1. The mountain shaped like an arrowhead
The Hound saw it in the fire, and the Suicide Seven saw it in person this week, but we’ve actually seen it before – back in Season 6. It’s clearly visible in the scene where we see the Children of the Forest create the first White Walker, by driving a shard of dragonglass into his chest.
What does this all mean though – does this mountain hold some kind of significance? Could it be in some way key to defeating the Night King? Right now, we know nothing, but I’d place a fairly hefty bet on us at least seeing it again.
2. The setting of the battle
OK, so try not to worry, but this episode kinda, maybe, probably revealed that the Night King is way more powerful than we could have even imagined. We’ve gone into detail on this here, but essentially, there is now quite a lot of evidence that he – like the Three-Eyed Raven – is a greenseer, meaning he can see visions of the future.
The first piece of evidence is this picture above – this is from Bran’s vision on the Army of the Dead, and you’ll notice if you look at the picture below – of the battle between Jon and co. and the White Walkers, that it’s the same place.
What does this mean? Well, it’s the first suggestion that the Night King actually knew Jon was coming. Not only that, he actively wanted him to. He may have used Bran to try and lure Jon beyond the Wall – all with the eventual aim of trapping him and his pals on that tiny island and leaving them with no choice but to call for Daenerys’ help. Why did he want Daenerys to show up? So he could kill one or more of her dragons and take them for his own.
There’s a good chance that the undead Viserion will be key in finally getting the Army of the Dead past the Wall, so if the Night King knew this thanks to a vision, the reason he’s been biding his time ever since Hardhome is because he’s been waiting for this exact moment – he’s been waiting for a dragon. Essentially, if all this is true, then Jon, Daenerys, everyone has fallen right into his trap.
One key bit of evidence for the Night King being a greenseer is, like the Bloodraven, he could interact with Bran during his visions, and more cropped up in this episode. Ready?
3. The Night King’s warging ability
This is The Hound capturing the wight they eventually managed to take back south. You can definitely see the wight’s eyes turn blue here, suggesting he has been possessed, or warged, almost certainly by the Night King.
This allows the Night King to essentially spy on Jon and the group. He can see and hear what they’re doing and adjust his plans accordingly.
This could also be the reason that, at several points later in the episode, the wights are visibly seen trying to take the captured wight back. Normally, wights do not care about each other – none of them get particularly angry when The Hound lobs that rock into one of their faces, for example, but later on they make several feverish attempts to reclaim this wight.
Is that because, thanks to the Night King, they know the Suicide Squad’s plan, and are trying to stop it from succeeding?
4. The number of spears the Night King had
You can see here that the Night King and his army have exactly three of those javelins – one for each dragon. His plan all along was to lure Jon and co. in, force them to call for Daenerys, and kill her dragons. And they literally fell right into his trap. They were lucky to get away with only Viserion dead – if Drogon hadn’t gained a bit of experience dodging huge arrows courtesy of Bronn a couple of weeks back, then he could well have been a goner too.
5. A detail deliberately left out of the trailer
Loads of movie trailers these days reveal so much about the film that you barely even need to go and see it. That, thankfully, is not the case with Game of Thrones. The trailers are often cryptic and sometimes even deliberately try to throw us of scent – but that’s great, it’s fun to be kept guessing. For this episode, they left a very key bit of info out of the trailer – on the left is the trailer, on the right, the episode itself. What’s missing? Oh yeah, just the goddamn Night King. Nice job.
6. The man who’s fighting no one
This? Not such a nice job. The people putting the episode together obviously had a lot on their plate given how much was going on – so much, in fact, that they didn’t notice this Wildling in the background absolutely going to town fighting… no one. And not the Arya Stark type of no one, either. He is literally fighting the air. Oh well, at least he’s trying.
7. The Suicide Squad’s dragonglass weapons
We haven’t actually seen any mining of dragonglass, but we know it’s happened, because if you look closely at some of the battle scenes in this episode, you can see numerous characters fighting with obsidian weapons. Jorah’s got himself a little dagger here, while The Hound ditches Gendry’s unwieldly battlehammer for a smaller dragonglass pick thing. Obviously Jon is all good with his Valyrian steel, while Beric and Thoros both have flaming swords, so they’re cool too. There looks to be some dragonglass blades attached to Tormund’s axe as well, so they’ve all come prepared.
