"Game of Thrones" Season 7, Episode 4 was so damn LIT on every level, it's easy to understand if fans missed a couple of cool -- and key -- early season callbacks.
Season 7 has been rewarding fans with all kinds of nods to the first six seasons, including a Season 1 callback for Arya Stark at the gates of Winterfell, similar to her struggle to get past the King's Landing guards back in Season 1. A Girl always manages to get through.
But one very telling callback in "The Spoils of War" was a line Daenerys Targaryen said to Jon Snow in the Dragonstone caves, exactly matching what Jon had said himself to Mance Rayder in the Season 5 premiere, when "King" Stannis told Jon he had to convince Mance to bend the knee, or Mance would burn.
The Dany/Jon convo happened as Jon showed her the Children of the Forest paintings, with the Children and the First Men fighting together to take on the White Walkers.
Dany: "I will fight for you. I will fight for the North. When you bend the knee."
Jon: "My people won't accept a Southern ruler, not after everything they've suffered."
Dany: "They will if their king does. They chose you to lead them. They chose you to protect them. Isn't their survival more important than your pride?"
That quote -- "Isn't their survival more important than your pride?" -- is precisely what Jon told Mance in Season 5.
Jon didn't reply to Dany, "Fook my pride," or say "The freedom to make my own mistakes was all I ever wanted." But hopefully Jon doesn't burn alive either, the way Mance did. It's a bad way to go. But it looks like some folks might be going that way in Episode 5, "Eastwatch," since Dany is veering ever closer to Mad King/Stannis territory with her demand that they bend the knee.
Here's hoping this is all part of a larger growth storyline where Dany eventually realizes she doesn't need that kind of visual fealty to be the queen. She can be, as Missandei put it to Davos and Jon, "the queen we chose" without needing to see the tops of people's heads.
"Game of Thrones" continues with Episode 5, "Eastwatch" on August 13 at 9 p.m. on HBO.
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