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Things You Only Notice In Game Of Thrones When You Rewatch The Series

Even though Game of Thrones closed with an uneven and ultimately unpopular final season in the spring of 2019, the show still remains as beloved as ever, with eight total seasons of engaging political intrigue, stunning battle scenes, zombies, dragons, and gorgeous sets in locations like Croatia, Iceland, Spain, and Northern Ireland. Throughout 73 episodes, viewers followed the Starks, Lannisters, Targaryens, Baratheons, and other great houses of Westeros as they prepared to battle for the Iron Throne and control over the realm. From heroes like Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) to villains like Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson), fans couldn't get enough of the show's perfect combination of action, drama, and even romance.

Fans love to rewatch Thrones. That's no surprise, since it's definitely one of the densest and most complex shows on television, with an enormous cast of characters and no shortage of complicated mythology. As you sit down for your next rewatch, you might pick up on tiny details along the way for the first time. From clear foreshadowing of major plot points to subtle clues about the show's mysteries, here are a few things you'll only notice in Game of Thrones when you rewatch the whole series. Spoilers to follow!

Tywin Lannister's first appearance

The patriarch of the powerful and high-born Lannister family, Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) strikes an imposing figure, especially considering that he not-so-secretly pulls the strings behind the scenes of the Seven Kingdoms. The Lord of Casterly Rock and the Warden of the West, Tywin once served as Hand of the King to Aerys II Targaryen, also known as the Mad King. During Robert's Rebellion, he switched sides to back the next man to sit on the throne, King Robert Baratheon, eventually marrying his daughter Cersei to the new monarch.

Under Tywin's watchful eye, the Lannister family rises even higher during the show's first season after King Robert dies in a hunting accident (an accident many believe was orchestrated by the Lannisters) and his grandson Joffrey takes the throne, leading to Tywin's reinstatement as Hand of the King. Careful fans might have seen a harbinger of Tywin's plan during his very first appearance, where the lord guts a stag (the symbol of House Baratheon) while discussing war strategy with his son Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).

Dance, for his part, described shooting the scene as the "craziest thing" he ever did on the show. That certainly is saying something, considering Tywin eventually gets shot to death on the toilet.

Jorah's well-timed ride

Probably the most loyal and devoted servant in all of Thrones, Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) is usually found by the side of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), the young Dragon Queen whose singular goal is to take the Iron Throne upon which her father once sat. From her wedding to Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) to her eventual conquest of the Seven Kingdoms, Daenerys is rarely seen without Jorah. In fact, he dies at the Battle of Winterfell defending his Khaleesi... though they did go through a rough patch at one point.

Throughout the first season, the Baratheons and Lannisters, sequestered all the way in King's Landing, seem to have a lot of information about Daenerys' whereabouts and latest news. By the fourth season, Daenerys discovers that it was Jorah who was passing information to Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) in exchange for a pardon that would allow him to return to Westeros, even though he saved Daenerys from an assassination attempt and eventually stopped spying entirely, having fallen in love with his queen. Daenerys ultimately forgives Jorah, but it's still shocking to see her most faithful adviser fall so far. 

Audiences knew about this long before Daenerys, and the first season contained one huge clue. When Jorah finds out that Daenerys is pregnant with Drogo's child, he goes for a very conveniently-timed ride by himself, which gives him a chance to send a letter to Varys and share the big news.

The identity of Theon's captors

By the start of the show's third season, Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), who has committed plenty of despicable acts of his own (including murdering a pair of farm boys and passing them off as the two youngest Stark boys), ends up captured by mysterious opposing forces. He's then relentlessly tortured in a series of extraordinarily harrowing scenes. He's at the Dreadfort, but Theon doesn't know where he is, and his captors trick him by dressing in Greyjoy clothing, emotionally traumatizing him as well as tearing him apart physically.

At one point, Theon believes he is staging a daring escape thanks to a servant sent by his sister Yara (Gemma Whelan). After a series of harrowing events, he ends up right back in the same torture chamber at the Dreadfort, and the boy who "saved" him turns out to be Ramsay Snow, the sadistic, twisted bastard of the Bolton clan, who has been responsible for Theon's capture and torture all along. 

If viewers were familiar with Westerosi house sigils, they probably would have known who was holding Theon the whole time. During his first torture scenes, Theon is pinned to an X-shaped cross. What's the sigil of House Bolton? A flayed man pinned to an X-shaped cross.

