The shortest season of Game of Thrones so far has ended in the same blow-your-mind, fast-and-furious pace in which it started, and we can all officially say we've lived to see a ice-breathing dragon that melts ice (if that makes any sense!). Although shorter than the previous seasons, Game of Thrones's seventh season was heavily focused on taking characters and plot lines, that were seeded way back in the show's first season, full-circle. While Game of Thrones usually loves its foreshadowing and callbacks, this season saw an astounding amount of references to previous seasons, and we're about to venture into our Game of Thrones weekly callback round-up for the last time this season.
Note: This post conatins mild spoilers for the Game of Thrones Season 7 Finale, "The Dragon and the Wolf."
Cersei's Death List
You'll all remember that Arya strayed onto the path of revenge pretty early on, and started a list of people she'd want to see dead (or, more to the point, that she wanted to kill herself) in Game of Thrones Season 1. Well, in the Season 7 finale, Cersei has decided she still has people she wants to kill — even though she's offed a ton of people already — and compiles her own short list. As she's walking out to meet Daenerys Targaryen at the Dragonpit, Cersei gives the Mountain some pretty specific names to cross off, if things turn south in their meeting. Daenerys, Tyrion and Jon take priority in Cersei's list, while everyone else who stands in her way will apparently die one way or another. It's worth noting that Cersei still features (quite prominently) in Arya's list herself.
If we're speaking of death lists, we must mention the Hound's promise to kill his brother — which he reaffirms in this episode, when he talks to the Mountain at the Dragonpit. Cleganebowl has just became a real possibility for Game of Thrones Season 8, folks.
The Heroes Of Blackwater Bay
Similar to the conversational tone of the previous episode, "The Dragon and the Wolf" offers some interesting tidbits of dialogue between characters who'd been apart for way too long. First, the squire Podrick shares some love with his previous master, Tyrion; then, the pair are joined by Bronn, making the Holy Trinity of Blackwater Bay complete at last. While there's little to no camaraderie between Bronn and Tyrion (since their allegiances diverge at the moment), Tyrion still tries to get Bronn to change sides, reminding the sellsword of a promise the little lord made him long ago:
"Whatever they're paying you, I'll double it."
Next, it's Brienne and the Hound's turn to reminisce about his near-death experience (which came about because of Brienne herself), and they end up being pretty cool about the whole thing. Brienne tells the Hound that Arya is alive in Winterfell and, although he looks a little taken aback about it, they both share a mutual respect for Arya's ability to fend for herself. It's nice to see the two bonding over Arya, and also for the Hound to be so okay with the fact Brienne nearly killed him in season 4, but maybe his talk to Tormund in the previous episode might have changed his mind about the Lady of Tarth.
Cersei's Worst Fear
Cersei's true love has always been herself (and her parting with Jaime in the finale just supports that), but one could argue that her love for her children was almost as strong. Back when she lost her daughter Myrcella, Cersei went on and on about how she imagined her beautiful daughter's face decomposing and rotting. In "The Dragon and the Wolf," Cersei got a colorful image of what Myrcella would look like by now, when the Hound let the wight loose and it went straight to Cersei. No wonder that "family" was the one thing she thought about at the time, as she later told Tyrion.
Ned Stark's Legacy
If this season has been all about father figures leaving their marks and living through their children's actions and values, Eddard Stark's principles certainly stood out. Whether it was Arya recalling her father's approval, Sansa quoting his words, or Bran's recently found wisdom cementing Littlefinger's fate, Ned would be extremely proud of how his Northern kids turned out. In the finale, Jon pulls a "Ned Stark" when Cersei asks him for his neutrality in the war for the Iron Throne, and Jon refuses to hide the fact he's already pledged to Daenerys. While Ned would certainly approve of Jon's honorable decision not to lie (or maybe not, considering how Ned's own honesty was rewarded), his actions certainly undermined the already fragile truce with Cersei.
Even Ned Stark's ward, Theon Greyjoy, borrows heavily from his foster father in his speech to the Iron Men. Although eventually Theon goes all Greyjoy and simply takes the respect he's owed, he initially tried the Stark approach — diplomatically and honorably arguing his reasons and motives.
"The Dragon and the Wolf" marks the first time Queens Cersei and Daenerys share a scene, and the Lannister queen was unimpressed (to say the least). Cersei has been using the fact that Dany is a foreigner from Essos all season, and she compares Tyrion's relationship to Daenerys to a previous one he had with another foreigner. To Cersei, Daenerys is "another whore who doesn't know her place," just like Tyrion's former flame Shae used to be — before he killed her, of course.
This exchange between Tyrion and Cersei offers many significant moments, including a #callback to the Purple Wedding between Joffrey and Margaery. In the wedding, Cersei's eldest son forced Tyrion to be his cup bearer, which prompted the dwarf to be accused of poisoning the king afterwards. In Game of Thrones' Season 7 finale, Tyrion pours Cersei a glass of wine (like he did Joffrey), but she suspiciously refuses it.
The Dragon and the Wolf
After seven seasons — and in the exact episode where Jon's legitimacy is clearly proclaimed — Game of Thrones finally brings the Targaryen incest to the screen. While on the boat to White Harbor, Dany and Jon reopen Dany's baby factory, right after Jon tells her not to give credence to Mirri Maz Duur's prophecy about Dany being barren. It's becoming ever so clear that a Stargaryen baby will feature in Season 8, which might serve as reason for Jon to look past his incest and stay with Daenerys after all.
Petyr Baelish's scheming and plotting finally catches up to him in the Game of Thrones Season 7 finale, when Sansa and Arya team up with Bran to reveal Littlefinger's roll in the execution of Ned Stark, and his conspiracies to make the Westerosi houses fight each other. From Jon Arryn's death — which prompted Robert Baratheon's trip to Winterfell in the series' very first episode — to Lysa Arryn's letter to Catelyn accusing the Lannisters, and Littlefinger's betrayal of Ned, Petyr sees his machinations come to an end at the blade that started it all: Catspaw. It all comes full-circle when Littlefinger's throat is cut with the same dagger he once used to threaten Bran's life, and set the War of Five Kings in motion. Good riddance, Littlefinger.
The (Original) Dragon And The Wolf
Perhaps the most epic flashback Bran will ever have as the three-eyed raven is the one when he sees Rhaegar Targaryen's marriage to Lyanna Stark in the finale, which not only proves Jon Snow was never a bastard, but also that he is the offspring of a union of love. In Game of Thrones Season 6, we learned that Ned Stark wasn't in fact Jon's father and that R+L really equalled J, but now that scene at the Tower of Joy between Lyanna and her brother Ned takes a whole new perspective. Lyanna ran away with Rhaegar because she loved him (and he loved her, as Bran points out) and Jon Sn- I mean, Aegon Targaryen is actually the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
Game of Thrones' seventh season served fans well, albeit at an unusually fast pace, as a prelude to the end of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Winter has finally come (all the way south to King's Landing, by the way) and so has the Night King and his army, who are now marching down to Winterfell. Next season will be a huge callback itself (to Old Nan's stories of giants and the Long Night), and perhaps we'll get to see Bran traveling to the building of the Wall and (re)visiting the Mad King. Either way, regardless of who will win and who will lose, Game of Thrones's final season will certainly be an epic one.
Did you catch these callbacks in the finale? Did I miss another? Sound off about Game of Thrones finale in the comments.