In the days following the Game of Thrones Season 6 finale, fans were dissecting that big reveal. You know the one. (SO MANY SPOILERS AHEAD.) The scene that confirmed the R + L = J theory. For years, viewers have pored over old episodes and the original books, discussing the clues that have been with us all along. It seems that nothing on Game of Thrones is an accident. So what else can we glean? I rewatched the first episode of Game of Thrones to see what clues or details we may have missed the first time. It’s amazing how much in the pilot episode reared its head again and again throughout the series.
Returning to the Game of Thrones pilot after so many years was interesting. There were so many things I had forgotten about, and the actors themselves were so different. Many have since left the show, but it's interesting to see the younger cast as they looked when we first met them. It is wild how the Stark kids have grown up before our eyes. And of course, rewatching the episode also helped me pick up on foreshadowing that I missed on first viewing. There was a lot to take in. So without further ado, here are 49 thoughts I had when I rewatched the first episode of Game of Thrones.
1. I Have No Memory Of This
Whoa, I did not remember that three members of the Night’s Watch kicked off this thing. I figured it started in Winterfell with the Starks.
2. Hold Up, We Already Knew About White Walkers?
I remembered the White Walkers being a twist? I guess we knew they were real all along, though at first we didn’t really know what they were or how many there are. The only inkling we get of their power is that the dead wildlings are there one minute and gone the next. Ice zombies. I should have put all of this together on day one.
3. Winter Is Coming
With the dead wildlings and resurgence of the White Walkers, we as an audience have known literally since act one that “winter is coming.”
4. The Opening Credits Are Different
The Baratheon stag’s insignia is prominent over King’s Landing, the Stark’s direwolf (which was recently reinstated in the Season 6 finale opener) appears over Winterfell, and we get a peek at Essos and the Wall. Basically, the intro is way shorter than it is in Season 6.
5. Winterfell Is Introduced With A Title Card
When Winterfell appears for the first time, its name appears in the bottom-left corner of the screen. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think we ever get such a helpful geography lesson again.
6. Aww, The Stark Kids!
Hey, Robb’s alive! And Bran can walk. They all look so young. Oh, there’s baby Rickon. Sad.
7. “Needle” Point
It’s a little funny that we first meet Arya while she is doing needlepoint, which she hates, when she is soon going to get a sword named “needle.”
8. Catelyn Seriously Hates Jon
It is so palpable. I forgot about this.
9. Ned’s Gotta Behead This Guy For Deserting
This whole honor and beheading thing is going to ring out repeatedly throughout the series. And, you know, Ned himself is going to be beheaded.
10. “Don’t Look Away.”
Jon tells Bran not to look away when the Nights Watch deserter is beheaded. But hell, I did. I am not cut out for Westeros.
11. The Deserter Says He Saw White Walkers
After the execution, Ned and Bran have the following exchange:
Ned: “The White Walkers have been gone for thousands of years.”
Bran: “So he’s lying?”
Ned: “That man sees what he sees.”
I find it interesting to see when Bran first realized there could be White Walkers, considering his later involvement with them. Also, Ned saying, “He sees what he sees” is interesting, considering the visions Bran would later have.
I know now that I shouldn’t get too attached. But those dogs are fine IRL, so PUPPIES!
13. “There Are No Direwolves South Of The Wall.” — Robb
Yeah, Robb, winter is coming.
14. Jon Is The One Who Saves The Direwolves …
Could this be foreshadowing about Jon’s duty to the Stark children? Before Ned has the pups put down, Jon points out that “There are five pups, one for each of the Stark children.” He tells Ned, “The direwolf is the sigil of your house. They were meant to have them.” Boom.
15. Ned Foreshadows The Death Of The Pups … And His Children's Fates
“And if they die, you will bury them yourselves,” he says about the direwolves.
16. “I’m Not A Stark”
When Bran points out that Jon doesn’t get a pup, Jon responds, “I’m not a Stark.” BuzzFeed editor Jenna Guillaume also noticed this, and recently published an article which noted that Jon also says this to Sansa in the Season 6 finale. To which Sansa replies: “You are to me.”
