All the ‘Game of Thrones’ Easter Eggs and References You Missed in ‘The Queen’s Justice’
The third episode of Game of Thrones’ penultimate season served up a piping hot plate of some queenly justice. In “The Queen’s Justice“ we finally saw – SPOILER alert – Jon and Daenerys meet in the flesh, two Stark children reunited, Cersei exercise zero compassion for mama Sand Snake, and Lady Olenna go out with a firework finale of a bang. It was quite a week for major GoT moments, but with everything going on, did you catch all the references?
If not, I’ve rounded up the biggest Easter eggs and callbacks to previous episodes, from the wise man Tyrion quoted to Cersei paying homage to the Mad King.
1. Who’s that lady?
One brunette with a pixie cut stood out on Sunday night, when a very confident Cersei let one of her handmaids catch her in bed with Jaime. The girl looked like a new face in King’s Landing, and fanned the flames of a new wild fan theory, but as Vanity Fair quickly spotted, we’ve seen this woman before. That was Bernadette, the Lannister handmaiden who’s served Cersei for years. We first met her in Season 2 when she discovered Sansa had first gotten her period and almost ratted out the Stark girl to Cersei before Shae threatened her with a knife. She’s popped up here and there across the past few seasons, but now she’s undergone a major makeover to mimic her Queen (or maybe Cersei required all the women of the Red Keep to become her doppelgangers).
2. Cersei takes a tip from the Mad King
The Queen surely got her justice when she killed Ellaria Sand’s last-surviving daughter, Tyene, with the same poisonous kiss used on her only daughter, Myrcella. She could have opted for a gruesome death over slow, agonizing torture – we all expected the Mountain to crush Tyene’s skull Oberyn style. But Cersei enacted an even worse revenge, chaining Ellaria and Tyene up, far enough apart so the two couldn’t touch, and forcing the mother to watch her daughter slowly die in front of her. This torturous death wasn’t one of a kind, though, and drew a parallel between Cersei and Mad King Aerys.
Back in Season 1, Ned recalled how the Mad King took his brother Brandon prisoner, then tricked their father, Rickard Stark, into rescuing him. King Aerys II hung Brandon from the ceiling of the throne room and burned him alive while his father, chained up by his neck, was forced to watch (and eventually strangled himself trying to save him). Cersei may not be directly recreating the cruel bit of parental torture, but the themes of father punishing father and mother punishing mother in such a similarly grisly manner suggests Cersei is well on her way to becoming a Mad Queen. What’s even more interesting is what this reference means when considering the Valonqar prophecy and the theory that Jaime will be the one to kill his twin. Will the (Mad) Kingslayer become the (Mad) Queen Slayer? Now that Olenna Tyrell (RIP you marvelous woman) outed herself as Joffrey’s murderer, that information, and how it reveals Tyrion’s innocence, is bound to have some rippling effect on Jaime’s steadfast devotion to Cersei.
3. Jon is his father’s son
How peculiar, that when Jon is at Dragonstone and professes he’s not a Stark, a dragon immediately swoops directly over his head. Hmm, does someone smell Targaryen blood? (Dragons just know, man.) It’s only a matter of time before Rhaegar Targaryen is confirmed as Jon’s pops, and Sunday’s episode came with a couple moments connecting the King in the North to his Targaryen father.
As one Redditor spotted, the first came from Jon’s hype man Ser Davos, who told Daenerys that Jon has gained support from the North not for his name or lineage, but for the devotion and faith he’s inspired in others. “All those hard sons of bitches chose him as their leader because they believe in him,” Davos says. That line sounds a lot like a piece of dialogue Ser Barristan Selmy once said about Rhaegar Targaryen back in Season 3 when consulting Dany about purchasing the Unsullied. “When your brother Rhaegar led his army into battle at the Trident,” Selmy says in Season 3, Episode 3, “men died for him because they believed in him, because they loved him.”
