “What do you know about being a bastard?”
Tyrion returns with, “All dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes.”
That last line alone factored into a tactical Season 7 decision, but Tyrion’s words cut even deeper than that.
It reflects Jon’s currently open-ended ancestry (from his perspective) and his identity crisis. It sheds light on his inner turmoil over his status as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and then King in the North. Altogether, the speech has played into current “Thrones” events, and likely will continue to do so.
Be sure to tune in Sunday night at 9 p.m. for Episode 4, “The Spoils of War.”