This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 1.
The Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere featured a pretty grisly scene: Tormund, Beric and Edd meet up at Last Hearth (the holdfast of House Umber) and discover its inhabitants have already been slaughtered by the White Walkers, who have left a message – written in body parts.
The body parts form a spiral pattern, with the corpse of little Ned Umber (who then turns into a wight) pinned at the centre. Beric lights the whole thing on fire to kill Undead Ned, and it really, er, elevates the artwork.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the White Walkers create “art” with body parts. In fact, it first happened way back in Season 1, Episode 1 – although the pattern was different.
We later see the spiral pattern itself in Season 3, when Mance Rayder and Jon Snow find the horse corpses the White Walkers left from their battle with the Night’s Watch.
The spiral pattern is significant because, as we see in Bran’s vision of the birth of the first White Walker in Season 6, it was presumably used for magical purposes by the creators of the White Walkers, the Children of the Forest.
The same spiral stones, grouped around the now-frozen weirwood, are seen in another of Bran’s Season 6 visions – when he finds the Night King and his army, and the Night King leaves his mark on him.
Both the spiral pattern and the original circular pattern from Season 1 crop up again in Season 7, when Dany and Jon visit the dragonglass cave on Dragonstone and discover markings left by the Children of the Forest.
There’s other patterns in the cave, too – including this one, which almost looks like the circular and spiral patterns combined.
Importantly, direct representations aren’t the only time we see these patterns. They crop up throughout the series, primarily in connection to Jon and Dany’s storylines. For example, in Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre…
Or in echoes in the crush and mhysa cenes, which each saw Jon and Dany reborn in some way.
Also, maybe it’s just me – but doesn’t the spiral pattern look a lot like the Targaryen sigil?!
What do you think these patterns mean? Share your theories in the comments below!