The weird thing about Game Of Thrones is that 90 percent of the most important stuff in the show’s universe happened before the story started. There’s tons of crucial backstory conveyed solely through exposition and lots of important characters who were dead before the series even began (Jon Arryn, anyone?). And while the Game Of Thrones creators have previously promised they won’t use flashbacks to fill in those details the way the books do, they seemed to have changed their minds this season.
The show has skirted its previous flashback-free stance by using Bran Stark’s “vision quests” rather than traditional flashbacks. So far Bran has taken brief sojourns to Ned Stark’s battle at the Tower Of Joy, Hodor’s tragic childhood, and that time the Children Of The Forest created the first White Walker. The most recent episode, “Blood Of My Blood,” offered a kind of teaser of what we can expect from the rest of Bran’s visions this season, and Uproxx has a detailed breakdown of that quick-cutting montage.
At the start of the episode, Bran is still “downloading” information from the prophetic and recently murdered Three-Eyed Raven. Many of the images he sees are pulled from past seasons, like Ned’s execution, the Red Wedding, Bran being pushed from the tower, and Jon Snow battling White Walkers at Hardhome. But others were brand-new to the series. Most notably that includes our first ever look at Aerys II Targaryen, a.k.a. the Mad King, a.k.a. Daenerys’ father, whose incompetent reign kicked off all the current drama in Westeros.
Back in the day, Robert Baratheon led a massive rebellion to unseat the wildfire-obsessed king, and Jaime Lannister is the one who actually ended up killing him by stabbing him in the back, thus earning him the nickname “Kingslayer.” That moment is briefly glimpsed in the montage as well:
Plus there was this cool image of Jaime sitting on the Iron Throne:
In addition to some shots of the Mad King’s pyromancers making wildfire, Bran also sees the shadow of a dragon flying over Westeros as well as what looks to be Lyanna’s bloody hand in the Tower Of Joy (which could be big news for the R+L=J theorists).
For more details on the history of the Mad King and some other images from the montage, check out the Uproxx breakdown.