One of the challenges of adapting Fire & Blood is that the Game of Thrones prequel is more history book than novel, lacking much of the quirky character moments and meta fantasy jokes that are sprinkled throughout the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Thankfully, George R.R. Martin still finds ways to weave joyful surprises into the book’s detailed Targaryen history lessons.
There’s one particular tidbit from Fire & Blood that I’ve been dying to see make it to screen all season, and in House of the Dragon episode 6, it finally did, with episode 10 leaving a promise for a more substantial exploration in season 2. But if you weren’t already aware of this potential Easter egg and obsessively looking out for it, then you probably missed the fact that House of the Dragon just made a Muppets reference.
[Ed. note: The following contains spoilers for House of the Dragon and minor spoilers for Fire & Blood.]
During the council meeting, Ser Lyonel Strong brings up a border dispute between two riverlands houses, Blackwood and Bracken. Queen Alicent asks why this issue isn’t being addressed by Lord Grover Tully, to which Lyonel explains that Grover’s unnamed son is unofficially ruling over the riverlands now.
The council quickly moves on to other matters, but my mind remained stuck on this small back-and-forth, because the moment I had been waiting for had at long last come: the mention of Lord Grover.
The name Grover on its own is not unique enough to count as a Muppets reference, of course. In fact, the name Grover Tully feels rather in line with other Westerosi names like Aegon, Larys, or Viserys. (If anything, it’s characters named Jason that immediately stand out.) But while we’ve only gotten a Grover reference so far, this is just the first step toward introducing an entire Sesame Street-themed family tree.
In Fire & Blood, Martin writes as the book’s authorial maester that Ser Grover Tully has a grandchild, Ser Elmo Tully. Ser Elmo then has two children of his own, Kermit and Oscar. Now, to get ahead of any disbelief you may be feeling here, I want to assure you that this is in no way a joke. George R.R. Martin really named three entire generations of Tullys after Muppets, and it’s inarguably hilarious.
The best part? The gag doesn’t even stop there. Martin leans further into the extended Sesame Street reference in Fire & Blood when describing how “green” Kermit is as a soldier and Oscar’s “prickly” personality.
Then as now, the riverlords were a fractious, quarrelsome lot. Kermit Tully, Lord of Riverrun, was their liege lord, and nominally commander of their host…but it must be remembered that his lordship was but nineteen years of age, and ‘green as summer grass,’ as the northmen might say. His brother Oscar, who had slain three men during the Muddy Mess and been knighted on the battlefield afterward, was still greener, and cursed with the sort of prickly pride so common in second sons.
In the books, Kermit and Oscar make up two-thirds of “The Lads,” a trio of young riverlands leaders who also have an objectively hilarious name. We all know war is coming to Westeros in the show, and in Fire & Blood, Grover, Elmo, and The Lads all get pulled into the Dance of Dragons to some degree.
So while the mention of Ser Grover Tully is a pristine Muppets Easter egg, it’s also possible that the reference is sowing the seeds for the eventual on-screen introduction of the entire Muppet Tully family. Grover gets another mention in theHouse of the Dragon finale, during a meeting of Rhaenyra’s war council. While Daemon has already tried to shore up his support for Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne, she notes that “Lord Grover is fickle and easily swayed,” likely needing more convincing to the strength of their position and that they will support him if there’s a war. Daemon ends the conversation by stating that he’ll be visiting Grover Tully himself, making it possibly the biggest cliffhanger in the season finale (joking — sort of).
Given the fact that Grover’s two sons in the book went unnamed, this also means there’s a great opportunity for House of the Dragon to take Fire & Blood’s best joke and make it its own. If the HBO series decides, for whatever reason, to introduce Grover’s mysterious unnamed sons, maybe the writers will gift the world with Statler and Waldorf Tully, Gonzo and Rizzo Tully, or — if we’re really lucky — Dr. Teeth and Janice Tully.