Game of Thrones has one of the most recognizable opening theme songs. The opening credits set the tone for any given episode — even though it's the same each and every time — with its dramatic, pulsing tune and accompanying Westeros map graphics. It's changed gradually season to season, but in celebration for the final season, animators created something brand new. And these clues in the new Game of Thrones opening credits seem to hint at what's to come. Spoilers for Game of Thrones ahead.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, the Elastic production team, who created the CGI opening, explained that they originally wanted to create individualized opening credits for each episode. It was too complex originally, but now that Game of Thrones is in its last season, the time has finally come for individualized opening credits.
And, if you noticed that the new Game of Thrones opening credits look a bit more intricate, there's a reason for that, too. “You can go so much further and deeper with the tool set now than you could back when we did Season 1,” said Wall. “The first seven seasons, there’s an impressionistic aspect to the title sequence that I really like in an 8-bit way, in the same way that you would like Minecraft. But the new sequence is rendered with so much more accuracy and fractal detail.”
And every little detail holds a meaning you won't want to miss.
1. A New History
Now, the scenes on those panels are the fall of the Wall, the Red Wedding, and the birth of Dany’s dragons "in reverse chronological order" as BuzzFeed News pointed out. “The idea is we have witnessed history that has become memorialized lore, and we’re probably going to witness more,” Wall explained.
Obviously, these events were huge turning points on Game of Thrones, but their presence in the opening credits could hint at things to come in the future. Perhaps the Red Wedding's presence hints at future consequences — Lady Stoneheart, perhaps?
2. The White Walkers Are Coming
The new opening credits sequence cleverly shows the White Walkers and their wight army moving by using flipping tiles heading south of the wall. “It harkens back to classic strategy games like Risk, where you move game pieces around,” said Wall. “In the first seven seasons, we move from place to place. But we didn’t necessarily see representations of ‘armies’ on the move.”
The tiles move pretty quickly in the sequence, which could be a sign that the army of the dead is only getting faster, getting closer to Winterfell every minute.
3. Last Hearth
Some viewers might have noticed that Last Hearth, the home of House Umber, was added to the locations in the opening credits. In the Season 8 premiere, Ned Umber — a child who inherited his home back after Jon Snow became King of the North — went to bring his people to safety in Winterfell. As seen later, Lord Umber was made a wight and pinned to a wall as a message to the surviving human members from the Wall.
And it turns out that the symbol on the wall Umber's dead body was connected to is actually reflective of the Last Hearth. “If you look at the mountain that the Last Hearth is sitting on, it has that spiral shape that you’ve seen the White Walkers lay out bodies in spiral form, and you’ve seen the spiral shape reappear on the murals on the walls in the North,” Kirk Shintani, art director for the Season 8 credits, told BuzzFeed. In other words, the spiral hill the estate sits on mimics the symbol the White Walkers left behind, and that's definitely not a coincidence.
4. The Stark Crypt
This season, the opening credits will be slightly different for every episode, Shintani confirmed to BuzzFeed, which means that details in the credits will be significant later on in the episode.
“I’ll say that there are differences in every single episode,” Shintani said. “From episode to episode, pay attention, because there’s lots of hints scattered around.” For this first one, the Stark crypt and Great Hall were highlighted because Jon found out his true parentage in front of Ned Stark's tomb, and the Great Hall is where the lords of the North found out Jon bent the knee to Daenerys. The throne room at King's Landing was also shown because it's where Euron came back with Captain Strickland, leader of the Golden Company.
5. The Scorpion
Cersei's Scorpion weapon was also on full display in the opening credits for the Season 8 premiere. It can crush through a dragon's skull, which is also depicted in the opening animation.
Though it wasn't used at all in this episode, the fact that it was prominently displayed in the opening credits hints that it'll definitely be featured later this season. Which is not good if you're partial to Daenerys and her two remaining dragons at all.
6. The Iron Throne
Of course, the throne room with the coveted Iron Throne is the last thing in the new opening credits. Even though there's a huge battle brewing in the North against the very hard to "kill" wights and White Walkers, this last shot in the credits reminds viewers that this entire series hasn't really been leading up to the fight between the living and the dead, but who will sit upon the Iron Throne.
7. The Four Houses
Another main thing that hasn't changed is the last panel of the astrolabe. It still features the show's title and the four corners have protruding animals meant to signify the four main houses in the game for the throne. There's a Wolf (Stark), a Dragon (Targaryen), a Lion (Lannister), and a Black Stag (Baratheon). Those are still the same on the corners, hinting at a fact that many have been shouting since the promo for Season 8 started: don't count Gendry out.
It looks like the opening credits will correspond to every new episode, so it's not something you want to skip. It might give away more than you think.