12 Times Game of Thrones Sneakily Foreshadowed the Future
Game of Thrones is one of those shows that you really do have to watch from the beginning (and not just because Jason Momoa is only in the first season). There are so many details that seem random or offhand at face value but then make sense or explain something several episodes or even seasons later. Here are 12 of the times Game of Thrones perfectly foreshadows what's to come.
Stag vs. Direwolf
What, you thought this show would ease you into the idea of paying attention to every detail? Ha. On their way back from the execution of the Night's Watch deserter in the pilot episode, the Stark boys and Theon encounter a dead direwolf, killed by a stag.
At the time, you were probably distracted by the adorable direwolf puppies, but eight episodes later, Ned Stark (the leader of the family with a direwolf as its sigil) is killed by Joffrey Baratheon (the leader of the family with a stag as its sigil).
Spoiler: it's not any less painful even if you see it coming from the beginning.
Daenerys's Hot Bath
Daenerys Targaryen's first major scene in the pilot episode is dense: it introduces her as a pawn in a much bigger game, it very quickly establishes how creepy her brother Viserys is, and it also suggests that she's a bit stronger than she appears.
Dany steps into a hot bath and her attendant rushes over and tells her it's too hot. Dany doesn't even flinch. Seems odd at the time, but fast-forward nine episodes and Dany survives a night in an actual fire — confirming that she, not her sniveling big brother, is the real dragon in the family.
The scene where Viserys gets his "crown for a king" is additional foreshadowing of Daenerys's true nature and of her own knowledge about it. Dany has become convinced her brother should not become king by this time and isn't even surprised that the melted gold burns him. As she says, "Fire cannot kill a dragon."
Jaime Lannister's Comeuppance
It seems strange now, but there was a time when Jaime Lannister was impossible to like. Back in season one, Jaime is the epitome of Lannister arrogance and selfishness — symbolized by that time he pushes a child out of a window to cover up the fact that he's banging his sister.
In the show's second episode, the Lannisters are eating breakfast in Winterfell and discussing poor Bran's condition. Jaime remarks that even if Bran wakes up, he'll be a "grotesque cripple," and he couldn't imagine living like that himself. "Give me a good, clean death any day." At the time, it simply sounds like an obnoxious thing that his obnoxious character would say. But this is Game of Thrones.
Jump ahead a season and the great Jaime Lannister gets to see what Bran's world is like when he gets his right hand — his sword hand — chopped off.
Friendship Only Goes So Far
There are plenty of stories analyzing how much Jon's real parentage is hinted at in Game of Thrones, but perhaps one of the earliest is in the show's second episode, when Robert and Ned are enjoying a meal on their way to King's Landing and discussing the good old days.
Robert starts asking Ned about the "mother of his bastard" who did the seemingly impossible and got someone as noble as Ned Stark to forget his marriage vows. Ned is pretty cagey about it, which we assume at the time is due to guilt since Ned seems like a pretty solid family guy. He won't even talk about what the woman looked like. Then the conversation turns to Daenerys's marriage to Drogo, which leads back to discussing Rhaegar and Lyanna. Robert says he'd kill every last Targaryen to protect his rule (and get revenge). This statement makes the usually calm and collected Ned get surprisingly angry. Sure, it seems extreme to kill Daenerys at this point, but there's no real reason for Ned to want to protect Targaryens . . .
Unless there is. Fast-forward six seasons and ta-da! There had been a Targaryen living right under Ned's roof, a Targaryen whom he promised his sister he'd protect. Aw, Ned.
Bronn Says What We Were All Thinking
In season one, we get a little spoiled by Ned Stark's affection and concern for his children, so Tywin Lannister's method of "parenting" is starkly different. Ha. Get it?
Tywin is especially cruel to Tyrion because of reasons that aren't even close to actually being Tyrion's fault. We get more backstory on Tywin's history of mistreating his youngest son when Tyrion tells Bronn and Shae about his first wife Tysha in season one.
Tyrion had fallen in love with Tysha at 16 and married her before realizing she was a whore Jaime had hired for him. However, when Tywin found out, he took the "joke" much farther. He had his guards have sex with Tysha one by one and pay her for each one while Tyrion watched.
When Tyrion finishes this story, the ever-candid Bronn says, "I'd have killed the man who did that." Fast-forward three seasons, and that's exactly what Tyrion does.
The circumstances surrounding Tyrion's murder of Tywin even mirror the story about Tysha. Tyrion is bent on revenge by the time he seeks Tywin out in the fourth season finale, and his rage is only magnified when he finds Shae in Tywin's bed. Tywin once again takes the woman Tyrion loves away from him and reduces her back to a whore right in front of his eyes.
The Secret Lannister Coup
While the stag-murdering-a-direwolf foreshadowing is obvious, there's another instance where Game of Thrones uses animals to symbolize a power shift a bit more subtly.
When we're first introduced to Tywin Lannister in season one, he's skinning a stag as Jaime watches. At face value this does plenty to establish Tywin as a menacing character, but it also foreshadows the Lannisters taking power from the Baratheons.
