For a show with such a sprawling plot, Game of Thrones is surprisingly good at maintaining a firm grip on references to previous seasons. That’s part of what makes it so richly rewarding as a viewer — with a few exceptions, it doesn’t have that brand of amnesia particular to some TV shows, in which past events are treated like they never happened. That being said, there isn’t always time to pack episodes with more than a nod or two to past events. But “Book of the Stranger” had an unusually large number of them. Here’s our roundup, in case you missed any.
Shadow Baby Assassin References
Melisandre’s shadow baby assassin was a bizarre and very memorable scene, but aside from the odd comment from those who doubt Brienne’s story, it hasn’t been mentioned much since it happened in Season 2.
But when Brienne meets Davos and Melisandre, it comes back in full force. Their meeting is hardly as tender as Sansa and Jon’s; it consists of uneasy glances and Brienne telling them about killing Stannis to get justice for Renly. “It’s in the past — it doesn’t mean I forget or forgive,” says Brienne. Well, damn.
The most obvious callback is Sansa and Jon’s meeting, because we haven’t seen any Starks together since the Red Wedding in Season 3. And we haven’t seen these particular Starks together since fifty-three episodes ago, in the show’s pilot. Back when Jon was beardless and idealistic about joining the Night’s Watch and Sansa thought knights were valiant and ladies were proper and Joffrey was her Justin Bieber tween-girl dream crush.
After acknowledging their formerly strained relationship (Sansa: “I spent a lot of time thinking about what an ass I was to you”) Sansa says what all viewers have thought at one point or another: “We never should have left Winterfell.”
Jon’s inability to function without a red head bossing him around
Jon is tired of fighting, and he’s reluctant to take back the North. Sansa quite literally has to bully him into it by saying, “A monster has taken our home and our brother. We have to go back to Winterfell and save them both.” She also says, “I’ll do it myself if I have to.” Previously, Jon has had Tormund to boss him around, and before that, Ygritte. This moment reminded us that Jon is at his best with a bossy ginger by his side.
The dick in a box reference
When Theon and his sister Yara reunite, Theon mentions how Ramsay tore him into a thousand pieces. “He sent us one of those pieces,” says Yara. This is the first time the show has brought up the dick in a box issue since the end of Season 3.
The bear and the maiden fair
My Sun and Stars
Before Daenerys went Mad King on all the Dothrak-bros, they were making references to the Sun and Stars and Moon of Daenerys’s life. We haven’t truly heard that expression since Daenerys had that touching vision of Drogo way back in Season 2.
Daenerys the Unburnt
Daenerys’s naked fire walk is an obvious circle back to the end of Season 1. She was unburnt then in front of a crowd of Dothraki, and five seasons later, she’s back where she started.