What was the moment in Sunday night’s Game of Thrones premiere that made you stand up and clap? Was it the moment Arya Stark murdered every single Frey who’d taken part in the Red Wedding? The silent scene of Daenerys coming home to Dragonstone? The instantly iconic poop-and-soup montage?
I loved all those moments, but the bit that truly lit up my fan-service receptors came much earlier in the episode, after that bloody cold open. I’m talking about the opening credits, which truly made my nerd-heart grow three sizes. Did you catch the three things that were different about Sunday’s credits?
1. With Daenerys making her landing at Dragonstone, the opening credits did not include a stopover in Essos for the first time in Game of Thrones history. (We’ve previously visited Pentos, Vaes Dothrak, Qarth, Astapor, Yunkai, Meereen, and Braavos.)
2. This was also one of the rare instances that Daenerys’s location — usually interpreted fairly broadly — did not get the prestigious final spot in the credits. (On some occasions, Dorne has received the final spot.)* Instead, she took second position, with Dragonstone appearing in the credits for the first time since season four.
3. The final spot instead went to Oldtown, making its first-ever appearance in the credits. Reader, I gasped when I saw that Hightower come shooting up out of the ground, and I downright giggled when I saw the miniature version of the astrolabe at the center of the credits pop. In the words of the company that makes the credits, Elastic, the opening sequences were envisioned as the work of “a mad monk in a tower somewhere,” and this was the biggest confirmation yet that the whole spherical map we’ve been watching for six years is supposed to be the work of the maesters — and of course those intellectual show-offs couldn’t resist putting a smaller version of their model inside the model itself! After all, if this map is supposed to show all the great structures of Westeros, why wouldn’t it include the map itself? Geeks — you gotta love ’em.
*This post originally misstated how often Daenerys’s location appears in the credits’ final spot. Her location has occupied the penultimate spot in the credits on a number of occasions.