A familiar Lannister face

In Thrones' third season, the war between the Starks and Lannisters is officially underway after the latter family beheaded Ned Stark (Sean Bean), the honorable head of the Stark family. As the opposing sides draw closer to each other, each gets more and more ruthless. At one point, two young Lannister squires, Martyn and Willem, are captured by Tully forces (loyal to the Starks) and held captive at Riverrun. Despite being the sons of a high-ranking Lannister, they're not "valuable" enough to exchange for Sansa and Arya, the former of whom is still being held by the Lannisters. Before Robb Stark (Richard Madden) can make a concrete decision as to what to do with the boys, they're killed by Lord Rickard Karstark (John Stahl), whose son was killed by Jaime Lannister.

This might be the end of Martyn Lannister, but it wasn't the end for the actor who played him. Dean-Charles Chapman, who only appeared for two episodes, ended up returning to the show to play the youngest of Cersei's children, Tommen, who is crowned King after his brother's Joffrey death in season four. More casual fans might have forgotten about Chapman's first role, but eagle-eyed viewers will recognize Chapman as the rare actor to play two distinct roles on Thrones... and even die twice.

Davos' first word

Known as the Onion Knight, former smuggler Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) is introduced in the show's second season as a knight who serves as the Hand of the King to Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane), King Robert's brother who seeks the throne in the aftermath of the monarch's death. Despite his prickly exterior, Davos has a kind heart and a generous nature. In his interactions with Stannis' daughter Shireen (Kerry Ingram), a princess who bears the distinctive scars of greyscale, viewers can see Davos' soft side.

In the third season, Davos is imprisoned by Stannis after he threatens Stannis' Red Priestess, Melisandre (Carice van Houten). While he sits despondent in the dungeons of Dragonstone, Shireen visits him to bring him a book in order to pass the time. However, he can't read, so Shireen offers to teach him, asking if he can try and read the very first word of the book, which is the name "Aegon." A book about Aegon Targaryen and his dragons, this name turns out to be incredibly significant for Davos. Unbeknownst to everyone at this point, Aegon Targaryen is the real name of the supposed Stark bastard Jon Snow, whom Davos ends up serving later in the series after Stannis is defeated in battle.

Olenna Tyrell's sleight of hand

The imposing and clever matriarch of House Tyrell, Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), known as the "Queen of Thorns," is constantly working to make sure that the Tyrell family remains in power and safe from their enemies. When her beloved and beautiful granddaughter Margaery (Natalie Dormer) becomes engaged to King Joffrey, she tries to discern what kind of husband he might be by asking his former fianceé Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). When Sansa blurts out that Joffrey is a "monster," it's clear that Olenna decides she has to do something to prevent the marriage.

The two are married in the Sept of Baelor, but during the reception, Joffrey ends up choking to death, clearly having been poisoned. Though Tyrion Lannister is accused of the murder, it turns out that the entire thing was orchestrated by Littlefinger (Aiden Gillan) and Olenna. If you look closely during Joffrey's wedding, you can actually see it happen. While chatting with Sansa, Olenna takes a crystal off of Sansa's necklace under the pretense of fixing the girl's hair, and that crystal is later used to poison Joffrey (naturally, Olenna and Littlefinger were the ones who made sure Sansa wore the necklace in the first place). Lest she not get any credit, Olenna's last act on the show is to tell Jaime she was behind it and to ask him to tell Cersei, going to so far as to say, "I want her to know it was me."

A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing

One of the show's biggest twists, revealed to the audience at the end of the show's sixth season, is that Jon Snow is not the bastard of Ned Stark and some tavern girl, but the son of Rhaegar Targaryen (Daenerys' brother) and Lyanna Stark (Ned's sister), who were lawfully married before their deaths during Robert's Rebellion. Though it was long believed that Rhaegar had kidnapped Lyanna, who was promised to Robert, the two were deeply in love. Their union resulted in Jon, who would have been immediately killed by Robert had he been aware of the baby's true identity. To protect the child and keep his promise to Lyanna, Ned pretends Jon is his bastard, dying before he can ever tell Jon about his true identity.

