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Game Of Thrones Easter Eggs You Didn't Notice

Throughout every season of HBO's Game of Thrones, the showrunners have made sure to sprinkle in a liberal amount of hidden clues, references, and Easter eggs for devoted fans to find. From hints about the future of the plot to references to previous scenes and storylines, the show has done a great job of sneaking in stuff where you least expect it. In addition to self-referential items and references to the A Song of Ice and Fire books, Game of Thrones also has managed to hide many references to other books, films, and television shows along the way. Let's take a look at some of the Game of Thrones Easter eggs you probably didn't spot, but fair warning—this list contains spoilers from every season of the show as well as several from the books.

Size doesn't matter, right?

In the books, the Iron Throne is a monstrosity, sitting over 20 feet tall and made from the blades of thousands of opponents vanquished by Aegon Targaryen. Obviously, a throne that size wouldn't work so well on a television show, so the famous prop used in the Red Keep set is much smaller than the one described in the books. The showrunners knew that might cause a bit of complaining among readers, so they threw in this fun little bit of meta-dialogue between Varys and Littlefinger:

Varys: "A thousand blades, taken from the hands of Aegon's fallen enemies. Forged in the fiery breath of Balerion the Dread."

Littlefinger: "There aren't a thousand blades. There aren't even two hundred. I've counted."

Sword cameos

Speaking of the Iron Throne, did you know that some of those vanquished foes apparently include Ian McKellen and Orlando Bloom? That's right—eagle-eyed viewers have spotted a few "famous" swords hidden among the generic blades in the Iron Throne. Notably, you can see Glamdring—wielded by Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings movies—as well as swords from both Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.

President on a pike

Following Ned Stark's execution at the hands of King Joffrey, the new monarch shows us more of his sadistic streak when he forces Sansa Stark to come look at her father's head displayed on a pike above the Red Keep. Along with Ned's head, several other members of the Stark household and guard in King's Landing are also stuck on spikes nearby. Apparently, our 43rd president—George W. Bush—was part of the Stark retinue, because his head was impaled on a pike right next to Sansa's old Septa.

Showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff explained that the use of President Bush's head wasn't intentional but rather a budget issue of just using whatever prop heads were available at the time. Nonetheless, some viewers took issue with the scene, which prompted HBO to issue an apology and digitally edit the face on the head to make it less recognizable in future DVD releases.

The two pillars

Originally said by Cersei back in the season 5 episode "High Sparrow," this quote would become a recurring theme throughout season 6: "The faith and the crown are the two pillars that hold up this world. One collapses, so does the other." Later, the High Sparrow would relate this quote to Tommen, who then used it himself multiple times, such as on the steps of Baelor's Sept when he announced the union of the Faith and the Crown, and later, when he stripped Jaime Lannister of his Kingsguard title.

"If one crumbles, the other falls." This proverbial saying foreshadows the eventual demise of both the Faith and the Crown in the season six finale—the Great Sept of Baelor literally crumbles to dust from the wildfire explosion, which is followed shortly afterwards by Tommen deliberately falling from a Red Keep balcony to his death. His death scene also contains a visual Easter egg referring to this quote, as the camera stays trained on the pillars of his balcony throughout the scene.

Monty Python references

George R.R. Martin is a known fan of the British comedy troupe Monty Python—particularly their Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie. References to the film are sprinkled throughout the books, and the showrunners made sure to include some in the television series as well. In the season four episode "Breaker of Chains," Daenerys arrives at the city of Meereen with her army of Unsullied. The Meereenese send out a champion, who hurls several Ghiscari insults at the Dragon Queen before Daario beheads the poor fool. According to show linguist David Peterson, the beginning of his speech translates as: "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."

During season one, Doune Castle in Scotland was used as a filming location for Winterfell scenes. This castle has been featured in many other productions—including Holy Grail, where it was used as "Castle Anthrax." Additionally, when Shireen is teaching Davos to read, she scolds him for mispronouncing the word "knight" as "ka-nig-it," which is another reference to John Cleese's taunting Frenchman in Holy Grail.

The writing's on the wall

Long before the Tower of Joy scene in the season six finale finally confirmed the long-held fan theory that Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, Game of Thrones made a sneaky reference to the theory with a set piece. In the season one episode "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things." Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly are scrubbing a table and joking around about their past experiences with women. Additionally, Jon reveals that he doesn't know who his mother was. If you watch closely during this scene, you can see the letters "R" and "L" carved into the post Jon is standing next to, which literally seems to tease us by confirming the idea that R+L=J.