Later in this same episode, King Robert Baratheon dies, leaving Joffrey to take the throne. But this isn't actually a Baratheon succession. Ned has just confirmed with Cersei the truth he suspected about the new young king: he's not Robert's son at all. He's pure incest-borne Lannister, which technically means the Lannisters now have real control over the throne.
From the very beginning, it's clear that Margaery Tyrell is no ordinary young woman. Beautiful, smart, and ambitious, it almost seems a shame for her to be hidden away behind her husband Renly Baratheon. But she has no plans to stay there for long.
After Renly's . . . unconventional death in season two, Margaery speaks with Littlefinger about the fact that Renly only called himself a king, so she wasn't really a queen. Littlefinger asks if she wants to be a queen, and she answers immediately that she wants to be THE queen.
Coming from the calm, confident Margaery, this doesn't sound like just wishful thinking from a young widow. The Tyrells end up striking an alliance with the Lannisters and help assure their victory in the Battle of Blackwater Bay at the end of season two. Afterward, King Joffrey asks Margaery's brother Loras how to repay him for his help, and well, fast-forward two seasons and we have Queen Margaery.
Theon Unwittingly Seals His Own Fate
Like Jaime Lannister, it's almost hard to remember a time when we despised Theon Greyjoy because we've been feeling sorry for the guy for so long. Back in season two, Theon betrays the Starks during the War of the Five Kings and seizes control of Winterfell along with some of his men from the Iron Islands. Not cool.
Unfortunately, Theon's "best-laid" plans don't pan out too well, and the castle is soon surrounded by the much larger Bolton army. He's urged to surrender by Maester Luwin, but Theon is desperate to maintain an image of strength in front of his people. He tells Maester Luwin that surrendering would make him look like a "fool and a eunuch" to the Ironborn forever.
In the following season, after the Boltons take control of Winterfell and kill Theon's men, Ramsay Bolton takes Theon prisoner and literally turns him into a eunuch.
The Rat Cook
Lost the use of your legs, but still want to look cool in front of your new friends? A good old-fashioned scary story should do the trick. Take it from Bran Stark. In the season three finale, Bran tells Jojen and Meera Reed the legend of the Rat Cook. A cook who worked in the Nightfort castle on the Wall once killed the son of a king who was visiting. The cook then baked the son into a pie and served it to the king. As a result, the cook was cursed by the gods and turned into a rat as punishment for killing someone who was a guest. Yikes.
Turns out the timing of Bran's story is no accident. He tells it the episode after the Red Wedding, when Walder Frey . . . well, you know what he did to the guests in his home.
Three seasons later, Bran's sister Arya takes revenge on Walder Frey in an eerily similar method to the Rat Cook's crime. She kills Walder Frey's sons, bakes them into a pie, and serves it to Frey. If Bran knew this creepy story by heart, it's likely Arya knew it too.
Daario's Declaration of Loyalty
No matter what character fault you find with Daario Naharis, there's no denying he's been a major asset to Daenerys. He's a skilled fighter, a quick thinker in tricky situations, and he also brings the Second Sons into Daenerys's army. And yes, she appreciates his other . . . qualities as well. But the Mother of Dragons never lets the line get blurred between personal and professional, even if Daario hopes for it.
In season four, when Daario is trying again and again to win Dany's favor, he says that even if she told him to stay in Meereen and patrol the streets while she went to Westeros, he'd do it without question.
Fast-forward two seasons, and Daenerys asks him to do exactly that. Daario clearly is under the impression that he's enough of a favorite to keep from being left behind, but he's very wrong. Daenerys doesn't forget a promise.
Maester Aemon's Impeccable Timing
Impossibly old, wise, and thoughtful, Maester Aemon had a bit of a soft spot for Jon Snow right from the start. He defends Jon when Alliser Thorne wants to have Jon executed for "abandoning" the Night's Watch for the Wildlings and casts the last vote to make Jon the Lord Commander in season five.
While Aemon makes no claim or obvious suggestion that he thinks Jon might be more than just a bastard, he does give a very big (albeit inadvertent) hint in season five. He's talking with Sam about Daenerys, and remarks that "a Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing."
The camera cuts back to Sam listening, and then the door behind Sam opens and Jon walks in as Aemon's words still hang in the air. Sure, at the time it can really only be written off as coincidence — but at the end of the next season, it's revealed Jon is in fact a Targaryen.
Sam Gives No Spoiler Warnings
For five seasons, Samwell Tarly sticks by Jon's side, trying to keep up with him as best he can and always coming to his defense. It's sad to see them say goodbye in the fifth season finale when Sam sets out for Oldtown with Gilly, but even sadder when we realize that he wasn't there to defend Jon from being killed by his own men.
While Alliser Thorne's betrayal of Jon is no surprise, Olly's is a bit more unexpected. Sure, he was upset with Jon for sympathizing with the Wildlings, but helping to murder him is extreme. It's likely his decision was influenced by his conversation with Sam earlier in the season, when Sam explains Jon's decision to help the Wildlings and says that sometimes unpopular decisions have to be made.
However, Sam's next words jump out as foreshadowing about his friend. He tells Olly not to worry about Jon, because "he always comes back." Jon is extremely lucky when it comes to surviving things, but in season six he comes back one more astonishing time — from the dead.