Eagle-eyed Game of Thrones viewers noticed a familiar sight in the Season 8 premiere. The recognizable spiral at the end of the episode also appeared in season 7’s “Spoils of War.” After Dany allows Jon to start mining for dragonglass in the caves of her ancestral home, he leads her down to the caves to show her something many viewers realized bares a lot of visual significance. While Jon shows off ancient cave drawings that show the Children of the Forrest and the First Men uniting to defeat the White Walkers, savvy viewers honed in on the huge spiral on the cave wall. If you’ve watched enough Game of Thrones, this symbol has become a notorious sight.
Spirals in Game of Thrones have popped up consistently, leaving many viewers wondering if they’re symbolic of something. Could they provide clues as to how the show is going to end? Are they a significant to finding out who the Prince Who Was Promised is going to be? Symbolism in Game of Thrones is tricky to unravel, but the fans are nothing if not determined to do so.
The Spiral Is A Calling Card Of The Night King’s Army
The notorious spiral made an appearance in perhaps the darkest moment of the season 8 premiere, “Winterfell.” Tormund Giantsbane, Beric Dondarrion, and Eddison Tollett enter Last Hearth, the home of the House of Umber. They come across an apparently deceased Ned Umber who, earlier in the episode, was ordered by Sansa to bring his people to Winterfell in an attempt to protect themselves from the Night King’s army. Lord Umber is strung up and surrounded by human limbs. He opens his eyes, prompting Beric to light him on fire. The flames spread to the body parts around him, emphasizing the enlightened spiral symbology.
Fans are stumped as to the true meaning of the spiral, but its significance is not lost. Little Lord Umber’s demise is a calling card for the Night King’s army, warning those in Winterfell that regardless of their efforts, they must prepare for war.
Why Are The Spirals Even There?
Redditor whichonespinkterren has noted the spiral symbols are a creation of the show. They haven’t been mentioned in the books (yet), but they have cropped up on the series with enough frequency they shouldn’t be disregarded. They’re bound to be significant. Game of Thrones co-showrunner David Benioff has mentioned that symbols carry meaning, and that they’re placed on our screens for a reason:
“There are certain symbols and patterns that recur throughout the show. The first time we saw that was in one of the very first scenes in the pilot, when Will the ranger sees the Wildling body parts in an odd pattern displayed by the White Walkers. We see it again north of the Wall with the dead horses displayed in a spiral pattern, and then you see it again here and learn where these patterns come from, that they’re ancient symbols of the Children of the Forest used in their rituals, and the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers.”
Where Have We Seen Them Before?
The circular symbols appear in the very first episode when a member of the Night’s Watch comes across a number of dead wildlings who have been chopped up and arranged in the (now familiar) circle-with-a-line-through-the-center pattern. In Season 3, Jon Snow and Mance Rayder discover dead horses arranged in the same spiral pattern. Rayder even comments that the White Walkers are “artists” when it comes to this kind of thing.
The symbol appears again in the Season 6 episode “The Door,” and this time we learn it has something to do with the Children of the Forrest. You might remember seeing the Children of the Forrest creating the White Walkers in one of Bran’s visions. During that vision, there’s an overhead shot which shows stones in the spiral formation, with a weirwood tree smack dab in the middle. Next time both the spirals and the circle appear, they’re in the cave with Dany and Jon in the Season 7 episode “The Spoils of War.”
Are Aliens Involved?
At first blush, this theory seems a little wild. After all, Game of Thrones is a show set in a fantasy, feudal world. How would aliens fit into that? A couple of fans are pretty convinced, however, the show could take its plot twists to the next level by incorporating creatures even crazier than dragons.
Redditor bestnameyet thinks the spirals and circles seen on the cave walls are reminiscent of signs and symbols used in sci-fi movies to signify that aliens are among us. Another reddit user, who has since deleted their account, theorized that Game of Thrones exists in the same universe as the Star Wars movies, a franchise where aliens are everywhere.
