The first episode of the HBO series’ final season aired on Sunday, and after viewers had their share of elephant jokes, Bran memes and Drogon interpretations, fans pointed out some parallels between the most recent episode, “Winterfell,” and the show’s pilot.
Here’s a breakdown of all the major callbacks fans have brought to light of the seven.
The Opening Scene at Winterfell
Some of the most obvious callbacks happen at the top of the episode when Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) arrive at Winterfell with an enormous army and two dragons (that Sansa, played by Sophie Turner, has no idea how to feed).
The scene begins with a boy excitedly running past Ayra Stark (Maisie Williams), who is standing among commoners gathered to receive the new monarch. The boy eventually climbs a tree to get a better look of the grand display of the Unsullied and Dothraki armies descending on his home.
The boy’s route calls back to Arya and her brother Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) in the pilot. A young and rebellious Arya bucks tradition and sneaks away from her family to observe the arrival of King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) on her own terms, while Bran climbs the castle’s tower to get a better view of Robert’s procession. In the pilot and “Winterfell,” Ayra also catches glimpses of The Hound (Rory McCann), yet in the pilot she is awed by him, while in the most recent episode, she looks bewildered or disturbed, wondering why a man she left for dead is still alive.
When Sansa greets Dany and Jon in the courtyard of Winterfell, more symmetry is displayed as she assumes the past roles of her parents and haughtily welcomes the foreign queen into her home.
“Winterfell is yours, Your Grace,” she says to Daenerys, imitating her father’s long-ago words to Robert, with a tad more sass.
Like the pilot episode, Arya is not present when the Stark family greets their royal guests. When Jon asks where Arya is, Sansa says she has no idea, much like when their mother questioned Arya’s whereabouts in the pilot.
King Robert’s Wish to Join House Baratheon and House Stark
Some of Twitter had a whole lot of fun tweeting a quote by King Robert during Ayra and Gendry’s (Joe Dempsie) reunion scene in “Winterfell.”
In the pilot, King Robert attempts to talk Ned Stark (Sean Bean) into marrying off their children, Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) and Sansa.
“I have a son. You have a daughter. We’ll join our houses,” Robert says to Ned.
Though Sansa and Joffrey never got hitched, fans speculated that Ayra and Gendry’s possible romance — and the revelation that Gendry is the bastard child of Robert — might make Robert’s wish for the two houses to be “bound by blood” a reality.
Jon, Arya, and Needle
Jon’s reunion with his favorite “sibling” in the Season 8 premiere mirrors the last time the two saw each other, which was in the pilot episode.
Both scenes involve Arya jumping into Jon’s arms for a hug. In the pilot, Jon also surprises his little sis with Needle, a sword he had made especially for her. In the most recent episode of “Game of Thrones,” Arya shows Jon that she still has the sword he gifted her so long ago.
When Jon asks his brutal assassin of a sister if she’s ever had to use it, Arya delivers a response dripping with dark humor:
“Once or twice,” she replies.
That Creepy Spiral Symbol
The White Walkers love for unsettling body art is featured in the pilot of “Game of Thrones” and in “Winterfell.”
In the pilot, bodies of the White Walker’s victims were put on display for the living to see.
In “Winterfell,” poor Ned Umber (Harry Grasby) becomes the focus of their latest piece at Last Hearth. Yet what do these symbols actually mean? We’re not entirely sure, but some fans have a few ideas.
Jon Finally Learning the Identity of His Mother
It’s surprising that, given Bran’s new love for bluntness, the truth about Jon’s parents wasn’t revealed at the top of “Winterfell.” But, as one Twitter user pointed out, many believe there’s a reason for this — and it’s all about a callback.
In the pilot episode, Jon asks the man who he believes is his father, Ned, about his mother — who Ned has never spoken about — before Jon leaves for the Wall and Ned leaves for King’s Landing.
“The next time we see each other, we’ll talk about your mother,” Ned promises Jon before they go their separate ways. Ned dies before this conversation could ever take place, and his bones are placed in the Winterfell crypt.
In “Winterfell” there is a scene when Jon visits the crypt to light a candle for Ned’s statue.
This also happens to be the moment when Jon’s friend, Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), reveals to Jon that not only is his mother Ned’s sister, Lyanna Stark, but that his father is Rhaegar Targaryen, not Ned.
Many viewers interpreted the scene taking place by Ned’s statue as the late lord keeping his word since Jon found out about his mother’s identity the next time they “saw” one another.
Yet, this is not the first time Jon has seen Ned’s statue since the two spoke. Jon visited the crypt in Season 7 and had a conversation with Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) in front of Ned’s statue.
So, unfortunately, Ned did not keep his promise but he was technically there for the reveal. So, there’s that.
The Jaime and Bran Reunion
In the pilot episode, the main plot is kicked into gear when a young Bran climbs a tower in Winterfell and witnesses Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) having sex with his twin sister, Cersei (Lena Headey). Out of fear that their dirty little secret — and the true paternity of all of Cersei’s children — will get out, Jaime pushes Bran out the window, hoping the fall will kill him.
In “Winterfell,” Bran mentions to Sam that he’s waiting for a friend. It turns out that the friend he’s waiting for is none other than Jaime, whose harsh decision to kill Bran in the pilot led Bran down the path of becoming the Three-Eyed Raven. The episode ends with the two acknowledging each other with long, emotionally-fueled stares — Jaime’s of utter fear and Bran of, well, who knows?
We’re not entirely sure how Bran will actually receive Jaime until the next episode airs, but effectively harkened back to the very beginning of the show.