Ned Stark's Shadow Loomed Over The 'Game Of Thrones' Season 7 Finale

Leigh Blickley

Warning! Spoilers below for “Game of Thrones” Season 7! 

That’s it. The seventh season of “Game of Thrones” has come and gone, and now we must wait an entire winter (+Fall +Spring +Summer +Another Fall? +Another Winter?) for the final episodes of the HBO series.

(Hey, George R.R. Martin, those books ready yet?)

But there’s no better time to start rewatching the show from the beginning, because the Season 7 finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” had so many callbacks to our No. 1 guy, Ned Stark (Sean Bean) ― and they all relate back to Season 1. 

Ned told everyone from the beginning ... 

And he was right. 

Winter is here and the lessons the Stark children learned from their patriarch are finally coming into play as they prepare to take down their enemies, dead and alive. 

Here are all the moments Ned Stark and his legacy were mentioned in the “Game of Thrones” Season 7 finale: 

Jon Snow’s honor causes problems.

We all know Jon Snow (Kit Harington) isn’t a good liar. He’s loyal and true, just like his father, errr, uncle Ned. (More about that later.) But when the time comes for him to fib a bit, he goes and tells Cersei (Lena Headey) he’s already bent the knee to Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and can’t uphold his end of the bargain.

Jon defends himself to Tyrion (Peter Dinklage): 

I’m not going to swear an oath I can’t uphold. Talk about my father if you want, tell me that’s the attitude that got him killed. But when enough people make false promises, words stop meaning anything. Then there are no more answers, only better and better lies, and lies won’t help us in this fight.

This is a problem, as Cersei calls off the truce and then eventually schemes behind Tyrion’s and Jaime’s (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) backs. She won’t help defeat the Night King and his armies, but she will defend her throne. 

Honor is a great quality, Jon. So is survival. 

Although Littlefinger tries to mess with Sansa ...

Before we find out Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya’s (Maisie Williams) secret plan, Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) continues his web of lies. While discussing Arya’s cold behavior toward her sister, Petyr Baelish asks Sansa, “What’s the worst thing she could want?” 

“She could want me dead,” Sansa replies, “because she thinks I wronged my family.” 

Of course, they’re referring to the letter Arya found from Sansa, which mentions Ned’s treason from Season 1. The show made it appear Arya was mad at Sansa for betraying their father and brother, Robb (Richard Madden), and siding with “beloved” Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and Cersei, when in actuality we know Sansa’s on to Littlefinger’s ways. Hence why: 

He doesn’t win. 

Baelish is shocked when he discovers that it isn’t Arya Sansa is sentencing to death, but him. Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) supposedly shares Littlefinger’s “chaos is a ladder” ways with his sisters, leading them to come up with the plan to execute him in front of their allies.

Sansa discusses how he conspired to kill her aunt Lysa (Kate Dickie) and uncle Jon Arryn (John Standing) before informing Littlefinger that all the Stark kids know he betrayed their father. 

“You conspired with Cersei Lannister and Joffrey Baratheon to betray our father, Ned Stark. Thanks to your treachery, he was imprisoned and later executed on false charges of treason, do you deny it?” 

Of course Baelish denies it, until our Three-Eyed Raven fills him in on his visions of the past. 

“You held a knife to his throat,” Bran tells Littlefinger. “You said, ‘I did warn you not to trust me.’”

(Yes. Yes, he did.)

Arya then brings up his lie about the dagger used to almost kill Bran in Season 1. He told Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) it was Tyrion’s, when in reality it was his. 

“Thank you for all your many lessons, Lord Baelish,” Sansa tells him before Arya slices his throat. “I will never forget them.” 

Theon Greyjoy finally embraces his inner Stark. 

Theon (Alfie Allen) is so impressed that Jon would risk his life to tell Cersei the truth about his alliance with Dany that he has an emotional discussion with him about honor. Theon wants to do the right thing, he just never seems to follow through. 

Theon: It always seemed like there was an impossible choice I had to make: Stark or Greyjoy. 

Jon: Our father was more of a father to you than yours ever was. 

Theon: He was. 

Jon: And you betrayed him. Betrayed his memory.

Theon: I did. 

Jon: But you never lost him. He’s a part of you, just like he’s a part of me ... You don’t need to choose. You’re a Greyjoy and you’re a Stark. 

Once Theon realizes he has a bit of Ned still left in him, he chooses to make the right decision and go rescue his sister, Yara (Gemma Whelan), from her tragic fate. 

Ned is still a huge influence beyond the grave. 

Jon Snow’s true name is revealed. 

Samwell Tarly (John Bradley-West) arrives in Winterfell and meets with Bran, who lets him know that Jon is not Ned’s bastard but the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. He was born in Dorne and his name is Jon Sand. 

Sam then uses the information Gilly (Hannah Murray) found at the Citadel to inform Bran of a possible secret marriage between Lyanna and Rhaegar, leading the Three-Eyed Raven to hop into a vision of their wedding ceremony. 

Yup, Jon Snow isn’t really Jon Snow at all: he’s Aegon Targaryen.

“He’s never been a bastard,” says Bran. “He’s the heir to the Iron Throne. He needs to know. We need to tell him.”  

Ned knowingly raised Westeros’ rightful heir, and now the truth will come out ... whenever Season 8 debuts. 

Arya and Sansa quote their father. 

In some of the final moments of the finale, Arya and Sansa stand above Winterfell and reflect on the importance of family.

Arya: In winter we must protect ourselves. Look after one another.

Sansa: Father ... When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.

Arya: I miss him. 

Sansa: Me, too.

Us three. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.