7 ‘Game of Thrones’ Easter Eggs and Book References You Missed in ‘Dragonstone’
Sunday night’s Game of Thrones season opener was jam-packed with details and storylines, hopping between every major character in one of the most ambitious season premieres in years. The episode – SPOILER alert – jumped from Arya-as-Walder-Frey to the a sibling (er, cousin) squabble in Winterfell, took us to more sibling tensions in King’s Landing, caught up with Bran and Meera finally making it to the Wall, then ended on a triumphant homecoming for the Mother of Dragons. You may need to watch Season 7’s “Dragonstone“ more than once to catch everything, but just in case you don’t have time for that, we rounded up the best Easter eggs and book references for you, plus a few theories here and there.
We read the pages of Sam’s Citadel books to scoop up any juicy details they may have been revealed (there were a few!) and rounded up some related fan theories for what to expect next. (And be sure to check out the rest of our theories for the season here.)
1. The Grave Digging Hound
“Dragonstone” had a nice little wink to the Gravedigger theory, a popular fan theory among book readers. In A Feast for Crows, the Gravedigger is a mysterious man living in the Quiet Isle who Brienne noticed when passing through on her search for the Stark girls. Fans have long believed that the grave-digging figure was actually the Hound after the Clegane brother was said to be dead. The show omitted the character last season and jumped straight ahead to bringing the Hound back with little ambiguity. But it was a nice visual nod this week to show the Hound literally digging graves for the dead father and daughter, further suggesting that this version of the Hound is a noticeably different man from the one who stole that same farmer’s silver back in Season 4.
2. Oldtown On the Map
You might have noticed one new addition to the opening titles map this week – Oldtown! The oldest major city in Westeros earned its rightful place on the map this week with a fun little animation for the city’s lighthouse Hightower. We got a look at the Hightower itself in the episode when we caught up with Sam in the Citadel.
3. The Assassin’s Dagger
Speaking of Sam’s winter reading, did you spot that dagger in the book he was reading at the Citadel? Just before Sam discovers the location of buried dragonglass at Dragonstone, he slips to a page with an illustrated dagger that looks awfully familiar. Fans will remember that dagger as the same one used by the catspaw assassin in Season 1 in his attempt to kill Bran. Later, Littlefinger tells Catelyn that the blade belongs to Tyrion in order to frame the Lannister. Who cares about some random weapon from Season 1, you ask? Well this one just so happens to be made of Valyrian steel, and we all know how crucial that will be once the White Walkers arrive. Best pay attention, because we know it will come up again this season.
If you saw Entertainment Weekly‘s Game of Thrones cover featuring Arya earlier this year then you probably spotted her wearing the catspaw’s dagger. The last we knew, Littlefinger was in possession of the weapon, meaning Arya might just crosspath with Baelish to acquire it. That could mean one of two things: One, it supports our theory that Arya might kill Littlefinger this season, and two, there’s another theory that Arya may play a major role in the war to come. You don’t just weird Valyrian steel and expect to not battle White Walkers in this show. Vanity Fair suggested one possibility: Will Arya be the one who kills the Night’s King?
4. Does Sam Have the Cure for Greyscale?
We’re not done with Sam yet. At the end of the episode he gets a bit of a scare from a many with a gnarly arm. That was Jorah, who last we saw parted ways with Daenerys after the Dragon Queen (passionately) ordered him to find the cure for his Greyscale before returning to her. And Jorah’s come to the right place; if he’s going to find a cure, or at least a way to stay alive a little longer, it’s going to be at the Citadel. Sam might be the one to save him and he may have already stumbled on a possible cure.
While reading the book about dragonglass, one page includes a passage that mentions something about ingesting dragonglass as a cure for illnesses and diseases. The words of the passage are cut off so it’s hard to know exactly what this may be a cure for. But let’s use our context clues. We technically never learned how Shireen Baratheon’s Greyscale was stopped, only that her father sent for multiple healers to find the cure. However, Shireen lived at Dragonstone with her pops and Dragonstone is where Sam discovers tons of dragonglass is buried. What’s that on the page opposite the passage in Sam’s book? A map of Dragonstone! Maybe Jorah just needs to gnaw on some obsidian. Anything’s better than soup.
5. Ed Sheeran’s “Hands of Gold” Song
Ed Sheeran showed up to be an awful distraction on Sunday night and sing a song. His Lannister soldier may have told Arya that he was just dropping a new track, but book readers will notice his “Hands of Gold” tune is far from original. Joanna Robinson at Vanity Fair was quick to spot that this song was directly taken from George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords. The same lyrics below to a song written by Symon Silver Tongue to blackmail Tyrion. The song was about Tyrion’s secret lover Shae, and in the book he recalls the tune as he’s strangling her with the “Hand of the King” necklace.
6. Daenerys Has Said That Before
The spectacular season premiere ended with a line we’ve heard before, and recently. Once Dany takes in the essence of her home and rips down the Baratheon banner at Dragonstone, she goes straight to the map table (the same one where Stannis and Melisandre had Shadow Baby sex). But more importantly, the episode ends with Dany looking to Tyrion (who had no dialogue this episode, by the way), and saying with sheer conviction, “Shall we begin?” If you rewatched Season 6 in prep for the new season you’ll remember the Mother of Dragons said those same words to Tyrion in Episode 9, “The Battle of the Bastards,” during the attack in Meereen. Then her plan was one of sheer brutality, but here, in just two episodes’ time, Dany is finally in a position to become a true ruler.
7. Hey, Is That Nymeria?
Spot that direwolf in the preview for next Sunday’s Episode 2? It sure didn’t look like Ghost, who has an all white coat, meaning it could only be Nymeria. Last week we speculated about a reunion between Arya and her long-lost direwolf who she chased off after the pup bit Joffrey. We haven’t heard about her on the show since, but in the books there’ve been rumors about sightings of Nymeria’s pack. The episode preview shows a quick shot of a direwolf followed by a shot of a surprised Arya. It is worth noting that the above wolf doesn’t look like Nymeria from Season 1 – Arya’s wolf had a long white nose with taller ears. But this could also be one of the wolves in Nymeria’s pack. I’ve got hope for a reunion though; Arya’s suffered enough, at least give her a cute animal to cuddle up with.
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