9 Sly Lil’ References & Hints You Lowkey Missed In ‘Game Of Thrones’ Ep 4

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that before a single line of dialogue was penned for this season of ‘Game of Thrones‘, HBO locked the writers in a room and forced them to sit through the entire six seasons for a refresher.

Like every other episode this season, ‘The Spoils of War‘ was full of throwbacks and repeated lines you might have missed unless you’re a huge giant GoT-nerd. (There’s a lot of us.)

So, here they are: all the things you might’ve missed.

1. Here’s where you’ve heard “chaos is a ladder” before.

Yes, obviously, it’s a Littlefinger classic that Bran was quoting back at him to fuck with his putrid scheming mind.

fuuuuuuuuuuuuck. – Littlefinger.

So when did Lord Baelish actually say it? To Varys, in Season 3, in the Throne Room.

“The realm,” he says. “Do you know what the realm is? It’s the thousand blades of Aegon‘s enemies, a story we agree to tell each other over and over, until we forget that it’s a lie.”

“But what do we have left, once we abandon the lie?” replies Varys. “Chaos? A gaping pit waiting to swallow us all.”

“Chaos isn’t a pit,” Littlefinger returns serve with. “Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some, are given a chance to climb. They refuse, they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”


Christ the dialogue is great. Props to George R.R. Martin (I’m just assuming these lines were taken verbatim from the books here, but feel free to correct me). You might spend 500 words describing the sediment flow of a river, but you nail it where it counts.

2. Arya’s been stopped by guards trying to get home before.

With the pure fire battle of the final 20 minutes, it’s almost easy to overlook the OTHER huge thing that happened this week: Arya! Home, at Winterfell! And she wasn’t letting two bumbling but determined guards get in her way.

Arya not being let into her own home has happened once before, in Season 1, after she found her way into the dungeons underneath the Red Keep and accidentally finds a secret exit that leaves her on the wrong side of the walls.

She didn’t have a lot of time for those guards, either.

3. And remember when Sansa said in Season 6 that “no one can protect me”?

She was being dark, noting her bleak future should Jon Snow lose the Battle of the Bastards. But now, with Arya back, a girl who was once no one, she kind of *is* being protected by no one. Oh be still my heart.

4. Sansa said Jon’s “heart might stop” when he sees Arya.

Errr, the thing is, Jon’s heart may actually not be beating: Martin has previously said that Beric Dondarrion, another man brought back from the dead by the Lord of Light, no longer has a beating heart. Interesting choice of words here, at the very least.

5. Remember what happened the last time Jon was in a cave?


And then he just happens to go in another cave with Daenerys. Hmmm.

6. And those cave drawings were a familiar, circular pattern.

We’ve seen the circular theme before, both in the patterns of bodies left by the White Walkers and in the stones during the creation of the first one.

David Weiss and D.B. Weiss said in the ‘Behind the Episode‘ bit that they weren’t sure exactly what the significance was here, but that it was an artistic allusion to previous episodes. Okay guys, sure.

7. Davos was quoting Stannis when he corrected Jon’s grammar.

There’s a teeny, tiny, throwaway line that’s said as Jon and Davos are walking down the pathway at Dragonstone and bumping into Missandai (and no, it’s not “I’ve seen you admiring her good heart”).

Jon refers to 10,000 “less” men, to which Davos replies, “fewer”. It’s almost reflexive; when Jon asks, “what?”, Davos replies, “nothing”. But it wasn’t nothing. It was a throwback to a lesson Stannis gave the Onion Knight on grammar in Season 2.

8. Robert Baratheon warned of the follies of meeting the Dothraki in an open field.

Even before Daenerys flew over the ridge line on the back of Drogon, the Lannisters were well and truly fucked. Jaime said they were “stretched pretty thin”, and a thin wall of foot soldiers is no match for the Dothraki horse-lords.

Robert Baratheon once told Cersei Lannister that “only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field.” Jaime had absolutely no choice over this situation, but Robert’s words rang haunting as the Dothraki charged down the hill and smack bang into the straggling Lannister army.

9. Jaime Lannister looked extremely Saint George in that final scene.

Saint George, an actual human person who lived during the 3rd Century AD, somehow got tied up with a legend about being a dragonslayer, and is often depicted on a horse, charging at a dragon with spear in hand.

Paolo Uccello (1397–1470), Musee Andre Jacquemart, Paris.

Kingslayer, dragonslayer, slayer of my heart. Oh good lord, please don’t be dead.