Rock star cameos

On several occasions, famous bands or musicians have found their way into Game of Thrones in cameo roles. Coldplay drummer Will Champion played a percussionist in the group of Frey musicians at the Red Wedding, whilst Sigur Ros made an appearance as another set of minstrels at Joffrey and Margaery's Purple Wedding. Gary Lightbody, the singer from Snow Patrol, made a cameo as a singer with Vargo Hoat's "Brave Companions" in season 3. Finally, the rockers of Mastodon got an enviable (and totally metal) scene as Wildlings at Hardhome, who get brutally killed before rising again as the wight thralls of the White Walkers.

Mastodon made a return to the series in the season seven finale—you can briefly spot their wight personas standing among the army of the dead as the Night King melts the Wall with an undead Viserion's blue flames. Additionally, singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran made waves with a controversial cameo in the first episode of the seventh season, playing one of a small group of friendly Lannister soldiers Arya encounters on the Kingsroad.

Greyjoy Fhtagn

Martin has sprinkled in many references to other authors, books and series into his works. One of the more prominent is the series' homages to H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu mythos. House Greyjoy (and all Ironborn) follow the religion of the Drowned God, which strongly borrows from the story of Cthulhu. The Drowned God resides in a watery hall below the sea (much like Cthulhu) and is the enemy of the Storm God, who lives in a hall in the clouds (much like Cthulhu's arch-rival, Hastur the Unspeakable). Even the Drowned God rite—"What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger"—strongly echoes this couplet from The Call of Cthulhu, which Lovecraft described as a quote from the mythical Necronomicon: "That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons even death may die."

Yer a wizard, Petyr

Remember that time when Littlefinger gave away the rest of the season's major deaths in a single sentence? In the season four episode "The Mountain and the Viper," Littlefinger gives some sage advice to Robin Arryn at the Eyrie, telling him, "People die at their dinner tables. They die in their beds. They die squatting over their chamber pots. Everybody dies sooner or later." The first part is clearly a reference to King Joffrey, who was already dead at this point. But the latter two refer to events that Littlefinger could have no foreknowledge of, unless he's a psychic—later that season, Tyrion would kill his former lover Shae in a bed, and his father Tywin while he was squatting over his chamberpot. Thanks for the spoilers, Baelish.

100 red scorpions

After Cersei's destruction of the Sept of Baelor and most of the remaining members of House Tyrell, the Queen of Thorns—Lady Olenna Tyrell—makes a visit to Dorne to find some unlikely allies. She begins the conversation by pointing out that the last time a Tyrell came to Dorne, he was assassinated with 100 red scorpions. For most show-only watchers, this anecdote probably didn't mean much, but it was a fun Easter egg for readers who know the story behind it.

Oberyn Martell relates the tale to Tyrion in A Storm of Swords: "When the Young Dragon conquered Dorne so long ago, he left the Lord of Highgarden to rule us after the Submission of Sunspear. This Tyrell moved with his tail from keep to keep, chasing rebels and making certain that our knees stayed bent. He would arrive in force, take a castle for his own, stay a moon's turn, and ride on to the next castle. It was his custom to turn the lords out of their own chambers and take their beds for himself. One night he found himself beneath a heavy velvet canopy. A sash hung down near the pillows, should he wish to summon a wench. He had a taste for Dornish women, this Lord Tyrell, and who can blame him? So he pulled upon the sash, and when he did the canopy above him split open, and a hundred red scorpions fell down upon his head. His death lit a fire that soon swept across Dorne, undoing all the Young Dragon's victories in a fortnight. The kneeling men stood up, and we were free again."

Definitely not a good way to die, although it might be better than having your head crushed by the Mountain or getting blown up with wildfire by the Mad Queen.

Born under a bleeding star

When the young Ned Stark enters the Tower of Joy after defeating Arthur Dayne, he leans Dayne's sword up against the foot of Lyanna's bed as he approaches her. For book fans who were eager to see a glimpse of the fabled sword Dawn, the camera lingers for a moment on the bloody sword. Beyond this visual Easter egg, for some Game of Thrones theorists, the presence of the sword at Jon's birth lends credence to the theory that Jon Snow is actually Azor Ahai—The Prince that was Promised: "Born amidst salt and smoke, beneath a bleeding star." As readers will be quick to inform you, the Dayne ancestral sword of Dawn was supposedly forged from the heart of a star, and the sword is most definitely covered in blood. Is it a stretch? Possibly. But what else do we have to speculate about now that Jon's parentage is finally clear?

