Warning: This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 7.
Game of Thronesplanted details years ago that are finally coming back into play. And if the preview for next weeks episode is any indication, well see the return of a weapon we havent seen since season 1.
Theres a lot to unpack in the 30-second preview clip for season 7’s episode 4. We already saw Daenerys Targaryen riding Drogon once more and Arya Starks return to Winterfell after seven seasons, and we caught glimpses of Cersei Lannister in Kings Landing, Jon Snow and Dany in Dragonstone, and Jaime Lannisters next move. But one of the quicker shots reveals an unsheathed dagger, which can never be a good sign.
Here is a close-up of that moment, which gives us more detail about the scene (and the person holding the weapon). As This Is Insiders Kim Renfro pointed out, the sleeve and ring appear to belong to none other than Littlefinger(Petyr Baelish). Whats more curious is the dagger itself. Although we dont get the best angle of it in the preview, its almost certainly the same dagger a catspaw assassin used in the attempted murder of Bran Stark in Game of Thrones second-ever episode.
That blade hasnt been seen since season 1. Where has it been all this time?
The dagger changes handsa lot
One of the larger mysteries in early seasons ofGame of Thronesapart from Who killed Jon Arryn?was the question of who ordered the catspaw assassin to kill Bran. Brans direwolf Summer quickly killed the would-be assassin after Catelyn Stark tried to fend him off. Curiously, he carried a dagger made of Valyrian steel, a rare and valuable weapon he would have never come by on his own. It leads Catelyn Stark to travel to Kings Landing in secrecy to discover more about who tried to kill her son. (In the books, its implied that Joffrey Baratheon hired the assassin, but the show has yet to explicitly answer that question.)
Once Catelyn does arrive in Kings Landing, Varys examines the dagger while Littlefinger tells her who owned it. He did, at least until he lost it in a bet against against Tyrion Lannister. Littlefinger’s lie led her toarrestTyrion and put him on trial for his crimein the Eyrie (where he is found not-guiltyafter winning a trial by combat).
After Catelyn leaves, it ends up in the possession of Ned Stark. The last time we see the dagger it becomes a focal point in a tense conversation between Ned and Littlefinger. Later, Littlefinger puts a dagger to Neds neck, although its unclear if its the same Valyrian steel dagger they just showed.
Screengrab via Game of Thrones/HBO (Fair Use)
In the books, this plays out a little differently. Littlefinger takes back the dagger after betraying Ned and shows it to Tyrion as a kind of power move to Tyrion. Despite that extra layer of intrigue, it has yet to play a major part in A Song of Ice and Fire. Though unclear how it returned to Littlefinger in Game of Thrones, it looks as though he gained possession of it once again.
A page in a maesters book
The Valyrian steel dagger already showed up in season 7, even before the preview for next weeks episode appeared online: An illustration of that very Valyrian steel dagger is visible on a page of Sams dragonglass book in the season premiere. The dagger appears to be an example of a Valyrian steel weapon decorated with dragonglass, which is normally considered to be too brittle to use in making actual weapons.
Its a nice Easter egg for longtime Game of Thrones fans, but the camera held that page just long enough for fans to start wondering if it would be important later on.
When we were shooting that scene, I was literally told make sure that you linger on this page, John Bradley, who plays Samwell Tarly on Game of Thrones, told HuffPost. They were shooting over my shoulder and said make sure to linger on this page. Make sure we get a good shot of this page before you turn the page over.
On top of the lingering shots, it appear in a promo for HBO Nordic, and showed up on the cover of a magazine with a brand new owner keeping it by her side. These clues suggest it almost certainly has an important role to play.
— _oddity (@duckarys) May 25, 2017
Could this be the beginning of the end for Littlefinger?
Littlefingers control of the Vale helped Jon and Sansa defeat the Boltons at the Battle of the Bastards last season. But while he was once able to control and ride out the chaos of Westeros with ease, hes clearly starting to lose his grip.
Sansa Stark hasnt trusted him in some time, but with each new conversation shes starting to lose interest in his words and advice. Jon, who threatened Littlefinger in the crypts of Winterfell, is too much like Ned. Bran just returned to Winterfell, and although he doesnt want to be Lord of Winterfell, his presence could threaten Sansas (and therefore Littlefingers) hold on the North. And unbeknownst to them, Arya is about to return to the rest of her pack in Winterfell, and shed be impossible for Littlefinger to tame.
But there could be another piece of evidence residing in Winterfell that could lead to his doom. Upon Maester Wolkan noting that Maester Luwin kept a record of every raven scroll in his archives, Littlefinger turned his head.
Its unclear just what might be locked away in Luwins archives that might cause Littlefinger to worry. Possibly unknown to him, the most important scroll to make its way to Winterfell on the showLysas letter to Catelyn revealing the Lannisters killed her husband Jon Arrynwas destroyed almost as soon as Catelyn read it. But Maester Luwin witnessed the conversation about its contents and even reminded Ned he swore an oath to Robert Baratheon.
Sansa learned in season 4 that Lysa killed her husband and that she had killed for Littlefinger, but Sansa might not be aware of the role Littlefinger played in the string of events that led to her parents departing to Kings Landingand ultimately to their doom. Could Luwin have taken notes on what transpired? If thats the case, what would the Stark children do if they found out? And if theres something in Luwins archives big enough to take Littlefingerdown, how far would he go to try preventing that from happening?
Given Aryas possession of the Valyrian steel dagger as something that will eventually happen, theres no way it ends well for Littlefinger. Until then, he might have to take his own advice to Sansa.
Fight every battle, everywhere, he told her. Always. In your mind.
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