11 Game of Thrones Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

Game of Thrones is famous for dropping clues of things to come—and subtle nods to George R.R. Martin’s books—in casual bits of dialogue or unassuming props. As fans prepare to say goodbye to the beloved HBO series, we've rounded up 11 Easter eggs you might have missed the first time around, from the debut season all the way up to "Winterfell," the first episode in season 8. Be sure to watch and listen carefully for future references as the final episodes unfold.

1. Ser Davos Seaworth said Jon Snow’s real name in season 3.

Liam Cunningham in 'Game of Thrones'
Helen Sloan, HBO

In season 7, the popular R+L=J theory was finally confirmed. Jon Snow is not the bastard son of Ned Stark, as nearly everyone in Westeros believes, but the legitimate son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen—and the heir to the Iron Throne. Ergo, his real name is Aegon Targaryen. So far, only a handful of characters on the show have figured it all out, but technically, Davos Seaworth called this a long time ago. When Princess Shireen Baratheon taught Davos to read in season 3, the first word Davos learned was Aegon, foreshadowing Jon Snow’s true lineage.

2. Sansa Starks’s wedding gown contained an embroidered story.

On Game of Thrones, even the clothes have hidden messages. According to the show’s costume designer Michele Clapton, the dress Sansa Stark wore when she married Tyrion Lannister was stitched with her life story. The golden gown featured a fish embroidered around the belly to honor her mother’s house sigil, as well as a Stark direwolf and a Lannister lion on the back.

3. Walder Frey’s death was outlined earlier in the show.

Arya Stark claimed long-awaited vengeance for her family in the season 6 finale, when she finally killed Walder Frey. Before she slit his throat, however, she served him a pie stuffed with the remains of his sons—Black Walder and Lothar. It’s a shocking and gruesome scheme, but it’s also one we’ve heard before. In season 3, Bran told Hodor and his companions the legend of the Rat King: According to this folklore, a cook in the Night’s Watch once killed the son of a visiting king. He chopped the body up and cooked it into a pie that he then served to the king, who loved it so much he asked for seconds. The gods punished the chef by turning him into a large rat who could only survive by eating his own children. As Bran explained, the gods were not offended by the murder or even the cannibalism—they couldn’t abide a man “kill[ing] a guest beneath his roof,” which is exactly what Walder Frey did to Catelyn, Robb, and Talisa Stark.

4. The furniture at King’s Landing reveals regime changes.

Squint hard at the wooden furniture in the Red Keep and you’ll notice a lot of dragons. The Game of Thrones production team intentionally included these pieces—which are most prominent in Tommen Lannister’s bedroom and the Small Council’s meeting room—to remind viewers of past power struggles at King’s Landing. The dragon furniture implies that the Baratheons and Lannisters kept the Targaryens' furnishings after they staged a coup, perhaps while they waited on some new bedframes with roaring lions.

5. Olenna Tyrell referenced family history in Dorne.

When Olenna Tyrell called a secret meeting with Ellaria Sand in Dorne, she admitted to being uneasy in the kingdom—and with good reason. "The last time a Tyrell came to Dorne, he was assassinated,” Lady Olenna told Ellaria. “A hundred red scorpions, was it?” This is a nod to Martin's novels, which detail the death of Lyonel Tyrell. The story goes that Lyonel liked to storm Dornish castles, then kick the lords out of their own bedrooms. One night, he wound up in a bed with a velvet canopy and matching sash, intended to summon women to his room. Except when he tugged the sash to do just that, 100 red scorpions fell from the canopy, killing Lyonel and freeing the Dornish from his tyranny.

6. The magic of Harry Potter is alive in Westeros.

Fandoms collided in season 7 when Samwell Tarly asked Archmaester Ebrose for help accessing “the restricted area of the library.” The phrase was a familiar one for Harry Potter fanatics; in the book series and subsequent movies, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has a restricted section of the library containing books on dark magic. Sam’s request felt like a wink to Harry Potter fans, especially since Archmaester Ebrose was played by Jim Broadbent, who played Horace Slughorn in the movies. But that’s not the only connection: Natalia Tena, who plays Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter universe, also appears in Game of Thrones as the wildling woman Osha. In her early scenes, she is seen making brooms.