Later when Jon is chatting with the Mother of Dragons outside he has another line that alludes to something we know about his dad. After Dany says, “We all enjoy what we’re good at,” Jon insists that he doesn’t. That brings to mind another thing Selmy shared about Dany’s brother in Season 5: Rhaegar was great at killing, but he never liked it. Jon is totally Rhaegar’s son, and based on the urgency of Bran saying he really needs to have a chat with his
brother cousin, I bet that confirmation is just episodes away.
4. Tyrion quotes his good friend Bronn
Bronn has been sadly absent this season, and while he appeared on screen for a few short seconds Sunday next to Jaime storming Highgarden, his words played a bigger role. During the siege on on Casterly Rock Tyrion quotes Bronn, using his words as the inspiration for the Unsullied’s sneak attack plan. “Casterly Rock is in impregnable fortress,” Tyrion says off screen, “but as a good friend of mine once said, ‘Give me 10 good men, and I’ll impregnate the bitch.’” Those were the wise words of Bronn when speaking about the Eyrie in Season 1’s “The Wolf and the Lion.” What a bummer, though, that this war finds Tyrion and Bronn on opposing sides.
5. Did Bran just confirm a fan theory?
This is less of a reference and more of a closer reading of one scene that might prove a fan theory. When Bran returns to Winterfell he (sorta) catches Sansa up on his new abilities. But there was something curious about Bran’s choice of language when telling Sansa he’s the Three-Eyed Raven. She gets understandably confused when he says the Three-Eyed Raven taught him everything he knows. “I thought you were the Three-Eyed Raven,” a perplexed Sansa says. “I told you, it’s difficult to explain,” Bran tells her. But is it?
Honestly, Bran could have easily explained that the Three-Eyed Raven is a title passed on from one person to the next, and that he was trained by the former TER and is the new one. Simple! But if it’s really is that hard explain, does that mean Bran’s connection to Max Von Sydow’s omniscient Greenseer holds larger secrets? As HuffPost pointed out, Bran’s wording could prove one fan theory that Bran and Sydow’s TER are the same person. Since Bran has the ability to slip forward and backward in time, the theory suggests Sydow’s character was Bran as an old man, training his younger self. Maybe it’s just crackpot theorizing, but I’d like to believe Bran is a kid who chooses his words with purpose.
6. Jon and Dany’s forgiveness
This was a pretty obvious callback to just two episodes ago, but nonetheless an important one you might have missed. When Daenerys and Jon are squabbling over unbent knees and White Walkers in the throne room, the Breaker of Chains implores Jon not to “judge a daughter by the sins of her father.” It’s no mistake that the season premiere found Jon with the very same line of thinking, arguing with Sansa about pardoning the Karstark and Umber children over punishing them for their families’ betrayals. If anything is going to bring these two leaders together, it’s their ability to exercise mercy to accomplish something greater. Prioritizing what that something is, defeating Cersei or destroying the army of the dead, is a whole other matter.
7. The catspaw dagger returns!
This one comes from the Episode 4 preview, which is loaded with revealing imagery. One of the most exciting shots in the trailer is the return of a very famous weapon: the catspaw assassin’s dagger. The last time this weapon was seen was in Season 1 when the assassin attempted to kill Bran. Then it was taken to King’s Landing by Catelyn where Littlefinger told his lifelong Stark crush that the dagger belonged to Tyrion (likely a lie).
That’s the last we heard of it until a sketch of the weapon, made of a blade of Valyrian steel, made an obvious cameo in the Season 7 finale. We know this weapon will play an important role moving forward because, duh, Valyrian steel is in high-demand at the moment to kill White Walkers. John Bradley also told to HuffPost that the camera very intentionally lingered on the book sketch of the weapon two episodes ago, so the showrunners have been priming us for this weapon’s return. It’s long been believed that Littlefinger was the last one with the dagger, and in the preview it certainly looks like he’s the one holding it. (The person’s sleeves are a mustard yellow, and moments later a quick close-up of Littlefinger shows him with a similarly colored collar under his coat.) An Entertainment Weekly cover featured Maisie Williams’ Arya with the dagger on her belt, and the latest preview ended with the youngest Stark girl looking down on Winterfell. Will Episode 4 be the end of Littlefinger?