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What did THAT symbol mean in last night's Game of Thrones? Here's a theory

The White Walkers' imagery may have a surprising connection

Seth Dunlap
April 15, 2019 - 5:41 pm

"Game of Thrones" final season premiered on HBO to record breaking numbers last night, and most of those 17.4 million viewers were left wondering the same thing.  Just what did that symbol in The Last Hearth mean?

Spoiler warning: if you haven't watched the latest episode of "Game of Thrones" there are major plot points discussed ahead.  Proceed with caution.

One of the final scenes in the premier depicted Beric Dondarrian, Tormund Giantsbane, and other survivors of the disaster at Eastwatch fleeing south through The Last Hearth, a castle in the North and seat of House Umber.  To the group's surprise, they are greeted not by Umbers, but by the remnants of a recent bloody battle.  Ominously, there is lots of blood but no bodies to be found.

As they venture into the now-abandoned castle the group runs into Lord Commander Dolorous Edd and other member's of the Night's watch.  Edd says his group did find something in the castle.  That something turns out to be a dead Ned Umber, the young lord of House Umber who was seen earlier in the episode being given leave by Sansa Stark to gather his family and forces at the Last Hearth before returning to Winterfell.  

The gruesome scene has Umber staked to a wall and surrounded by decapitated limbs and body parts also pinned to the wall in a spiral pattern around him.  Umber, now a blue-eyed wight, eventually awakes which causes Beric to plunge his fiery sword into the dead boy, setting the spiral pattern ablaze.

It was an awesomely disturbing sight, but the spiral patter is something that we've seen on the show before.  The Children of the Forest were in a similar pattern during the ceremony where they first created the White Walker, which we saw during a scene where Bran uses his greensight to see into the past.  The pattern can be seen at the :35 mark in the video below.

Three have also been numerous spiral patterns carved into cave walls, including when Jon Snow offers Daenerys a tour through the saves before Dragontsone.  Further back, Jon and Wildlings find dead horses torn to bits and meticulously placed in that same spiral pattern.  Scroll to :25 second in the video below for that reveal.

What does all of this mean?  Surely it's not just coincidence.  Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have indicated in interviews that the White Walker symbolism may come from the Children of the Forest, and could simply be an ominous sign of their existence and plans to advance south.

There is, however, one other connection that you probably missed.  This is the point where show and book cannon collide with wild fan theories, but this one is worth attention.  House Targaryen is ancient, perhaps even predating the White Walkers themselves.  While that part hasn't been fully fleshed out in the show, we do often get a glimpse of their house sigil.  In case you need a refresher, the sigil is below or can be found on the Thrones fan wiki



The Targaryen house sigil is a three headed dragon that appears in a strikingly familiar spiral pattern.  This is a show where prophecy, imagery, and symbolism are critically important to the plot.  That the Targaryen's are signified by a sigil that bears noticeable resemblance to the symbols left by the Army of the Dead is either extreme coincidence or an ominous sign that the Targaryen's and White Walkers are connected in a previously unthinkable way.

EDIT:  In addition to the points above, there are other subtle hints throughout the show that could make the connection more than, well, conjecture.  Those with Targaryen blood are said to be the only people that can ride dragons. Jon rode one, but he's a Targaryen, not a Stark, as we now know.  The Night's King was last seen riding a dragon while destroying the wall with Zombie Viserion's blue flame.  Does the "Targaryens are the only ones who can ride dragons" rule apply to the undead also?  Then, there's the scene referenced above in Season 7 where Jon and Daenerys are in the caves below Dragonstone.  Well, Dragonstone is the ancestral home to. . .House Targaryen.  Could that mean there is indeed a deeper connection between the Night's King, and his Army of the Dead, than previously realized?  It's probably just wild (and fun) conjecture at this point, but there sure are a lot of coincidences piling up.

What do you think?  Is this just strange coincidence or does it mean something more?  Leave your comments below or Tweet at me @SethDunlap

Be sure to listen and subscribe to 'A Podcast Has No Name', our weekly Game of Thrones recap podcast that releases every Tuesday morning on,, Bayou or the app!

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