7. The Meereenese love Monty Python.

The warriors on Game of Thrones aren’t above trash talking. According to David Peterson, the show's language creator, the Meereense fighter who challenged Daario Naharis in season 4 shouted some very silly insults in Low Valyrian. His words translated to the French guard’s speech from Monty Python and Holy Grail—the one that goes, “Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!”

8. The Iron Throne includes swords from other fantasy franchises.

The swords that form the Iron Throne further link Westeros to other fictional universes. If you look closely, you’ll spy Gandalf’s sword from The Lord of the Rings movies molded into the back of the throne, as well as the weapon Orlando Bloom wields in Kingdom of Heaven.

9. Ed Sheeran’s fate was revealed in a sex scene.

Ed Sheeran and Maisie Williams in 'Game of Thrones'
Helen Sloan, HBO

Fans were furious when pop star Ed Sheeran appeared in the season 7 premiere as a Lannister soldier Arya Stark encounters in the woods. The response was so negative that Sheeran later joked, “It was fun being in Game of Thrones, but I definitely think they should've killed me off in the episode.” Well, he almost got his wish. In the season 8 premiere, Bronn visits a brothel and hires three women who can’t stop talking about the Lannister men who perished in battle. They specifically reference a “ginger” named “Eddie” who “came back with his face burned off” and no eyelids. Ouch.

10. Euron Greyjoy’s fleet hides some famous faces.

Speaking of cameos: season 8 has already given us two more. When Theon Greyjoy storms his uncle Euron’s ship to free his sister Yara, his men take out the crew with arrows to the face—and, for one especially unfortunate sailor, the eye. That unfortunate sailor was none other than Rob McElhenney, co-creator and star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Also aboard the ship? Martin Starr of Silicon Valley fame.

11. The show's co-creators are in the Hall of Faces.

Maisie Williams and Tom Wlaschiha 'Game of Thrones'
Helen Sloan, HBO

In a move straight out of Alfred Hitchcock’s playbook, Game of Thrones co-creators David Benioff and David Weiss have cameoed on their own show—or at least, their faces have. The two men’s visages appeared in the Hall of Faces that Arya frequents with Jaqen H’ghar. See if you can spot them on your next rewatch.

10 Products for a Better Night's Sleep

Amazon/Comfort Spaces
Amazon/Comfort Spaces

Getting a full eight hours of sleep can be tough these days. If you’re having trouble catching enough Zzzs, consider giving these highly rated and recommended products a try.

1. Everlasting Comfort Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow; $25

Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow
Everlasting Comfort/Amazon

For side sleepers, keeping the spine, hips, and legs aligned is key to a good night’s rest—and a pain-free morning after. Everlasting Comfort’s memory foam knee pillow is ergonomically designed to fit between the knees or thighs to ensure proper alignment. One simple but game-changing feature is the removable strap, which you can fasten around one leg; this keeps the pillow in place even as you roll at night, meaning you don’t have to wake up to adjust it (or pick it up from your floor). Reviewers call the pillow “life-changing” and “the best knee pillow I’ve found.” Plus, it comes with two pairs of ear plugs.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Letsfit White Noise Machine; $21

Letsfit White Noise Machine
Letsfit/Amazon

White noise machines: They’re not just for babies! This Letsfit model—which is rated 4.7 out of five with nearly 3500 reviews—has 14 potential sleep soundtracks, including three white noise tracks, to better block out everything from sirens to birds that chirp enthusiastically at dawn (although there’s also a birds track, if that’s your thing). It also has a timer function and a night light.

