1. The significance of the raging storm at the start of the episode
That epic sea battle was definitely the highlight of ‘Stormborn’, but did you twig how it was foreshadowed in the opening scene? After the opening credits we’re welcomed with a shot of a very stormy looking Dragonstone, before cutting to Daenerys and her council plotting their next move. When was the last time we saw a storm of this magnitude in the show? When Euron turned up for the very first time, threw his brother Balon to his death, and literally proclaimed “I am the Storm”.
In the books, Euron possesses the power to alter weather, and while there’s been no suggestion of that in the show, it’s only fitting that his showing up to fuck up some lives is foreshadowed by a raging storm.
2. Euron recruiting new crew members for Silence
Another little nugget that book readers might have noticed, but may have passed show watchers by. As Euron is holding Yara with an axe to her neck and goading Theon, we see one of his men cutting out the tongue of a Dany-allied Greyjoy soldier. This isn’t just a reminder to Theon of the torture he can expect if he is captured, but also refers to how Euron builds up his pirate army in the books.
Euron’s following is made up largely of captured enemies, who then have their tongues removed so they cannot rebel or conspire against him. And remember, his ship itself is called Silence – figures.
3. Arya taking after her dad
Last week, everyone was getting very worried by the fact that Sansa had the same hairstyle as Cersei, and this week, we got another hair-related Stark fashion choice. Look at how Arya’s wearing hers this season – remind you of anyone? Thankfully, Arya is a little more savvy than Ned ever was, so hopefully she won’t end up suffering the same fate.
4. And Jon copying his mistakes
The Starks really need to start listening to the women in their lives. There were a lot of callbacks to Ned and Season 1 in this episode, but none more ominous than Sansa’s warning to Jon echoing the words of Catelyn to Ned when he made the decision to ride south all those years ago. Is Jon being similarly naive, or will he and Dany form an allegiance to be reckoned with? We’ll go someway to finding out in Episode 3.
5. Proof that Littlefinger really isn’t popular with the Starks
Yep, another instance of Jon following in Ned’s footsteps, this time for the all-the-more understandable reason of wanting to choke Littlefinger – I mean, who wouldn’t? The parallel is even clearer when you remember that the reason Ned choked him is because he was trying to get too close to Catelyn, and now Jon is doing the same because Baelish is putting it on Sansa. For Stark men, protecting their loved ones from Petyr Baelish is a tradition that gets passed down through generations.
6. Ned’s pose down in the crypt
This was a real Ned-heavy episode as far as callbacks go – and it’s cool that Game of Thrones still places a lot of importance in his character long after he had his head lopped off at the order of a child. In ‘Stormborn’, we caught a glimpse of his tomb while Jon and Littlefinger were down in the crypt, and saw that Stone Ned is striking Human Flesh Ned’s most iconic pose from back in Season 1. Nice.
7. This deliberate callback to the very first episode
Everything’s going in a big circle, isn’t it? These two scenes, from the very first and very latest episode, are deliberately almost identical. The kids at Winterfell are in training aagin, but this time, there’s an even scarier enemy on the horizon – hence the darker colour palette in ‘Stormborn’.
8. “He sounds like quite a man”
This episode was the first time we’ve ever heard Jon and Dany say each other’s names, which is a very cool thing in and of itself – the show’s two biggest characters are finally, finally going to meet, and we can’t wait to see how it plays out. From what Tyrion and Melisandre have told her, Daenerys clearly sounds impressed with Jon – “He sounds like quite a man”, she tells the Red Woman.
This calls back to a moment when Sam is speaking to Maester Aemon at Castle Black – he tells the maester how Daenerys refuses to leave Essos until she has freed every last slave. “She sounds like quite a woman,” Aemon replies.
9. The significance of Arya’s three little words
Arya was never a normal little girl – she didn’t want to grow up to marry a lord and become a lady, and made that very clear from the beginning. She is not a ‘domesticated’ person, and it seems that trait also lives in her direwolf, Nymeria. The pair had an emotional reunion in this episode, before Nymeria decides not to follow Arya back ‘home’ to Winterfell, and instead go her separate way with the wolf pack she has been leading in the Riverlands.
“That’s not you,” Arya says as Nymeria turns back into the forest – Arya realises that her wolf must follow her own path – and her words reference a sentence she spoke to Ned back in Season 1. “That’s not me,” she tells her father, when he is explaining how she will one day be a noble lady.
“Arya’s not domesticated and it makes total sense her wolf wouldn’t be either. Once the wolf walks away, at first she’s heartbroken to have come this close. Then she realises the wolf is doing exactly what she would do if she were that wolf,” showrunner D. B. Weiss said in the post-episode discussion aired on HBO. Still, I bet this isn’t the last we see of Nymeria.
