Game of Thrones is the perfect TV series for fans that love to be kept on their toes. Its characters often conceal their motives. It’s offered countless plot twists and shocking moments. And it rewards fans that pay attention to little details. Sometimes the seemingly small moments on Game of Thrones turn out to be huge ones.
The hit HBO series often foreshadows future events. It can take years for these narrative coups to pay off. But when they do, and fans put two and two together, it’s often enormously satisfying. Here is a moment from each Game of Thrones season so far that predicted some of the series’ biggest moments.
1. Season 1: Time of the season
Game of Thrones’ first season laid the groundwork for the rest of the series in every conceivable way. It introduced us to the varying alliances and the wide world of Westeros, and it also offered up a rallying cry for fans.
The Starks’ motto, “Winter is coming,” is one of Game of Thrones’ most memorable and quotable lines. It cropped up right away – it’s even the title of the pilot episode. Since then, it has been repeated time and again by everyone from Ned Stark to Jon Snow.
But now that we’re seven seasons in, it’s clear that it’s also been one of the most obvious foreshadowing lines in the series. There’s the obvious part: Winter has come to Westeros, and with it, the White Walkers and a whole lot of havoc. But the winter in question could also be seen as the misery and bloodshed that have befallen all of the Starks since the very first episode.
2. Season 2: ‘A fool and a eunuch’
When we first met Theon Greyjoy, he was about as lusty and happy-go-lucky as a Game of Thrones character can get. As alliances began to shift in Winterfell, though, he started to get hungry for power — a change that would ultimately be his downfall.
In “A Man Without Honor,” the seventh episode of Season 2, Theon was preoccupied with the fact that Brann and Rickon had escaped his captivity in Winterfell. And he unloaded his frustration at the situation to Maester Luwin, telling him, “I’m looking at spending the rest of my life being treated as a fool and a eunuch by my own people.”
Little did Theon know how true his prediction would become. In Season 3, the tables turned after Ramsay Bolton tricked him into trusting him and then held him prisoner. In “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” Ramsay castrated Theon in a sadistic act of torture. A fool and a eunuch, indeed.
3. Season 3: The Rat Cook
One of the most compelling themes in Game of Thrones has been Arya’s quest for vengeance. But one of her murderous conquests was pointedly foreshadowed long before it happened.
In Season 3, Episode 10, “Mhysa,” while holed up in the night fort, Brann told his traveling companions the legend of the Rat Cook:
[He was] just a cook in the Knight’s Watch. He was angry at the king for something, I don’t remember. When the king was visiting the night folk, the cook killed the king’s son, and cooked him into a big pie with onions, carrots, mushrooms and bacon. That night, he served the pie to the king. He liked the taste of his son so much, he asked for a second slice. The gods turned the cook into a giant white rat who could only eat his own young. He’s been roaming the night fort ever since, devouring his own babies. No matter what he does, he’s always hungry.
The story of the Rat Cook was well-known within the Game of Thrones universe — at least amongst the Stark clan. When we heard it in Season 3, it was just a creepy story. But in Season 6, it served as an obvious inspiration for Arya. In the finale episode, “The Winds of Winter,” she gave Walder Frey the exact same treatment as the Rat Cook gave the king.
Of course, in her version of events, Frey was the only player who received any kind of punishment. But the story may wind up offering even more foreshadowing. Brann’s ominous conclusion to the story and the Cook’s unending hunger, could be foreshadowing that Arya, herself, may suffer some unforeseen consequences from her own hunger for revenge.
4. Season 4: All the places people can die
There’s a lot of death on Game of Thrones. So much so that in many cases, it’s not a matter of if, but rather when and how your favorite character will bite the dust.
One character, in particular, had his (little) finger on the pulse of how the whole cycle of life worked. And, apparently, he was also a psychic. In the Season 4 episode, “The Mountain and the Viper,” Petyr Baelish was tasked with convincing Robbin Aryn it was time to leave the Eyrie. In a misguided attempt at comfort, he told the child that it doesn’t matter where he is, because death comes for everyone.
“People die at their dinner tables,” Littlefinger said. “People die in their beds, they die squatting over their chamber pots.”
In the Season 4 finale, “The Children,” Tyrion killed his lover, Shae, while she was lying in bed. Then, he killed Tywin while he was sitting on the toilet. And Walder Frey joined the likes of Robb Stark and Joffrey Baratheon when Arya slit his throat at his dinner table in the Season 6 finale.
In that way, it sort of feels like one of the only deaths Littlefinger didn’t predict was his own.
5. Season 5: He always comes back
In the agonizing time between Season 5 and Season 6 of Game of Thrones, fans held out hope that Jon Snow wasn’t really dead. And if they’d just listened to the advice Sam Tarly gave to his steward in Season 5, they would have been way less stressed.
In Season 5, Episode 8, Olly was fretting over whether Jon would return from his trip to Hardhome. But Sam helped quell his concerns by telling him, “I’ve been worrying about Jon for years. He always comes back.”
Of course, Sam was speaking to Jon’s incredible ability to make it through some tough scrapes. But he also managed to foreshadow a major plot point — and Jon’s most miraculous comeback to date.
6. Season 6: A woman’s work
In Season 6, Cersei Lannister faced a seemingly impossible challenge. The High Sparrow held dominion over King’s Landing, and her allies were scarce. She needed something that would help her regain power in the capitol.
In Episode 7, “The Broken Man,” she turned to nemesis Olenna Tyrell and wound up getting an earful. But in addition to her scathing analysis of Cersei’s predicament, the Queen of Thorns also offered us a hint of how she’d solve it.
Cersei asked for her help in bringing down their common enemy. Olenna advised her to leave King’s Landing for good — something she was unwilling to do. “You’re surrounded by enemies,” Olenna reminded Cersei. “Thousands of them. You’re going to kill them all by yourself?”
Perhaps Olenna wouldn’t have been quite so smug if she could have seen that was exactly what Cersei would do a few episodes later. In the Season 6 finale, “The Winds of Winter,” she unleashed wildfire on the capital. And while she didn’t kill all of her enemies, she certainly took care of a lot of them — and without any help from anyone.
7. Season 7: Death in a strange country
It’s hard to tell exactly what moments in Season 7 will wind up foreshadowing events from Game of Thrones’ final season. But there is, at least one moment, that we know will foreshadow yet another major death before the series is done.
In the third episode, “The Queen’s Justice,” Melisandre and Varys shared a private conversation before she hightailed it out of Dragonstone. She told him that she would return to Westeros at least once more in her life. “I have to die in this strange country,” she informed him. “Just like you.”
Sure, the Red Priestess hasn’t always been dead-on as far as her prophecies are concerned. But if there’s anything she should be tuned into, it’s her own imminent demise. Of course, we have no idea how she (or Varys) will perish. But at least now we have some idea of where their deaths will happen — and that we’ll likely see them happen.
Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox.
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