In the Season 8 premiere episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones, viewers got to see an image shown in the hit epic fantasy series that has never been explained prior: that of the spiral created beyond the Wall. So, what does this spiral mean?
SPOILER ALERT: This article discusses Episode 1 of HBO’s Game of Thrones Episode 1 (titled “Winterfell”). Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed this episode and wish to avoid spoilers.
When the Wall came down in the Season 7 finale of HBO’s Game of Thrones, viewers knew that Last Hearth would likely be the first community hit in the Season 8 premiere. As everyone congregated at Winterfell in preparation of the attack by the Night King (Vladimir Furdik) and his dead army of White Walkers and wights, it was left to Tormund’s (Kristofer Hivju) group to discover the fate of Last Hearth, the seat of the Umber house.
It was revealed in Episode 1 of Game of Thrones Season 8 that Last Hearth had actually already been attacked by the Night King. As Tormund’s group searched the devastation, an unsettling discovery was made. The body of the young Lord Umber (Harry Grasby) was found. After being slaughtered, his body was pinned to a wall and his body surrounded with extra body parts that made a spiral shape.
“It’s a message from the Night King,” Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) says at the time.
Initially, the group was shocked by the discovery. However, when Lord Umber opened his eyes and attacked, the group were terrified. Quickly, they set Lord Umber on fire to deal with the threat.
This pattern has been seen prior in Game of Thrones. It has occurred on occasion beyond the Wall and is associated with being the work of the Night King.
BuzzFeed points out that the last time viewers saw this particular pattern was in Season 3. However, another pattern was also present in the very first episode of Game of Thrones. Both of these patterns are seen in stylized representations at the cave on Dragonstone, the homeplace of the Targaryens.
Some fans even suggest that because of this connection and the fact that the spiral image closely resembles the sigil of the Targaryens, it might be evidence that the Night King was once a Targaryen himself.
While the spiral pattern is usually identified with the Night King, one of Bran’s visions also showed that the Children of the Forest used this same pattern in their magic. So, it is possible the Night King has continued on using this pattern knowing that it is steeped in magic.
As Time points out, one of the show’s creators, David Benioff, has already confirmed that the spiral image has been inherited from the Night King’s creators.
“One of the things we learn from these cave paintings is that the White Walkers didn’t come up with those images, they derived them from their creators, the Children of the Forest,” Benioff said upon the discovery of the symbols in the cave at Dragonstone.
“These are patterns that have mystical significance for the Children of the Forest. We’re not sure exactly what they signify, but spiral patterns are important in a lot of different cultures in our world, and it makes sense that they would be in this world as well.”
Digital Spy suggests that this symbol can now be considered the sigil of the Night King. However, fans will just have to tune into further episodes of Game of Thrones to find out the true extent of the meaning behind the Night King’s spiral pattern.
Season 2 of Game of Thrones returns to HBO with Episode 2 on Sunday, April 21, at 9 p.m. ET.