The White Wolf

When Jon Snow is crowned King in the North, Lord Manderly calls Jon the "White Wolf." This Easter egg makes reference to a couple of different things. Obviously, the White Wolf is a nod both to Jon's pet direwolf Ghost, as well as to his own last name—Snow. But for Game of Thrones heraldry fans, the name has an even deeper meaning. Bastards are not allowed to take up the sigil of their family house unless they have been legitimized. In most circumstances, a bastard who wants to establish their own sigil will use the sigil of their house, but with the colors reversed.

If Jon wanted to do this himself, his new sigil would be a white wolf on a field of gray. Of course, now that the season seven finale has revealed that Jon's parents Rhaegar and Lyanna were married, that means Jon is no bastard at all and his actual sigil is the red-on-black three-headed dragon of the Targaryens. That being said, if Jon decides his love for Daenerys is more important than his birthright, he may decide to keep his parentage a secret and remain the "White Wolf" for the rest of his days.

Payback's a bitch

For horrified fans who watched the downfall of Robb and Catelyn Stark at the Red Wedding, revenge couldn't come soon enough. It took several seasons, but the payback was truly worth the wait. During the Red Wedding, Robb Stark is stabbed in the belly by Roose Bolton, while Catelyn has her throat slit by Black Walder Frey, and Robb's direwolf Grey Wind was killed with crossbows. The deaths of the Red Wedding conspirators match that of their victims: Tywin Lannister is shot with a crossbow, Roose Bolton is stabbed in the gut, and Arya Stark slits the throat of Walder Frey. Ah, justice is sweet.

The Rat Cook

While staying at the Nightfort along the Wall with Jojen, Meera, and Hodor, Bran relates the ancient tale of the Rat Cook, as told to him by Old Nan. Hundreds of years ago, an Andal King was visiting the Nightfort with his son. A cook at the Night's Watch castle was angry with the King for some supposed wrong, and murdered the prince and baked him into a pie with bacon, which he then served to the King. The King was so pleased with the pie that he asked for a second piece. According to the legend, the old gods were so outraged by this that they cursed the cook, turning him into a giant white rat that can only survive by eating his own young. Supposedly the rat still roams the Nightfort today.

According to Old Nan, "It was not for murder that the gods cursed him, nor for serving the Andal king his son in a pie. A man has a right to vengeance. But he slew a guest beneath his roof, and that the gods cannot forgive." The tale is still told in Westeros as a warning as to what happens to those who break guests' rights—like Walder Frey. His eventual demise echos many aspects of the story. Before killing him, Arya Stark kills two of his sons and cooks them into a pie, which she then serves to Walder Frey. It isn't obvious in the scene, but if you look closely, you can see that Walder already has the scraps of one piece of pie on his plate, and the piece that Arya brings him is his second. Revenge is truly a dish best served cold—and full of dismembered toes.

The mountain beyond the Wall

During season seven, a mountain "shaped like an arrowhead" became a pivotal landmark when Jon and his band of merry men went beyond the Wall in search of a wight to capture. Seen by Sandor Clegane during a vision, the group uses the mountain to guide them on their journey. It wasn't the first time we'd seen the mountain on the show, however—it also loomed in the background of Bran's season six vision, when he watched the Children of the Forest create the first White Walker. At that point in time, the area surrounding the peak was lush and green, not the frozen tundra it is now.

In reality, this mountain is called Kirkjufell ("Church Mountain") and is a popular landmark in Iceland, where a large portion of Game of Thrones is filmed. We don't yet know if this was just a convenient way to recycle a location for filming purposes, or if the mountain will play a larger part in the plot. But since it's appeared in two pivotal scenes involving the Night King and the White Walkers, we wouldn't be surprised if Kirkjufell makes a return in the final season.

The Winterfell crypt guardians

Although Ramsay Bolton (and the rest of the Bolton clan) are now dead and gone, the damage they did to the Stark family goes much deeper than psychological trauma. We got a glimpse in the second episode of season seven, when Jon leaves the Winterfell crypt after a tense conversation with Littlefinger. If you were paying attention, you may have noticed the headless statues standing guard outside the crypt's entrance.

