HBO released a teaser for Game of Thrones Season 8 that likely holds a lot of clues for the upcoming season, just like the Season 7 teaser did. During the teaser, we see a feather twice. What does the feather mean? It actually ties into two previous episodes and didn’t just come out of nowhere. (And no, it’s not specifically connected to the Three-Eyed Raven, although there certainly could be additional symbolic meaning.)
Here’s the teaser.
The feather ties back to two episodes: the pilot for Game of Thrones and an episode in Season 5. Both took place in the crypts of Winterfell.
In the pilot, Robert put a feather on Lyanna Stark’s grave. That decision seemed odd to fans because Lyanna was known for loving roses. So why would Robert put a feather on her statue? Fans even talked about it on Reddit here. HBO explained the whole thing in a Making of Game of Thrones article posted on May 2, 2015. This was posted after the Season 5 episode where Sansa goes into the crypts of Winterfell and finds a feather on Lyanna’s statue. Here’s the scene where Robert left the feather with Lyanna’s statue.
David Benioff said that the feather was from an exotic, tropical bird. Benioff thought it would be fitting to have Sansa wondering about the feather and to leave viewers wondering where they had seen the feather before.
Redditors carried the discussion a bit further. They noted that Robert would bring the birds up to Lyanna before she died because she liked the exotic, southern bird. Bringing the feather to her statue was his way of showing he remembered what she cared about, remembered the connection they had, and still cared.
The feather was on the floor when Sansa visited the crypts, but she put it back in the statue’s hand, right were Robert had left it. Here’s the scene where Sansa found the feather:
Now the feather has appeared again in the teaser. It feels ominous — the last remaining vestige of Lyanna will be destroyed yet again. And in the same teaser, we see Jon Snow (and Arya and Sansa) as statues beneath the crypt, indicating that they have died too. Is the entire Stark line, including Jon — whom Lyanna cared for even more than the exotic birds — coming to an end?
If you’re also wondering what might be attacking Jon, Sansa, and Arya in the crypts of Winterfell, Heavy wrote an in-depth article with a theory that applies to this very question. You can read the story, originally published in 2016, here.