Game of Thrones Production Sansa Stark

Sansa and the Feather in the Crypt

During one of the quieter moments in Sunday’s Game of Thrones, Sansa wandered among the dead at Winterfell, home for the first time since most of her family had fallen. Littlefinger found her in the crypts, lighting candles to the dead, as her father did way back in the premiere episode of Game of Thrones so long ago.

The conversation that followed has been one of the big talking points for fans this week, as Littlefinger recounts the story of The Tourney at Harrenhal during the Year of the False Spring. He tells Sansa about watching Rhaegar not only win the tourney, but then silence the audience in shock when—instead of crowning his wife Elia Martell (sister of Oberyn Martell) as part of his win, he rode right past her and laid a wreath of winter roses at the feet of Lyanna Stark instead.

Book spoilers ahoy!

Book readers took this as a sign that the show was finally (FINALLY) giving us clues regarding the parentage of a certain famous bastard. Unsullied recappers, on the other hand, read it differently, noting that Littlefinger “seemed to shrug off” Sansa’s insistence that, after declaring Lyanna the Queen of Love and Beauty, Rheagar “kidnapped her and raped her.”

But even though the scene was short, Making Game of Thrones wants to make sure we noticed something at the end of it: the feather Sansa picked up in Lyanna’s tomb. It’s a call back to the first time we were ever down in those crypts, when Ned found Robert at Lyanna’s grave.

“The last time we saw the statue of Lyanna was in the pilot episode,” explains series co-creator David Benioff. “King Robert Baratheon laid this exotic, tropical bird feather in her hand. As we were preparing the scene [with Sansa], we thought: That feather’s probably still there. People haven’t been going down there and cleaning up much. Certainly after Ramsay destroyed Winterfell, there hasn’t been a janitorial crew going down and vacuuming.”

“We thought it would be kind of a great thing to have Sansa wondering about it,” co-creator D.B. Weiss notes. “Hopefully viewers wonder: Where did I see that before? – and then remember that in the first episode of the show, this is something that Robert left to remember the woman he loved.”

She wasn’t only the woman that Robert loved—she was the woman he went to war for, and the reason that millions of people had to die. If my family was the one that started that war, I’d want to believe it was because the other side raped and kidnapped my aunt, and not because she ran away for true love.


  • Robert Baratheon is one of the greatest ASOIAF/GoT characters and to this day I’m still baffled by the sheer number of people that don’t recognize/remember his depth. Nobody ever mentions poor Robert.

    • Robert will forever be one of my favorites. Sure, he was a shit King. He was a shit Father and shit husband. But he was also an incredibly miserable, tragic figure in a series that has a whole slew of them.
      I have read many people say Robert was in love with the “idea” of Lyanna, as if that makes the depth of his feelings less valid. Her death broke a once great, powerful man. Being King didn’t make those feelings dissipate.
      Part of the reason the whole Lyanna/Rhaegar = True Love thing is empty for me is because, while Robert was certainly not the monogamous type, Rhaegar had a wife and children back in Kings Landing. She may not have felt for Robert the way she did Rhaegar, I think the intrigue of this silver-haired, sensitive soul did blind her to his short-comings, whereas Robert’s where on display.
      Oh, Rhaegar was kind and loved to sing and didn’t like killing. But he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer if he thought taking the apple of the north’s eye, with nary a word, and disappearing. Then her family travels south to demand her return, only to be slaughtered. If he was such a swell chap, he could’ve stopped this before it started. Not to mention, what happened to his wife and children. Incredibly selfish for such a good guy. Yeah. Robert is no saint but painting Rhaegar/Lyanna as some tragic love story is insulting to the memory of Elia, her children, Brandon, Rickard and all the others dead because of their actions.

      • Well said, Kris. One can’t even fully blame him for his poor performance as a king. With Lyanna at his side, his rule would have been much better, for all we know.

      • Whether Rhaegar and Lyanna had true love or not may be up for debate, but it’s not why he stole her away. It very well could have been Rhaegar doing his duty for prophecy, once again trying to conceive the prince that was promised.

  • He was one of the portrayals in the show that felt quite right and the actor who played him was fabulous. “There’s a war comin’, Ned.” One of the most memorable lines.

  • So do Brandon Stark and Rickard Stark just not exist anymore? They were mention as having been murdered by the Mad King in Season 1. It wasn’t just Robert murdering his way through the realm to get Lyanna back from Rhaegar.

    • That was the thing that disappointed me in episode 2 when Ser Barristan Selmy was talking to Daenarys about her father. I was really hoping he would mention about what her father did to the Starks but oh well.

  • I think I saw Littlefingers eyebrow raise when Sansa made the kidnapping comment. It was very brief, but (to me, anyway) he made a face that implied “Is that how it happened?”

    • Yes, I noticed that as well! As soon as I saw the eyebrow raise LF staring at Sansa one second too long.. I was like ohhh!!! Finally! We’re getting a tiny clue about Jon’s parentage. I loved LF’s look… definitely raised questions.

  • Shame Sansa didn’t find all the direwolf droppings from when Bran/Rickon were hiding down there.

  • After sansa’s assured reply of her aunt being kidnapped & raped , Little finger gave Sansa a look of ” they may say that about you & I in many years to come ” ????? That’s what I felt anyway

    • I got the same feeling Mi Ygritte. Or he was thinking “if you only knew the truth”. Remember there’s a Targaryen out there that Little Finger has to compete with. So he’s letting Sansa believe that so she’s against the Targaryen ruler like Littlefinger is.
      Just a thought.
      Tim Stark