Last night’s Game of Thrones continues to raise the bar for what we can expect from the show, giving us an episode full of heart and drama but also heart-pounding action. And as usual, there were more than a few fine details scattered across the episode that called back to prior events in the series. With nearly 20 minutes of fiery dragon warfare, we’re not surprised if you might have missed a few of those details, so we’re rounding them up. Here’s the best ones we noticed from episode four, “The Spoils of War.”
Chaos is a Ladder
Let’s admit it: For all his expert political maneuvering, no one is mistaking Littlefinger for one of the good guys. Lord Baelish clearly a sleaze in more ways than one, but he has a way of making you think that he’s your sleaze. But the truth is Littlefinger is out for nobody but Littlefinger. Even his creepy predilection for Sansa didn’t stop him from selling her out to the Boltons when it suited him, something Sansa knows but has to pretend is NBD to keep the armies of the Vale on Team Stark.
But he still has a couple dozen secrets that would lead Sansa to execute him, if she learned of them, which is why hearing Bran throw Littlefinger’s “Chaos is a ladder” catchphrase from season 3 back in his face was so satisfying. He’s letting Baelish know that he knows exactly who he is and everything he’s done. The only thing stopping him from copping that knowledge to his family is that he’s no longer really a Stark or even Bran any more. Let’s not be surprised, though, if Littlefinger suddenly remembers there’s something he needs to take care of in the Vale.
Some Familiar Patterns
It was a good week for Jon Snow. Not only did he find the mountain of dragonglass, he also discovered ancient drawings from the Children of the Forest depicting the Long Night, where humans and Children banded together to fight the undead. Those artistic depictions of the White Walkers weren’t the only familiar images. We also saw a bunch of circular symbols and spirals, all imagery that the White Walkers have been known for in earlier seasons.
The same shapes were visible when the Children invented the first White Walker, implying that maybe the ice wights are mimicking their creators? The mystery of what exactly the shapes mean may not be clear until the end of the show, if even then.
The Legacy of Stannis
There are few signs left of Stannis on Game of Thrones. Even his former seat at Dragonstone had nary a hint of the would-be king when Daenerys arrived. But Stannis Baratheon lives on in the correct grammar of his most loyal subject. When Jon Snow asks “How many men do we have in the North to fight him? 10,000? Less?” Davos replies “Fewer.” It’s a callback to how Stannis would always correct anyone who spoke improperly (and a subtle reminder that no one likes “that guy”).
Jon Criticizes Jon
We swear, most of the conversations between Jon and Daenerys are loaded with references to past conversations. Last week we went over how small comments were meant to make Dany think of her brother Rhaegar (who also happens to be Jon Snow’s father). This week it’s Khaleesi’s turn to mirror something Jon Snow has heard in the past. In this case, it’s the words he spoke to The King Beyond The Wall, Mance Rayder, trying to convince him to kneel to Stannis. “Isn’t their survival more important than your pride?” Daenerys asks in the caves below Dragonstone.
Sounds awful familiar…
Back in season one, King Robert noted that “Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field.” Lady Olenna’s opinion aside, Jaime is no fool, he was just unfortunate enough to get caught in an open field by Daenerys and her army. The Dothraki quickly justified Robert’s comments, though, cutting through the Lannister infantry and easily breaking their ranks. It was always going to be a rout, even before Drogon showed up with the barbecue.
Starks at the Gate
This isn’t the first time Arya Stark has shown up at the doors to a castle and no one recognized her. Her interaction with the Stark guards in episode four mirrors a similar situation back in season one of the show where she accidentally leaves the Red Keep through a maze of secret underground passages and has to get back in through the front gate. The Lannister guards weren’t buying her identity either, but they quickly summoned her father when Arya threatened them.
Bonus Detail: The Field Of Fire