What's the significance? As seen in season one, two sturdy and detailed direwolf statues stood on either side of the crypt entrance. Theon Greyjoy may have held Winterfell with his Ironborn for a brief time, but it wasn't until the Boltons took up residence that these statues were desecrated. The Boltons were trying to replace the Starks as the new power in the North, and by beheading the statues, they were reminding the people of Winterfell who was in charge. In addition, these beheaded statues underscore for the viewer what has been lost; the remaining Stark siblings have been reunited, but so many others have died. In fact, two of those deaths (Robb's and Rickon's) came directly at the hands of the Boltons themselves, making this an even more poignant reminder.

Arya's dagger

During the course of season seven, a certain Valyrian steel knife (known colloquially as the "Catspaw dagger") came into play on multiple occasions. First, Littlefinger gave the knife to Bran, who then passed it on to Arya. As Sansa explained in the season finale, Littlefinger told Catelyn that the dagger had belonged to Tyrion Lannister, which caused Catelyn to kidnap Tyrion, Tywin Lannister to go to war, and Jaime Lannister to attack Ned Stark in the streets of King's Landing. In reality, it was Littlefinger's dagger, and his lies had been designed to create chaos. But the story of this particular dagger actually goes back much further.

When Samwell Tarly is researching Dragonglass in Oldtown, he flips through the pages of a book about the topic. On one page is an illustration of the Catspaw dagger, with text indicating that it's made of Valyrian steel with Dragonglass ornamentation (the two materials that can kill White Walkers). Another clue hidden on that page suggests that the Catspaw dagger may once have belonged to Aegon the Conqueror himself.

John Bradley-West told Huffington Post that during the scene, he was directed to "linger on this page" so audiences could get a good look. Additionally, HBO had an ad campaign for season seven centered on the dagger. While the knife certainly came into play during Littlefinger's final moments, it seems likely that this isn't the end of its role on the show. When Bran received the dagger from Littlefinger, he asked him, "do you know who this belonged to?" This question has much more meaning now that we know it may have been Aegon I's—and that Jon's true name is also Aegon Targaryen.

Jon's scars

In the season seven episode "Beyond the Wall," Daenerys is forced to rescue Jon and his crew when their mission to trap a wight ends with them in the middle of a frozen lake, surrounded by the army of the dead. Unfortunately, Jon gets pulled into the icy waters before Dany can save him. Luckily, he emerges mostly unscathed, and his Uncle Benjen unexpectedly shows up—giving Jon his horse and sacrificing himself to the horde of wights to give his nephew a head start. When Jon arrives back at Eastwatch, he's hypothermic and is quickly brought aboard their ship—where Daenerys watches in horror as she sees Jon's old scars from where he was murdered by the Night's Watch mutineers.

This Easter egg is all about those scars—or rather, their placement. Daenerys' lost love Khal Drogo had a scar through his left eyebrow, as does Jon. Additionally, Drogo died from an infected wound very near his heart, and Jon has a puckered scar in the same place. The similarities between these scars may have contributed to Daenerys' shock when she saw Jon's wounds—it likely brought up horrible memories of how her first husband died. Would she lose Jon the same way? It's clear from the following scene that she'd been sitting at Jon's bedside for hours—just as she did for Drogo when he was near death—hoping against hope that he'd return to her. This time, she got her wish. When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, when the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.

Gendry's hammer

Fans rejoiced when Ser Davos Seaworth tracked down Gendry in the season seven episode "Eastwatch," and found out that he hadn't actually been rowing for the last four seasons. Instead, Gendry was working for himself in the Street of Steel at King's Landing. When Davos asks Gendry to come back to Dragonstone, Gendry jumps at the chance—only pausing to grab an exquisitely-crafted warhammer. Gendry is pretty darn good with it, too, as seen when he smashes in the heads of two nosy Gold Cloaks.

Gendry's warhammer was embellished with a golden stag, which is the sigil of House Baratheon. When Robert was in his prime, he was known for his prowess with a warhammer—which he used to kill Rhaegar Targaryen. No doubt Gendry knows this, which is why he made himself a weapon modeled after his father's. What's really fun about all of this is the initial meeting between Gendry and Jon, when Gendry tells Jon, "our fathers trusted each other; why shouldn't we?" Gendry was referring to Robert and Ned, but since we know Jon's real father was Rhaegar Targaryen, we wonder if their relationship will change when Jon realizes that Gendry's father actually killed his.

While Gendry took his warhammer beyond the Wall on the wight hunt, he was forced to leave it with The Hound after Jon sent Gendry back to Eastwatch. Later, Clegane realizes that the iron weapon is useless against the wights and tosses it on the ground. It's unclear if The Hound retrieved it before Daenerys rescued the group, but if he didn't, Sandor's going to have some explaining to do when Gendry sees him next.