Ah, it’s finally time again to put on our “theory hats” and analyze every tiny thing pertaining to Game of Thrones. Considering how many tiny details have amounted to major revelations on the show, it’s a pretty solid strategy; and when the HBO series dangles sneaky hints right in front of our faces as season seven approaches, they’re too good to pass up. Granted, only mega fans would even pick up on the massive implications of the latest subtle Game of Thrones clues . . . but that’s what we’re here for, right?
Mere weeks from the seventh season premiere, the official GOT YouTube channel uploaded two clips from past seasons without any explanation. Naturally, fans speculated wildly about the potential meanings of each video pertaining to the next season. Read on for explanations about these clues and how they could drastically affect the plot of season seven.
Hint #1: Bran’s Role Beyond the Wall
The first video clip uploaded to the channel hearkens all the way back to season one and features an exchange between Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and his elderly caretaker, Old Nan (Margaret John). At Bran’s behest, Nan begins to tell the crippled young lord a story about a Winter unlike anything he’s ever experienced as a “sweet Summer child.” The woman begins her tale with a grave reminder: “Fear is for the Winter.” Proving why the harsh season is worthy of fear, she goes on to describe “the Long Night” thousands of years beforehand, when White Walkers and their hordes of giant, pale spiders came for the first time. Old Nan speaks of kings freezing in their castles and mothers smothering their babies to spare them from freezing or starving. Understandably, Bran appears terrified but morbidly fascinated by the tale.
“Fear is for the Winter.”
Of course, fans now know that this story is more relevant to Bran’s life than ever; he has experienced the horror of the undead White Walkers and their leader, the Night’s King, firsthand. Now that his first Winter has arrived, Bran is desperate to use his own powers as a greenseer to prevent the White Walkers from wreaking the same type of havoc on the Seven Kingdoms that they’ve already brought into his life by killing loyal Hodor, Jojen Reed, and the sage Three Eyed Raven.
So, what does this video clip mean for Bran’s future on Game of Thrones? The most reasonable explanation is that the moment between Old Nan and Bran was intended to foreshadow his current predicament, facing horrors unlike he’s ever imagined in the throes of Winter. But some fans also believe that this cryptic hint may have deeper implications for Bran’s role beyond the Wall; namely, that Bran may be the key to preventing another Long Night.
We know that Bran is capable of changing the course of history by traveling back in time, where his own actions have unforeseeable consequences; an outburst from Bran is what causes Hodor to mentally unravel, and another outburst gives young Ned Stark pause outside the Tower of Joy. Could it be that Bran decides to travel back in time in order to change the future, stopping the Night’s King from ever gaining a foothold or even existing?
Hint #2: Sansa’s Next Move at Winterfell
The second clip uploaded to the GOT channel is from season six and features an emotional exchange between Sansa Stark and Jon Snow. In the snippet, Jon tells Sansa that he’s having the lord’s chambers prepared for her, and that she should stay there as the Lady of Winterfell. She urges him to take the room, but he refuses, insisting: “I’m not a Stark.” “You are to me,” Sansa replies. The pair go on to discuss Littlefinger, whom Sansa declares “only a fool would trust.” They share an embrace, and Jon tells Sansa that they need to have one another’s backs, because they have enough enemies trying to tear their family apart. The conversation ends when they note that Winter is officially upon them, just as Ned Stark always promised.
“I’m not a Stark.” “You are to me.”
One of the heaviest questions about season seven is whether Sansa will be able to withstand Littlefinger’s manipulation, especially as he encourages her to betray Jon and vie for the throne herself. Several fans took this video as an indicator that Sansa has learned from Littlefinger and will do some manipulation of her own in the coming season.
“Her whole character arc is about her learning to play her hand as a courtly lady, and take advantage of the (very narrow) feminine powers she has a woman in Westeros . . . If Sansa doesn’t get to turn the tables on Littlefinger at some point and have her ‘student has become the master’ moment, it’d be a disservice to her narrative arc,” wrote one Redditor. Sansa’s insistence that Jon is a Stark to her seems to further cement the idea that she’ll betray Littlefinger, not Jon. It was her own betrayal of Arya in season one that led to her direwolf, Lady, being executed, and brought Joffrey’s years of torment upon her; Sansa has learned never to trust outside of her family, and she’s very unlikely to turn her back on Jon now that they’re reunited.
Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how Littlefinger’s fate plays out once the show returns. The only thing we know for sure is that it feels like we have a Long Night (and then some) until the season premieres.