Warning: This post contains a LOT of spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8 episode 5. If you’re not caught up on the latest episode, bookmark us and come back once you’re ready to properly debrief. Ready? Let’s go!
There were approximately two billion major moments crammed into the jam-packed episode five of Game of Thrones season eight, so you’d be forgiven for not noticing every single last detail.
The Bells was 80 minutes of crazy action and maybe you were too busy shielding your eyes from Dany burning the absolute sh*t out of innocent little humans to fully appreciate the callbacks, foreshadowing and symbolism that’s become synonymous with the show.
In case you were simply reeling over Dany’s major heel-turn or too busy being confused by that darned white horse, here are some of the details you might’ve missed in the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones:
1. The ‘true heir’ letters that both ended in execution.
As callbacks go, we really enjoyed this one. Ned Stark was certainly no schemer and Varys was literally nicknamed the ‘Spider’ or master of whisperers. But it’s interesting that the letter (or letters?!) Varys is writing at the start of the episode is almost an exact replica of Ned’s way back in season one.
Ned was writing to Stannis Baratheon to let him know Joffrey wasn’t the true heir to the throne (because he’s Jaime and Cersei’s incest child), and Littlefinger betrays him by telling the Lannisters what Ned has done. He’s then executed.
Varys is writing to an unknown recipient telling them Jon Snow is the true heir to the Iron Throne. Tyrion is the one who tells Dany what he’s done and Varys is executed. (Dany did tell him she’d burn him alive if he betrayed her so, like, at least she’s true to her word.)
LISTEN: Claire Murphy and Holly Wainwright discuss everything that happened on Game Of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5:
2. Varys alludes to trying to poison Dany.
WE DEFINITELY MISSED THIS and woah, sorry for shouting. Varys appears to have been trying to poison Dany using one of his ‘little birds’ – a kitchen hand called Martha (who incidentally was one of the kids hiding with him in the crypts during The Battle of Winterfell). The following exchange went right over our heads:
Martha: “She won’t eat.”
Varys: “We’ll try again at supper.”
Martha: “I think they’re watching me.”
Martha: “Her soldiers.”
Varys: “Of course they are. That’s their job. What have I told you, Martha?”
Martha: “The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.”
Varys: “Go on. They’ll be missing you in the kitchen.”
Here’s where it gets really clever… it’s another callback to season one. Ned Stark says poison is a eunuch’s weapon, and, of course, Lord Varys is a eunuch. It’s summed up brilliantly by this Twitter user: