We’re still not over that HUGE Game of Thrones Battle of Winterfell surprise.
**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR GAME OF THRONES SEASON EIGHT EPISODE THREE**
No, not the mysterious return of Melisandre. Or Lyanna Mormont’s bloody bout with an undead giant. Or how most of the main characters – even Ghost – survived The Long Night.
Of course, we’re talking about the moment Arya Stark emerged from the shadows to save Bran at the last second, slaying the Night King and thereby defeating the army of the dead.
But however epic, looking back, it’s a moment we should have perhaps seen coming: throughout the show there’s been a LOT of foreshadowing.
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First and foremost, there was Arya’s encounter with Melisandre back in season three. While with the Brotherhood without Banners, the young Stark grabs the Red Woman, who delivers a very meaningful prophecy: “I see a darkness in you. And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes you’ll shut forever.”
The brown eyes could refer to the Walder Frey, the repulsive Lord of the Crossing that Arya kills in season six. The blue eyes point to the Night King, famous for his neon gaze.
And the green? Cersei perhaps? Or Littlefinger, who was killed by Arya in season seven (despite being portrayed by the blue-eyed Aiden Gillen, the character has green eyes in the books).
Another foreshadowing came when Ayra first received the Valyrian steel dagger that was used to kill the Night King. Although it seemed odd at the time, Bran gave her the dagger – first seen in a failed assassination attempt on Arya’s brother – in exactly the same location where the Night King was eventually defeated.
It’s also the same spot where the White Walker chief was created by the Children of the Forest thousands of years earlier.
There were more subtle hints in previous episodes. For example, earlier in season eight we saw Ayra by Godswood, where she managed to creep on Jon Snow without being heard.
Also, think back to season seven when Arya sparred with Brienne: doesn’t her knife-flipping move remind you of the trick she pulled to kill the Night King?
(Incidentally, star Maisie Williams has been honing her own stage fighting skills for a long time too...)
Even within the Battle of Winterfell itself, there were big clues, such as when Beric pulled The Hound back into the fight with a line that foreshadowed Arya killing the Night King – aka Death himself.
This was similar to a line Melisandre told Arya just before the Night King’s fall at Winterfell. Echoing the words of swords master Syrio Forel from the very first season, she said: “There is only one thing we say to death…” To which Ayra replied, “Not today”.
And, of course, Arya passed the lesson Jon Snow gave her in Thrones' very first episode with flying colours.
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