8. How Benjen was there to save Jon Snow
How the fuck did Benjen appear out of nowhere to save the day? That’s a question you may well reasonably have been asking as he miraculously shows up on his horse, swinging his badass ball of fire around, before sacrificing himself to save Jon. Well, there are a few theories. The first is that he was summoned by Bran. See, when Benjen shows up to save Bran and Meera in Season 6, he tells them that he came at the Three-Eyed Raven’s (the old one’s) call. That means the Three-Eyed Raven can communicate with Benjen, and suggests that Bran, in his new role, is now perhaps able to use that power. Maybe Bran had a vision of Jon in trouble, and called on Uncle Benjen to save him.
The other option is far less exciting – it’s simply that, as essentially an undead member of the Night’s Watch who can’t return back behind the Wall, Benjen has nothing better to do than to keep an eye on the Night King. He might have just, y’know, conveniently been in the area. One theory is much more fun than the other, though.
9. And why he couldn’t join him on the horse
Why did Benjen have to die? Why couldn’t he have got on the horse too and avoided a heroic but needless death. Well, LordGadin666 on Reddit has a pretty convincing argument.
He says: “I have rode horses most of my life. And one thing you learn is that two adults on one horse saps its endurance quick. That horse would have never made it to the Wall carrying two. Also, put two full grown men on one horse, especially one that had already been ridden far that day, and it wouldn't have had the speed to out run the dead. They don't get tired. That horse would have been run to death very quickly. So Benjen stopped them long enough to allow a far head start. Horses are fragile things. They run out of energy in the cold even faster than humans if not treated right. So stop thinking that Benjen and Jon could have made it out on one horse. Benjen made the right decision.”
That’s us told.
10. The lone wolf dies
“The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives” – this was one of the most memorable lines from the season trailer, and people spent quite a bit of time trying to work it what it could be referencing. Now, though, it looks like we might know. It could refer to Benjen – the lone Stark (wolf) serving beyond the Wall – giving his life, but Jon’s pack (minus Thoros, RIP) surviving.
However, there are still other options. Maybe it refers to Littlefinger and his covert struggle for power with the Starks in the North. If he dies in the season finale, with Arya and Sansa banding together to get the better of him, then they would be the surviving pack.
In general, it’s just important that characters stick together now. With the dead getting more and more powerful by the day, strength for the living is definitely in numbers.
11. The awakening of Longclaw
This is quite a cool little detail that a few people have picked up on. In the picture above, you see Longclaw sitting on the ice next to the pool of water Jon Snow is tackled into, forcing Daenerys to take flight for the safety of Drogon and the rest of the crew.
And below, you see the sword as Jon reemerges.
If you look closely at the wolf on the hilt, it looks like it has woken up. Now, it’s not like Jon’s sword is actually alive, because that would be ridiculous, it’s almost certainly just a reflection that the director has decided to add in as a nice little easter egg. The eye ‘opens’ as we discover Jon is definitely alive (not that we were really too worried, he wasn’t going to kick it this episode).
12. The significance of the catspaw dagger
This theory comes from banohal on Reddit, and is bad news for Littlefinger (which means good news for all of us). Here’s what they say:
“Littlefinger gives the dagger to Bran as part of an attempt to gain favor.
“Bran does not want it and gives it to Arya. This symbolizes the first Stark rejecting littlefinger.
“Arya gives it to Sansa. This represents the second Stark rejecting Littlefinger.
“To come full circle, Sansa needs to give it to Littlefinger. Right to his throat. And the final Stark will have rejected him for good.”
We like it a lot.
13. Arya’s game of faces
Arya was so damn creepy in this episode, and while a lot of fans are convinced its all an act to fool Littlefinger, I’m not so sure. Arya is clearly very mistrustful of everyone these days, and that includes Sansa. Arya tried to get Sansa to play the game of faces with her in ‘Beyond the Wall’, and her sister really isn’t keen. However, it appears the Lady of Winterfell may have been roped into a game without her knowledge.