17. Sansa And Jon
While we’re on the topic of Sansa and Jon, it is important to note that they have no interaction in the pilot. Sansa is close to her mother and into Joffrey, and wants to be queen via Joffrey. She is pretty Southern. In this episode, Jon is an outsider, despised by Catelyn, and his ambitions are in the north, at the Wall. He is the most Northern. They are the most different of the Stark kids.
18. OK, Back To The Pups … Baby Ghost!
We all know why Jon gets the white runt of the litter. I don’t need to spell it out for you. Also, Jon meeting Ghost gave me all the feels. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
19. Cersei And Jaime Are Introduced As Sister And Brother
But we immediately know something is up, because she floats, “What if Jon Arryn [who is dead] knew …" Intrigue.
20. Catelyn And Ned Are Established As Having Different Gods
We immediately know that religions vary by location within Westeros. This detail isn’t so important yet, so I forgot it was introduced so early on.
21. So, About Jon Arryn …
Considering he is dead in the pilot, did anyone else kind of forget about him? The shadiness of his death? The foreshadowing? Also, how close he was to Ned and Robert Baratheon?
22. How Tyrion Is Introduced
When it is announced that the royal family is heading for Winterfell, Catelyn is seen preparing for the visit. She says that Tyrion needs lots of candles in his room because he is known for staying up all night reading. Someone else says that they hear that he stays up all night drinking. This made me think of Tyrion’s almost-catchphrase: “That's what I do. I drink and I know things.”
23. Jon, Theon, And Robb’s Locker Room Talk
Jeez, these three grew up together, and it’s practically a frat house. In the scene in question, they are all getting ready for the royal arrival with shaves and haircuts.
24. Theon’s Comment
Theon makes a joke about the king “stabbing” women. His talk is big here, but poor Theon is going to lose his equipment. He’s also so different from what he will become. It’s jarring.
25. Robb Mocks Jon’s Hair
When Robb trades seats with Jon during their haircuts, he teases Jon, saying, “He’s never met a girl he likes better than his own hair.” YOU MEAN THE BEAUTIFUL MAN PERM THAT WILL RESURRECT HIM?!
26. Bran Should Have Listened
Catelyn makes him promise to stop climbing on the roof, but she knows he is lying when he acquiesces.
27. Robert’s Curse
People have pointed out that all of the Starks whom Robert touches when he arrives in Winterfell are now dead. And it’s true. He greets Ned and Catelyn with embraces, he pats Rickon’s head, and he shakes Robb’s hand. He doesn’t even have the opportunity to touch Jon, because he is standing behind the other Stark children.
28. The Lannister Kid Actors Changed
Ugh, but there’s Joffrey.
29. Robert Goes Straight To The Crypt
Robert immediately points out that he was to marry Lyanna, and wants to visit her grave.
30. Tyrion Was Blond?!
Tyrion was super blond in the pilot? Weird. He also seemed less confident. He's come a long way.
31. Robert Discusses Lyanna And Rhaegar
“She belonged with me,” Robert says. “In my dreams, I kill him every night.” Ned then assures Robert, “It’s done … The Targaryens are gone.” Robert then says “Not all of them …" You got that right.
32. Cut To Daenerys
Ew, Dany’s brother is so creepy and abusive. His treatment of her was so creepy that I almost gave up on Game of Thrones after the pilot. I actually did, but more on that later. Anyway, Viserys is awful. Dany is a shell of her future self because of his abuse.
33. The Hot Bathwater Moment Makes So Much Sense Now!
Dany gets into a boiling hot bath tub, and her handmaiden yells, “It’s too hot, my lady!” At the time, I thought this showed that Dany was disturbed and lost in thought about being married off, but now I realize the bathtub is not too hot for Dany, because she is the unburnt! Foreshadowing …
34. Everything Viserys Thinks Will Happen For Him Happens For Dany
Viserys declares that he will give Khal Drogo a queen, and Khal Drogo will give him an army. In reality, Dany will give the Dothraki a queen, and she will get their entire freaking army. Viserys also says, “When they write the history of my reign, sweet sister, they will say it began today” when Dany is promised to Khal Drogo. But in fact, the story of Dany’s reign begins that day. Viserys also tells Dany that they are going to go home (Westeros) with Khal Drogo’s army … which is basically what Dany is doing right now.
