The opening scene of Game of Thrones is not only a cold and terrifying one but has also given a number of takeaways for the end-game of the story. Although the showrunners – David Benioff and Dan Weiss have adapted the books perfectly, still many things were left out. Read on as we explain the relevance of the opening scene both from the book and the TV show.
The final season is on its way in the first half of 2019. So, we have ample time to speculate on the end-game by re-watching some key moments from the show. We’ll talk about the relevance of the opening scene in a while. Let’s first compare the show’s opening scene from the pilot episode – “Winter is Coming” with the prologue of ‘A Game of Thrones,’ on which it is loosely based upon.
#Game of Thrones opening scene:
The Game of Thrones TV show begins with a cold opening scene. Three rangers of the Night’s Watch namely – Ser Waymar Royce, Will, and Gared travel beyond the Wall to investigate reports of wildlings in theHaunted Forest. They all part their ways to track down the wildlings. Will finds mutilated dead bodies of wildlings arranged in a strange pattern and upon seeing a girl pinned upon a tree runs back to the others to report his sightings. Upon knowing the happenings, Gared advises them to get back to the Wall to report everything to Lord Commander Jeor Mormont.
Royce ignores his advice and asks Will to take them to the spot. Upon arriving at the spot, they find that the bodies have disappeared. Will heads back to look for what happened there, while Royce and Gared stay at the spot to investigate. Soon enough, both of them are ambushed by a White Walker, who kills Royce. Will spots the same wildling girl and run away fearfully and comes across Gared, who too is being chased by White Walkers.
Gared is eventually caught by a White Walker, who kills him by severing his head. The White Walker tosses Gared’s head at Will’s feet. Later in the episode, Will is executed by Eddard Stark for deserting the Night’s Watch.
#Prologue – A Game of Thrones:
Just like in the TV show, the three rangers from the Night’s Watch set out on a ramping mission beyond the Wall to track down the wildlings. Will explains to Ser Waymar and Gared in a similar fashion that he saw wildlings lying on the ground, perhaps dead. Then, he leads Royce to the wildling encampment, while Gared stays behind to guard the horses.
Will and Waymar climb up the ridge to look for the dead bodies but they are long gone. Will warns he companion to not get too close but later being determined on making his first ranging mission a success, ignores him. Waymar orders Will to climb up a tree and watch, which he does reluctantly. A White Walker emerges from the woods, which Waymar challenges for a duel and suddenly, more of them start following. Waymar Royce charges at one. As soon as his blade strikes the White Walker’s sword, it shatters. The White Walker’s shard hits his left eye and he is blinded. All of the remaining ones then charge at Waymar, killing him.
A fearful Will then climbs down the tree to examine Royce’s body. Then he picks up his broken and twisted sword, only to see that Waymar has risen back from the dead – his right eye has turned blue. An undead Waymar then grabs Will’s throat with his icy cold hand.
In the books, it is Gared who survives these events and is later executed by Eddard Stark for deserting the Night’s Watch.
#What is the relevance of the opening scene?
There were a few takeaways from this scene of the pilot episode. First of all, the mutilated corpses that Will saw were arranged in a strange pattern or symbol. This symbol later reappeared in the episode ‘Spoils of War’ from Season 7 in the cave carvings of Dragonstone.
White Walkers, too have a language of their own. We can hear it being spoken to Will (perhaps, warning him) by the one who killed Gared. In the books, it is described as sounding like “crackling ice”. Also, upon looking closely, we can see that there were other White Walkers in the background as well. Still can’t see them? Watch the scene closely frame-by-frame again.
Apart from these takeaways from the TV show, there also are several important takeaways from the book’s version as well. While observing Ser Waymar spar with a Walker, Will acknowledges the number of other Walkers present. Among them, some are visible and some are not.
“They emerged silently from the shadows, twins to the first. Three of them . . . four . . . five . . . Ser Waymar may have felt the cold that came with them, but he never saw them, never heard them…”
Also, when Will climbs down the tree to check on Ser Waymar Royce’s corpses, he sees a dozen slashes upon his cloak. This suggests that he had been slashed a dozen times, perhaps by a dozen White Walkers. This also gives away an important clue about the Night King’s identity – of him perhaps being the book’s Night’s King.
According to the YouTuber Bridge4, the Night King is definitely the Night’s King, who had twelve companions, the twelve slashes being the evidence for this. George RR Martin has also referred to the others as the “Watchers” – which is quite often used for describing the men of the Night’s Watch.
“Behind him, to right, to left, all around him, the watchers stood patient, faceless, silent, the shifting patterns of their delicate armor making them all but invisible in the wood. Yet they made no move to interfere….”
This important line from the books where the others are called “watchers” also shows that the other walkers apart from the one sparring with Royce didn’t interfere in the duel. This suggests that they all possibly have a hive mind and were waiting for a command to start attacking Royce.
Game of Thrones will surely tie the loose ends of the opening scene from the pilot together, once the final season airs. So, what was your take from the opening scene from the TV series and the prologue from the book? How relevant is it for the end-game? Share your thoughts in the comments.