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One of the challenges of adapting Fire & Blood is that the Game of Thrones prequel is more history book than novel, missing many of the quirky character moments and meta-fantasy jokes sprinkled in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Fortunately, George RR Martin still finds ways to incorporate joyful surprises into the book’s detailed Targaryen history lessons.
There is a certain delicacy from Fire & Blood that I wanted so badly to see it on screen all season, and in House of the Dragon episode 6, it finally did. But if you weren’t already aware of this potential Easter egg and were obsessively looking forward to 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 raises a boundary dispute between two riverside houses, Blackwood and Bracken. Alicent asks why this matter is not being addressed by Lord Grover Tully, to which Lyonel explains that Grover’s unnamed son now unofficially rules the riverine area.
The council moves on quickly to other matters, but my mind lingered on this little back-and-forth because the moment I had been waiting for had finally arrived: the mention of Lord Grover.
Of course, the name Grover on its own isn’t unique enough to count as a Muppets reference. In fact, the name Grover Tully seems quite in line with other Westeros names like Aegon, Larys or Viserys. (If anything, it’s the characters named Jason that immediately stand out.) But while we’ve only been given a Grover reference so far, this is only the first step toward introducing a full Sesame Street-themed family tree. .
In Fire & Blood, writes Martin as author of the book Ser Grover Tully has a grandchild, Ser Elmo Tully. Ser Elmo then has two children of his own, Kermit and Oscar. To combat any disbelief you may feel about this, I want to assure you that this is in no way a joke. George RR Martin actually named three entire generations of Tully’s after The Muppets and it’s undeniably hilarious.
The best part? The joke doesn’t even stop there. Martin leans further into the extended Sesame Street reference in Fire & Blood when he describes how “green” Kermit is as a soldier and Oscar’s “spiky” personality.
Then, as now, the river lords were an awkward, quarrelsome bunch. Kermit Tully, lord of Riverrun, was their liege and nominal commander of their army… but it must be remembered that his lordship was only nineteen years old and “green as summer grass,” as the Norsemen would say. His brother Oscar, who had killed three men during the Muddy Mess and then was knighted on the battlefield, was even greener and cursed with the kind of spiky pride so common in second sons.
In the books, Kermit and Oscar make up two-thirds of “The boys’, a trio of young Riverlands leaders who also have an objectively hilarious name. We all know that war is coming to Westeros in the show, and in Fire & BloodGrover, Elmo, and The Lads are all drawn into the Dance of Dragons to some degree.
So while Ser Grover Tully’s mention 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. Given that Grover’s two sons have gone unnamed in the book, it also means there’s a great opportunity for House of the Dragon to take Fire & Blood‘s best joke and make it their own. If, for whatever reason, the HBO series decides to introduce Grover’s mysterious unnamed fathers, perhaps the writers will gift the world Statler and Waldorf Tully, Gonzo and Rizzo Tully, or – if we For real happiness – dr. Teeth and Janice Tully.