35. Back In Winterfell, Sansa Is So Annoying
She basically throws a tantrum about moving to King’s Landing because Joffrey is so dreamy.
36. Oh Hey, It's Benjen!
Jon is a bastard, so he can’t join his family at the feast. He encounters Benjen, who rode down from the Wall. Benjen is not yet Coldhands, and his coloring is great.
37. Benjen’s Cryptic Line
Benjen warns Jon about the ramifications of joining the Night’s Watch: “None of us will ever father sons.” To which Jon says he doesn’t care. Benjen responds, “You might if you knew what it meant.” Hmm. Redditor one_big_tomato pointed out the potential significance of this line a long time ago. The line may prove that Benjen knows who Jon's real parents are. He would thus know that Jon not having children could mean the end of the Targaryen royal line. As Rhaegar’s son, Jon arguably has more of a claim to throne than Dany.
38. Jon And Tyrion Talk Bastards
Tyrion tells Jon not to let people make him feel inferior because he is a bastard. He tells Jon to wear the label like armor, so that it cannot hurt him. Jon responds, “What the hell do you know about being a bastard?” And Tyrion responds, “All dwarves are bastards in their fathers eyes.” Some think this supports the popular theory, which I have not shut up about, that Tyrion is actually Aerys Targaryen’s son.
39. OK, We Get It …
Winter is coming. Ned has said this a bunch in the episode. So much, in fact, that I should have been counting.
40. Cersei Actually Approved Of Sansa
This isn’t particularly telling. I just forgot that it ever happened.
41. The Cast Is Just So Different Now
I had this thought when Catelyn and Ned were together in a scene. GOT is really a revolving door of actors.
42. Jon Arryn Was Murdered
Catelyn’s sister, Lysa, sends her a letter claiming that Jon Arryn, her husband, was murdered by the Lannisters. It is our first hint at what they are capable of. Of course, it later turns out that Lysa was in fact the one who killed Arryn.
43. Catelyn Knows King’s Landing Will Be Death For Ned
She repeatedly makes that clear throughout the episode. Even when she is not alluding to Ned’s death, she is stating that it is a bad idea. And she is rightfully skeptical of the Lannisters.
44. How Can This Ever Be OK?
That is what we all thought when we saw Dany’s wedding. It’s so barbaric!
45. Viserys Wants His Crown
“If Khal Drogo has promised you a crown, you shall have it,” Viserys is told. And guess what, Viserys? You are going to get that crown.
46. Jorah Mormont Gives Dany Books
While all of the other gifts are obviously for Khal Drogo, he thinks of her. Break my heart.
47. Dany Is Given Dragon Eggs
The magister has warned her that time has turned them to stone, but we know what will really become of them. Is this a hint that Dany is Azor Ahai? The saying does go, “Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone.” Hmm, she is reborn with her dragons, which come from these supposedly stone eggs. And there's plenty of smoke and salt, because it all goes down in Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre. Just saying …
48. The Rape Scene
Khal Drogo rapes Daenerys. The scene is so upsetting that I didn't watch GOT again for a year. Then people promised me that Dany was not just a victim, and I gave it another go.
49. “The Things I Do For Love.”
Jenna Guillaume also discussed the significance of Jaime’s line, “The things I do for love.” After Bran sees Jaime and Cersei having sex in the tower, Jaime goes to the window and says this as he pushes Bran out the window (the first defenestration of GoT). BuzzFeed noted that in Season 6, Jaime explains Cersei’s ferocity as a mother, and that she would burn a city to the ground to save her child. He says about her, “The things we do for love.” Cut to the finale, and Cersei really does burn the city to save Tommen. Which leads to a second defenestration: Tommen jumping out a window. Whoa.
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