10. And Nymeria’s wolf pack looking rather familiar
Take a closer look at that pack Nymeria is leading through the woods – they bear a striking resemblance to her siblings, Ghost, Lady, Summer and Shaggydog. It’s nice to know that Nymeria has found herself a new family. This has an added layer of significance, too, as Nymeria turns down the chance to join Arya on her mission to reunite with the Starks in favour of remaining with her own family – they both recognise the importance of sticking with their kin.
11. Proof Bronn knows what he’s on about
Hands up who else totally isn’t shocked that Bronn knows all about the dark arts that go on amongst the common folk during a siege? All of you? Yep, thought so.
12. Hot Pie referring back to a joke he made in Season 2
How good was it to see Hot Pie again! While he noted that Arya had changed since they last met, he clearly hasn’t – he still has very much the same ideas when it comes to knowing who is and isn’t an anointed knight. To be fair, he’s pretty accurate.
13. The size difference between Balerion and Drogon
So, from this image we can see that Balerion, whose skull Qyburn mercilessly smashed with his – let’s be honest – kind of underwhelming crossbow, was still a lot bigger than Drogon. Well, Drogon at the end of Season 6, anyway.
The Season 7 promo image below, however, suggests that Dany’s Dragon in Chief has beefed up a lot in between seasons, and now looks at least as big if not bigger than the one they called Balerion the Dread.
On a side note, Qyburn seems to be forgetting that the dragons he’s going to be shooting at with his XL crossbow:
- Can fly
- Haven’t had their skulls gradually decaying in a dark, underground room for years
- Are covered with a thick, scaly hide
But hey, Cersei was impressed, so well done on your shitty little weapon, I guess.
14. Tyrion’s pointed words to Ellaria
A lot of elephants were adressed in The Chamber of the Painted Table at the start of this episode. First, Daenerys challenged Varys about that whole ‘plot to have her murdered’ thing from back in Season 1 – awkward – and Tyrion took a snipe at Ellaria Martell about her ruthless poisoning of his innocent niece, Myrcella.
“I know how you wage war, we don’t poison little girls here,” he told her. This calls back to something Oberyn said before Mycella went over to Dorne in the first place. “We don’t hurt little girls in Dorne,” he said. Thankfully(?) he had his head crushed like a blueberry before he found out this was 100% not the case.
15. Olenna borrowing a phrase from her enemy
What a great (and tense) opening sequence this was. Varys came out of it looking great, whereas you have to doubt Lady Olenna’s motives in telling Dany to be a dragon. Yes, her advice about ignoring men may well be sound, but also, does she care about much else other than getting revenge on Cersei at this point? I’m not so sure.
"Commoners, nobles, they're all just children, really. They won't obey you unless they fear you,” she tells Daenerys – words that are eerily similar to ones spoken by her enemy, Cersei, to Sansa back in Season 2 – "The only way to keep the small folk loyal is to make certain they fear you more than they do the enemy. Remember that if you ever hope to become a queen."
But what will Dany choose? Will she be a benevolent ruler, or govern through fear? That’s if she ever gets to rule at all, of course.
16. Sam forbidding Ser Jorah to die
Sam had a lot of love for his old Lord Commander, Jeor Mormont, which is why he is so keen to save his son Jorah from greyscale – he feels indebted to the Mormont family, and will happily pick his way through disgusting, pussy scabs to pay that debt.
Sam’s words to Jorah telling him that he would not be dying today echoed those of Jeor from back when they were Beyond The Wall with the Night’s Watch. “Tarly, I forbid you to die,” Mormont told him then, and while Jorah and his father did not exactly see eye to eye, there was no way Sam was going to stand by and let him die without a fight.
17. A hint at one of the most controversial fan theories
A longstanding Game of Thrones fan theory is that the whole thing is being written by Sam, and what we are reading/watching is his recording of the events. There was a big hint dropped in ‘Stormborn’ that this could be the case, though we’re still far from having it confirmed.
During a conversation with Sam, Archmaester Ebrose mentions that he is currently working on The Chronicle of the Wars Following the Death of King Robert I – what we’ve been watching for the past seven years, essentially. Sam suggests that the title could be a little more… poetic. What could that be though? Perhaps, PERHAPS, A Song of Ice and Fire would fit?
If the theory is to believed then Sam would take over writing the book from Ebrose – and it would also mean that he makes it until the end. George R. R. Martin did once say that Sam is the character he is most similar to, so maybe this theory’s got legs...