(Spoiler Alert: If you aren’t caught up on “Game of Thrones” as of May 29, you might want to move along.)
At the beginning of Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones,” “Blood of My Blood,” Bran Stark is being dragged through the snow by Meera Reed as they continue to try to escape from the pursuing undead forces of the White Walkers.
During this sequence, Bran is not present, exactly, as he’s experiencing visions of the past. We see brief flashes, but it’s incoherent and the cuts are so short it would be easy to miss a lot of them.
Going frame by frame through it all, however, it becomes clear that there’s some super important stuff contained in these flashes — including a major event that’s been referenced many times on the show but never seen. So let’s dive in.
There are three big bits that we’ll focus on first:
-King’s Landing pyromancers playing with Wildfyre. You’ll remember this substance from season 2, when Tyrion had the pyromancers make a whole bunch of wildfyre to help ravage Stannis Baratheon’s fleet at the Battle of the Blackwater. This flashback goes much further back than that, however. This is King Aerys Targaryen’s pyromancers, who will use the wildfyre to satisfy the Mad King’s obsession with burning people alive.
-The Mad King himself is seen for the first time, sitting on the Iron Throne, yelling “Burn them all!” This is the phrase that is closely associated with his madness, as mentioned above.
-Jaime Lannister murdering the Mad King and then sitting on the Iron Throne himself. It’s a legendary moment in “Game of Thrones” history, marking the end of Robert’s Rebellion and being the event that earned Jaime his “Kingslayer” nickname.
Aside from those, there were a bunch of other shots that either we’ve seen before or that don’t have any greater context to draw upon:
-There are many shots from the battle at Hardhome we saw in season 5.
-The White Walkers turning one of Craster’s baby sons into one of them, as we saw in season 5.
-Many shots from the Red Wedding in season 3, where Bran’s mother Catelyn and brother Robb were murdered by Roose Bolton and members of House Frey.
-The Children of the Forest creating the White Walkers thousands of years before, as seen in the May 22 episode, “The Door.”
-Bran’s vision encounter with the Night’s King, also as seen in “The Door.”
-A wildfyre explosion in the pyromancers’ storehouse
-A much younger Bran falling from the tower at Winterfell in the first episode of the series.
-A dragon flying over a city.
-Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy from an earlier flashback in season 6.
-Daenerys, naked with her newborn dragons in the ashes of Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre from the end of season 1.
-A flock of ravens flying through snowy woods.
-Ned Stark being executed in season 1.
-A bloody hand, closing into a fist.
-An empty landscape in the far north of Westeros.
The most interesting part of all this is of course the first look at the Mad King. Fans have been theorizing for weeks that Bran’s path with cross with the Mad King’s at some point thanks to Bran’s time travel ability, and that Bran may even be the one to cause the Mad King’s madness. This flash seems to draw a tangible link between the two — and indicating that eventually there will be some interaction there.
For more fan theories as to what the future has in store on “Game of Thrones,” check out our gallery below.