Arya has criticised Sansa for standing and doing nothing as their father was executed, and also tells her that she would rather die than serve the Lannisters, however, neither of these things are true. Arya was there to see Sansa screaming at Joffrey to stop when he ordered Ned’s beheading, and Arya already has served the Lannisters – she was Tywin’s servant back in Season 2. Perhaps Arya was deliberately lying because she was playing the game of faces with Sansa, and Sansa, by not calling out her lies, lost.
14. The Night King and Bran sharing very similar styles
Yep more terrifying Night King details. Sorry. We’ve gone into more detail on this here, but there’s a theory floating about that Bran is actually the Night King. It basically states that Bran, knowing the devastation he causes, warged into the man who was turned into the Night King by the Children of the Forest, but failed.
While this theory may be a little far-fetched, there’s clearly a close link between Bran and the Night King, as shown by their close encounter back in Season 6, where the undead leader marked the Stark boy during a vision. And if you look at their clothing choices, you can see another similarity. Not even just a similarity, actually – they dress identically. Maybe Bran is the Night King after all?
15. Why the timings of the episode actually make perfect sense
A lot of people have been concerned by the passing of time in this faster-paced season, and particularly in this episode. How did the raven get to Daenerys so quickly? How did Gendry run to the Wall so fast? Well, Reddit user mikeCFNI thinks he has the answer – that the gang actually spent far longer than just one night marooned on that tiny island.
Here’s what he says: “Regarding Gendry, the raven, and the timing of it all, it makes sense. I'm going to assume since they were looking for a lone White that they were not going in a straight line from Eastwatch, they were probably going back and forth in a zigzag (RIP Rickon) so Gendry running at full speed back to the wall, let's say that took about four hours.
“The trip from Castle Black to Winterfell is about 600 miles (a little farther from Eastwatch), a raven going full speed (28mph) could probably make that trip in a little over a day. From Winterfell to King's Landing is about a thousand miles according to Cersei in S5E6, so it would be about the same maybe a little more from Winterfell to Dragonstone.
“So let's say it takes the raven four days to get to Dragonstone. Dragons on the other hand, I couldn't find much info about how fast they can go. So for the sake of argument let's say they top out with a rider at about 175 mph. So that's about a 12-hour flight straight to Snow Team 6. So the overall time it takes Dany to get to Jon, is about five days. This makes sense considering that they had to wait for the ice to freeze over the lake again. Considering that the ice had to support a huge hoard of wights, the ice would have to be around eight inches thick. Assuming an average temperature of 10 °F (they're not that far north) the ice would be growing at 1.5 inches per day. This works out to 7.5 inches of ice. Guys, the math works out.”
16. New meaning behind Daenerys’ vision in the House of the Undying
If you remember all the way back to the Season 2 finale (I know, that’s a long time ago), she has a vision in which she is at the Wall, and enters a tent. In the tent she is reunited with Drogo, and also meets a living version of her stillborn son, Rhaego. She and Drogo speak, and then the vision ends when she hears the cry of a dragon.
Could this be foreshadowing Viserion’s death? The two surviving dragons, Drogon and Rhaegal, are named for Drogo and Rhaegar (whose name inspired Rhaego’s), who are both safe in the tent with her, whereas Viserys, who Viserion is named for, is not.
Viserys, remember, is also killed by Drogo using molten gold. Could this itself be foreshadowing of Drogon ‘killing’ the undead Viserion with fire?
17. “Only death may pay for life”
This is another one we’ve gone into far more detail with here, but it provides a positive spin to one of the season’s most heartbreaking moments – Viserion’s death.
Daenerys, she believes, is unable to have children, due to the curse put on her back in Season 1 by the witch Mirri Maz Duur, which caused the stillbirth of her son and left Drogo in a vegetative state. This is why Daenerys calls the dragons her children – the only ones she’ll ever have.
When the witch traded the unborn Rhaego’s life in exchange for Drogo’s with blood magic – albeit not a life worth living – she told Dany: “Only death may pay for life”.
Perhaps, then, Viserion’s death means that Daenerys can now have children again – maybe his death will pay for the future life of her child, a child she has with Jon, perhaps?
I know incest is wrong, but then why do we all want it to happen so much?