Besides Jon and Daenerys, there is one other Targaryen floating around in Westeros: Maester Aemon, who resides at the Wall and serves as a Maester to the Night's Watch after giving up his claim to the Iron Throne. During a conversation with Sam, Aemon says (ostensibly regarding Daenerys) that "a Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing" just as Jon Snow, his great-great nephew, enters the room. Some have theorized that Aemon knew who Jon was the whole time, but in any case, it's a quick clue for fans to catch during their rewatches.

Arya's choice of faces

During the show's fifth season, Arya endures difficult and grueling training at the House of Black and White. There, she learns how to become a faceless assassin under the tutelage of Jaqen H'ghar, a killer who can change his face at will. However, her time there proves more difficult than she anticipated, as she seems unable to let go of not only her identity, but her grudges, and this repeatedly holds her back from making any significant progress. Eventually, it seems like she learns to lie about herself and become "no one," which comes into play when a father brings his dying daughter to the House of Black and White, and Arya makes up a story to soothe the girl before giving her a drink that will end her life and her suffering.

Later, Arya breaks the rules by killing a man not marked for death by the gods. This particular man, though, was marked for death by her years earlier — Meryn Trant, the Lannister knight who killed her beloved fighting teacher Syrio Forel. Stealing a face from the House, Arya sneaks into a brothel, poses as a young girl (because, as if he wasn't bad enough, Meryn is a pedophile), and brutally murders him, only to face serious consequences when Jaqen finds out. Pay close attention during these scenes and you'll notice that the face Arya stole isn't just any face — it's that of the young girl she euthanized.

Jon's connection to the Mormonts

House Mormont, an ancient house of Westeros, is dwindling when the series begins. By the end, only a few remain: Jorah; his father Jeor Mormont (James Cosmo), who served as the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch until his death; and young Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsay), the diminutive yet fierce leader of Bear Island. Despite being few in number, this house ends up proving incredibly important to the show — particularly to one character.

Throughout the series, Jon is both consciously and unconsciously supported by the Mormont family, right from the beginning of his time with the Night's Watch in the first season. Personally chosen as a steward to the Lord Commander, Jeor gifts Jon with the Mormont family sword, Longclaw, a rare weapon made of Valyrian steel. Jeor even outfits the handle to feature a wolf rather than a bear, and Jon carries Longclaw with him for the rest of the series (its distinctive handle can even be seen in the very last moments of the series). Lyanna Mormont, meanwhile, is the one who nominates him to become the King in the North. 

Sharp-eyed viewers will also notice one other Mormont easter egg in the show. After the Battle of the Bastards in the show's sixth season, during a one-on-one fight with Ramsay, Jon uses a Mormont shield to defend himself.

Sam's research pays off

During the show's seventh season, Sam Tarly (John Bradley) fulfills his love of learning and books by studying at the Citadel in Oldtown, where maesters are trained and made. However, in the season premiere, it seems as if he's doing more janitorial duties than anything else, and when he tries to warn the maesters about the oncoming threat of the White Walkers, he's laughed out of the room. To prove his point, he goes into the restricted section of the library to do some more research, and inadvertently stumbles upon something quite helpful.

One of his books features a drawing of a very specific dagger made of Valyrian steel known as the "catspaw dagger," which proves to be one of the most important items on the show. Once owned by Littlefinger, the dagger was used in an attempt to murder a young, injured Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright). It's later used to kill Littlefinger himself, and eventually, is the weapon Arya Stark uses to take down the undead Night King. As he studies, Sam has no idea he's looking at a depiction of the weapon that not only started the War of the Five Kings, but would later end the war against the dead.

The pack survives

Every house in Westeros has a motto. From the Lannister's unofficial creed, "A Lannister always pays his debts," to House Baratheon's declaration that "ours is the fury," these sayings are extremely important to each house's identity. Though House Stark's official motto — "Winter is coming" — serves as a warning from the North about the long and often deadly Westeros winters, they have plenty of other sayings, including one attributed to Ned Stark: "When the snow falls and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives."

The Stark family, which splintered during the show's first season, have suffered enormous trials and tribulations over the course of the series (as well as losing a few of their number), finally reuniting fully in season eight when Jon Snow returns to Winterfell. Before that, at the end of season seven — with Bran, Arya, and Sansa safely in control of their ancestral home — Sansa reminds Arya of this particular saying. 

Audiences didn't know it yet, but by the show's end, Ned's words have true. All of the Stark family, including the half-Targaryen Jon Snow, survive the bloody battles of the final season. Though they part ways during the series finale, they do so in a spirit of peace, not war.