Game of Thrones' Season 6 ended tonight in an episode filled with callbacks to previous moments in the series. "The Winds of Winter" may have done a pretty stunning job of propelling the show's plot forward, but it also paid homage to previous memorable scenes — and gave us closure for the Red Wedding, lest we forget.
Let's take a look at those callbacks and gather what we can from their connection to this week's episode.
Be advised: spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones Season 6 finale.
6. The White Raven
In a previous post, I discussed a possible theory for the white raven seen in the teaser but, as it turned out, it was really a raven from the Citadel. We've seen one before, in Season 2, to signal that the long summer (which lasted ten years) was over.
White Ravens are used by the Citadel in Oldtown to signal the change of seasons. When Sam arrives at the Citadel, he understands that the winter is finally here. Some episodes ago, in "The Door," we got a hint as to the ending of summer, when Summer — Bran's direwolf — was killed by White Walkers.
5. 'Winter is Here'
The House Stark motto — "Winter is Coming" — has been said a fair amount of times in Game of Thrones. Though some people took it literally to mean the changing of the weather, most have taken it to symbolize the turning point for the Starks.
In this week's episode, we finally saw what those words meant — in an exchange between Sansa and Jon in Winterfell. Sansa tells Jon about the White Raven and that it means the winter has arrived, to which Jon replies:
Winter brings hope for Jon and Sansa, not only because they'll probably fair better in it, but also because it means it's their time to rise. That's what Sansa's and Jon's smiles at the end of that scene were all about.
4. Hand of the Queen
This was a heartfelt moment back in Season 1. King Robert Baratheon rides all the way to Winterfell to ask his friend Eddard Stark to be the Hand of the King. Although the two were old friends, the King made sure to deliver a pretty formal request to Ned Stark.
In "The Winds of Winter," Daenerys and Tyrion share a similar moment when she pins on him the Hand of the King sigil. This scene brought back memories to when Tyrion had temporarily acted as Hand. Although he had done a good job as acting Hand, as soon as his father returned to King's Landing, Tyrion was cast aside. It feels justified now, especially since he's definitely earned his position and Queen Daenerys's trust.
3. The Mad Queen
If not for Bran's flashback we might have never found out the Mad King's fashion sense. As it happens, we all got a glimpse of Aerys in Episode 6 this season, and he was wearing something very similar to what another mad character wore in the latest episode.
Cersei not only shares the Mad King's style (in her black gown) but she also shares his madness. Burning the High Sept and everyone in it with wildfire was one of the craziest things we've seen on Thrones. It also makes us wonder how things stand between her and Jamie. Considering he is a Kingslayer because he killed the "Burn them all" King, they may fall out.
2. Queen Cersei
Game of Thrones has had its share of Kings and their coronations, but they differed much from Cersei's. First, they were all kings and the times are changing for women in this show. But Tommen's (and even Joffrey's) coronations were way lighter and shinier than their mother's.
As Cersei walked to her throne the blackness of her dress seemed to overwhelm everything around her. The lights were utterly dim and the silence in the room made sure we understood that things are going to get darker in King's Landing for the next season.
1. King in the North
As predicted, Jon Snow became indeed King in the North. Against most odds, Jon is currently the leader of House Stark and of the North, ruling above Sansa. Hats off to Lyanna Mormont (Damn, girl!) once more, for if not for her Jon would probably be king of nothing — like Daenerys in the beginning of the season. Seeing the men rally for Jon took every single one of us back to Season 2 and Robb's acclamation as King in the North.
Both scenes were heavy with ideals like honor and duty, though their contexts differ somewhat. With Robb, he assumed a mantle he didn't want, for a war he didn't wish to take part in, but was honor-bound to. Jon needs these men and their allegiance if he hopes to defeat the Night's King army. It's worth noting though, that things didn't turn out so well for Robb, so maybe there's something in store for Jon as well.
There was a little bonus here for me, as the men bow to Jon and he looks at Sansa — just like Robb looked at Catelyn Stark. Mother and daughter being so alike, the emotional charge of this scene also came from Sansa's nod of approval to Jon emulating the one her mother gave Robb.
There are still some dialogues nagging at me and screaming familiarity — like Lyanna Stark's "I'm trying to be brave" — but it's hard work to connect all the dots. Let me know in the comments if you had any deja vu moment in "The Winds of Winter."