Buy it: Amazon

3. ECLIPSE Blackout Curtains; $16

Eclipse Black Out Curtains
Eclipse/Amazon

According to the National Sleep Foundation, too much light in a room when you’re trying to snooze is a recipe for sleep disaster. These understated polyester curtains from ECLIPSE block 99 percent of light and reduce noise—plus, they’ll help you save on energy costs. "Our neighbor leaves their backyard light on all night with what I can only guess is the same kind of bulb they use on a train headlight. It shines across their yard, through ours, straight at our bedroom window," one Amazon reviewer who purchased the curtains in black wrote. "These drapes block the light completely."

Buy it: Amazon

4. JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock; $38

JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock
JALL/Amazon

Being jarred awake by a blaring alarm clock can set the wrong mood for the rest of your day. Wake up in a more pleasant way with this clock, which gradually lights up between 10 percent and 100 percent in the 30 minutes before your alarm. You can choose between seven different colors and several natural sounds as well as a regular alarm beep, but why would you ever use that? “Since getting this clock my sleep has been much better,” one reviewer reported. “I wake up not feeling tired but refreshed.”

Buy it: Amazon

5. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light; $200

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
Philips/Amazon

If you’re looking for an alarm clock with even more features, Philips’s SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is smartphone-enabled and equipped with an AmbiTrack sensor, which tracks things like bedroom temperature, humidity, and light levels, then gives recommendations for how you can get a better night’s rest.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Slumber Cloud Stratus Sheet Set; $159

Stratus sheets from Slumber Cloud.
Slumber Cloud

Being too hot or too cold can kill a good night’s sleep. The Good Housekeeping Institute rated these sheets—which are made with Outlast fibers engineered by NASA—as 2020’s best temperature-regulating sheets.

Buy it: SlumberCloud

7. Comfort Space Coolmax Sheet Set; $29-$40

Comfort Spaces Coolmax Sheets
Comfort Spaces/Amazon

If $159 sheets are out of your price range, the GHI recommends these sheets from Comfort Spaces, which are made with moisture-wicking Coolmax microfiber. Depending on the size you need, they range in price from $29 to $40.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow; $80

Coop Eden Pillow
Coop Home Goods/Amazon

This pillow—which has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon—is filled with memory foam scraps and microfiber, and comes with an extra half-pound of fill so you can add, or subtract, the amount in the pillow for ultimate comfort. As a bonus, the pillows are hypoallergenic, mite-resistant, and washable.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Baloo Weighted Blanket; $149-$169

Baloo Weighted Blanket
Baloo/Amazon

Though the science is still out on weighted blankets, some people swear by them. Wirecutter named this Baloo blanket the best, not in small part because, unlike many weighted blankets, it’s machine-washable and -dryable. It’s currently available in 12-pound ($149) twin size and 20-pound ($169) queen size. It’s rated 4.7 out of five stars on Amazon, with one reviewer reporting that “when it's spread out over you it just feels like a comfy, snuggly hug for your whole body … I've found it super relaxing for falling asleep the last few nights, and it looks nice on the end of the bed, too.” 

Buy it: Amazon 

10. Philips Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band; $200

Philips SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band
Philips/Amazon

Few things can disturb your slumber—and that of the ones you love—like loudly sawing logs. Philips’s Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band is designed for people who snore when they’re sleeping on their backs, and according to the company, 86 percent of people who used the band reported reduced snoring after a month. The device wraps around the torso and is equipped with a sensor that delivers vibrations if it detects you moving to sleep on your back; those vibrations stop when you roll onto your side. The next day, you can see how many hours you spent in bed, how many of those hours you spent on your back, and your response rate to the vibrations. The sensor has an algorithm that notes your response rate and tweaks the intensity of vibrations based on that. “This device works exactly as advertised,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “I’d say it’s perfect.”

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

8 Facts About David Bowie's 'Space Oddity'

Express/Express/Getty Images
Express/Express/Getty Images

On July 20, 1969, astronauts walked on the Moon for the first time. Just a few weeks earlier, another space-age event had rocked the world: David Bowie’s single “Space Oddity” hit airwaves. The song, whose lyrics tell the story of an astronaut’s doomed journey into space, helped propel the artist to icon status, and five decades later, it’s still one of his most popular works. 