We probably won’t see Jon Snow wielding a lightsaber in the near future, but, as Donna Dickens points out, there has been mention of a “third race” that was lost to the ravages of time. Are they preparing to make an appearance again? Did they know the Children of the Forest, and is that why the Children can’t stop drawing spirals?
The Circle Symbol Could Have Something To Do With Sansa
According to the show’s costume designer, Michelle Clapton, Sansa’s clothing is very significant to her character. Clapton has said that “She expresses herself through her ability to embroider and stitch,” and that whatever Sansa’s wearing is influenced by where her allegiances lie. But a few people have noticed that the necklaces she’s been wearing in both Season 4 and Season 7 bear a striking resemblance to the lined circle symbol seen among the cave drawings.
If Sansa’s costuming is significant, then it’s unwise to ignore a necklace that looks like a symbol featured in the mystical cave depictions of the Children and the First Men. And while we’re on the subject of the First Men, did you know that Starks are their last descendants?
Back in Season 1, Ned Stark tells a young Bran, “The blood of the First Men still flows in the veins of the Starks, and we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.” The First Men are in the cave drawings, the circle symbol is too, and it has also been around Sansa Stark’s neck. Could Sansa and her First Men blood be the key to rallying the Children of the Forest and stopping the White Walkers?
The Spirals Could Be ‘God’s Eye’
One redditor with the username ChildrenOfYakub suggested that the spirals could represent “God’s Eye,” and they posit that wherever the “God’s Eye” appears, that location has been seen by Bran/The Three Eyed Raven and the Night King. It makes sense, given the general ocular shape of the image.
It Could Be Connected To The Faith Of The Seven
Redditor wenzel32 noticed that the spiral symbol is has seven points, and posited that this may be connected to the Faith of the Seven, the dominant religion in Westeros. Perhaps the seven-pointed star seen so frequently when the Faith Militant controlled King’s Landing was inspired by the spirals that keep popping up. Could the Children of the Forest be connected to the Seven Gods in some way?
The Spirals Could Represent Events Repeating Themselves
Independent of the Game of Thrones universe, spirals often represent time being cyclical or reincarnation. This could be applied to GoT, because many past events look like they’re about to be reenacted by the current crop of characters. The Long Night is just around the bend, the Prince Who Was Promised should reveal themselves any day now, and Dany is reenacting Aegon’s conquest.
It’s kind of like Battlestar Galactica’s “all this has happened before and all this will happen again.” The spirals could be a spiritual signal representing past events repeatedly reenacted by different generations.
Do The Spirals Symbolize Daenerys?
Redditor fulloffantasies noticed that the Targaryen house sigil is also shaped like a spiral. That is likely the farthest thing from a coincidence. The Children of the Forest are leaving spirals all over walls and on fields. They created the White Walkers, so it’s only logical to interpret their use of the spirals as a signal that Dany and her dragons will be the ones to finally bring an end to the White Walkers and the Night King.
The Spirals Could Be Related To The Doom Of Old Valyria
The Children of the Forest are the common factor in these fan theories. One Reddit user, brettywap, theorizes that the Children weren’t just behind the creation of the White Walkers, but that they also might have been behind the Doom of Old Valyria. Why connect the Children to this event? Well, brettywap believes the symbols show up in places where the Children have tried to prevent foreign invaders from getting near their homeland. The theory makes sense, in that the Children created the White Walkers to prevent the First Men from invading their land.
Now, because the spirals and circles appear in the caves below Dragonstone, brettywap has posited these symbols appeared here during their attempts to cause the Doom. Why would they want to cause such large-scale destruction? Well, the Children and the First Men reached a peaceful period, a detente of sorts, and the two groups were able to coexist. Then, in comes a new faction with the goal of taking over Essos.
The successful invasion could have had the Children worried Westeros was the next target. Brettywap suggests that the Children could have used their magic to cause a natural disaster in order to save themselves from invasion. Also, keep in mind Dragonstone is home to Dragonmont, the largest active volcano in the continent. The Children planned the Doom once, they could do it again.