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Game of Thrones: 17 Callbacks and References You Might Have Missed in “Last of the Starks”

Season 8, Episode 4 of Game of Thrones had plenty of plot twists and shocking moments to keep even the most casual viewer coming back for more. But after a few re-watches, even more layers of the story come to light. Heres a spoiler-filled look at some (but by no means all) of the book and show references, callbacks, and Easter eggs you might have missed from “Last of the Starks.”

Lets begin with something that isnt exactly a confirmed reference, but a harmless connection thats been cooking in my brain nonetheless. Two of Daeneryss dragons, Rhaegal and Viserion, are named for her two dead brothers: Rhaegar and Viserys. Is the show trying to draw a small parallel between how the brothers died and how these two dragons died?

Daeneryss brother Rhaegar died during the Battle of the Trident, when Roberts war-hammer smashed the dragon princes ruby-encrusted breastplate to smithereens. George R.R. Martin wrote: “Rubies flew like drops of blood from the chest of a dying prince, and he sank to his knees in the water and with his last breath murmured a womans name.” Like her dragon, Danys eldest brother died in a body of water with splashes of red flying everywhere. Meanwhile, Viserys had a much hotter end: “The sound Viserys Targaryen made when that hideous iron helmet covered his face was like nothing human. [. . .] Thick globs of molten gold dripped down onto his chest, setting the scarlet silk to smoldering—yet no drop of blood was spilled. He was no dragon, Dany thought, curiously calm. Fire cannot kill a dragon.” If I were Drogon, I wouldnt let Dany anywhere NEAR me with a pillow.

O.K., well—if you wont buy that, can I interest you in this cameo from Game of Thrones weapons master Tommy Dunne? This episode marks at least his third cameo on the show. He also appeared as a blacksmith in the Season 4 episode “Two Swords,” and as a butcher in the series premiere.

Of course, Dunne wasnt the only cameo in this episode. Show-runners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff also appeared, dressed as two wildlings who celebrated having survived the Battle of Winterfell.

And we cant forget the most talked-about cameo of them all: the rogue coffee cup that, like that pesky water bottle in Downton Abbey, snuck its way into a brief shot of Daenerys at the Winterfell banquet.

Speaking of Winterfell: you may have noticed that the interior of the little clockwork castle took a beating in this weeks opening credits. The Stark family home is still recovering from last weeks brutal attack, and its innards are not functioning as they once were. But you wouldnt know that to look at the banquet scene roaring through the first quarter of this episode. Director David Nutter filled every corner with little character bits, creating a feast for the observant eye. Did you notice the talented young Podrick scuttling off with two young women? Sansa did.

And if you were paying closer attention to the conversation Sansa and Sandor were having, you might have appreciated all the references to their history together. How she used to not be able to look him in the eye. His “little bird” nickname. The fact that he saved her from sexual assault back down in Kings Landing and tried to do so again in the Season 2 episode “Blackwater” when he offered to smuggle her out of the place. Your mileage may vary on the rest of their conversation.

Having much less fun at the banquet, of course, was Daenerys. It was bad enough to hear Tormund praise Jon for managing to barely hold onto a dragon (something, hello, shes been doing with considerable more flair since Season 5). Its even worse when you consider that Daenerys herself rescued Tormund with her dragons just last season.

Elsewhere at the party, Arya was turning down Gendrys marriage proposal with a neat little callback to both Season 7 and Season 1, which you can read more about here. It should be no mystery as to why Arya turned Gendry down—but I am a little confused about something else in that scene.

When announcing his new lordship to Arya, Gendry referred to himself by his former name, “Gendry Rivers.” Rivers, like Snow and Sand, is one of the bastard last names of Westeros. You may or may not know that the bastard names are tied to geography; Jon, being from the North, is a Snow. Gendry, being from Kings Landing, should be a Waters. Only bastards from the Riverlands are known as Rivers. And any rate, he doesnt actually have claim to any of those bastard last names—because his father, King Robert, never officially acknowledged him. So, really, hes just Gendry. Im glad weve settled that.

On the subject of dual identities, lets give praise to this touching callback to poor Theon Greyjoys dual identity. In Season 7, Jon told his quasi-brother that he could claim both Stark and Greyjoy identities. Sansa made sure that Stark family welcome followed Theon to his grave.

And if Jons eulogy at the funeral sounded a little more stately than usual, thats because the Warden of the North cribbed a bit of his speech from Maester Aemon, who gave last rites at the Wall after the Battle of Castle Black. Sure, its an old Nights Watch funeral speech—and if I were Jon, Id steal from the best, too.

Back on the subject of Sansa and promises: did you notice that she betrayed the secret Ned Stark kept for 17 years in the span of . . . a day? A few hours? Men died to keep that secret, Sansa. And Id bet more will die now because you couldnt keep it to yourself. Because Sansa told Tyrion, and Tyrion told Varys, and that man is a messy bitch who likes drama.

Theres no callback or Easter egg there; I was just starting to think no one was ever going to say it. Thank god Varys finally did.

As for the Spider: one of his most famous speeches in both the show and the books gets a shout-out in this episode. Varyss Read More – Source

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