1. "Space Oddity" was inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Many listeners assumed that "Space Oddity" was riffing on the Apollo 11 Moon landing of 1969, but it was actually inspired by a Stanley Kubrick film released a year earlier. Bowie watched 2001: A Space Odyssey multiple times when it premiered in theaters in 1968. “It was the sense of isolation I related to,” Bowie told Classic Rock in 2012. “I found the whole thing amazing. I was out of my gourd, very stoned when I went to see it—several times—and it was really a revelation to me. It got the song flowing.”

2. "Space Oddity" was also inspired by heartbreak.

The track was also partly inspired by the more universal experience of heartbreak. Bowie wrote the song after ending his relationship with actress Hermione Farthingale. The break inspired several songs, including “Letter to Hermione” and “Life on Mars,” and in “Space Oddity,” Bowie’s post-breakup loneliness and melancholy is especially apparent.

3. "Space Oddity" helped him sign a record deal.

In 1969, a few years into David Bowie’s career, the musician recorded a demo tape with plans to use it to land a deal with Mercury Records. That tape featured an early iteration of “Space Oddity,” and based on the demo, Mercury signed him for a one-album deal. But the song failed to win over one producer. Tony Visconti, who produced Bowie’s self-titled 1969 album, thought the song was a cheap attempt to cash in on the Apollo 11 mission, and he tapped someone else to produce that particular single.

4. The BBC played "Space Oddity" during the Moon landing.

"Space Oddity" was released on July 11, 1969—just five days before NASA launched Apollo 11. The song doesn’t exactly sound like promotional material for the mission. It ends on a somber note, with Major Tom "floating in a tin can" through space. But the timing and general subject matter were too perfect for the BBC to resist. The network played the track over footage of the Moon landing. Bowie later remarked upon the situation, saying, "Obviously, some BBC official said, 'Oh, right then, that space song, Major Tom, blah blah blah, that’ll be great. 'Um, but he gets stranded in space, sir.' Nobody had the heart to tell the producer that."

5. David Bowie recorded an Italian version of "Space Oddity."

The same year "Space Oddity" was released, a different version David Bowie recorded with Italian lyrics was played by radio stations in Italy. Instead of directly translating the English words, the Italian songwriter Mogul was hired to write new lyrics practically from scratch. "Ragazzo Solo, Ragazza Sola" ("Lonely Boy, Lonely Girl") is a straightforward love song, and Major Tom is never mentioned.

6. Major Tom appeared in future songs.

Major Tom, the fictional astronaut at the center of "Space Oddity," is one of the most iconic characters invented for a pop song. It took a decade for him to resurface in David Bowie’s discography. In his 1980 single "Ashes to Ashes," the artists presents a different version of the character, singing: "We know Major Tom's a junkie/Strung out in heaven's high/Hitting an all-time low." Bowie also references Major Tom in "Hallo Spaceboy" from the 1995 album Outside.

7. "Space Oddity" is featured in Chris Hadfield's ISS music video.

When choosing a song for the first music filmed in space, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield naturally went with David Bowie’s out-of-this-world anthem. The video above was recorded on the International Space Station in 2013, with Hadfield playing guitar and singing from space and other performers providing musical accompaniment from Earth. Some lyrics were tweaked for the cover. Hadfield mentions the "Soyuz hatch" of the capsule that would eventually shuttle him to Earth.

8. "Space Oddity" played on the Tesla that Elon Musk sent to space.

Dummy in Tesla roadster in space with Earth in background.
SpaceX via Getty Images

In 2018, Elon Musk used SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket to launch his Tesla Roadster into space. The car was decked out with pop culture Easter eggs—according to Musk, "Space Oddity" was playing over the car’s radio system during the historic journey. The dummy’s name, Starman, is the name of another space-themed song on Bowie's 1972 masterpiece The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.