As if the itch for Game of Thrones wasn’t bad enough, HBO (finally) dropped the first trailer for the final season. In all honesty, the premium cable channel probably wouldn’t have needed to release anything given the show’s Thanos-like grip on popular culture, but they know we want--nay, need--footage to rapaciously dig through and pick apart frame by frame. The new trailer doesn’t sate the appetite and only makes the next six weeks seem that much longer.
Quick open to Arya gasping as if she saw a ghost. From the looks of her surroundings, it’s very likely that she’s in the crypts of Winterfell. This should be alarming. It’s difficult to imagine there’s anything Arya fears, ghost, human, or otherwise, but something has shortened her breath. As she runs--and in another clip as she holds a dragonglass dagger--Arya says “I know death…he’s got many faces. I look forward to seeing this one.” Who or what has her shook? Did she catch a glimpse of the Night King? Are the stone chambers of her deceased ancestors being moved by the undead remains with the aforementioned king’s power? Perhaps an old friend returns for a surprise visit. Maybe she shouldn’t be quite so anxious to see the face of death.
There’s good news in this trailer! Tormund and Beric (along with Edd) are alive after leaving viewers uncertain once Viserion huffed and puffed and blew the wall down. How long they remain alive is a question for another time, but perhaps we’ll finally get to see Tormund win the sapphire heart of Brienne. Relationships are tricky, and it doesn’t help that the world is close to ending.
We’ve heard the Golden Company mentioned throughout the series, and this trailer gives us our first look at the famed sellswords. Their leader, Harry Strickland, is presumably the gentleman we see from behind as the boats sail across the sea. Last season, Euron Greyjoy made a hasty exit with an ulterior motive for his departure. Feigning fright over the wight display, he takes his ships to collect the Golden Company and bring them over to Cersei’s aid. The Lannister army is large and it just got much, much bigger.
Bran talks about homecoming as we see shots of Jon and Dany riding in line with the Unsullied, perhaps on their way to Winterfell. A previous HBO show montage showed Dany meeting Sansa, and it’s a safe bet Bran is talking to Jon. “Everything you did brought you to where you are now, where you belong…home,” he tells his half-brother/cousin. During this sequence, Sansa gets her first glimpse at Drogon and Rhaegal as they fly over the towers, and Jon and Dany find their way into the crypts. A few clips later in the trailer reveal that Dany and Jon likely headed North of the wall, given the landscape. Why they might go that direction is unclear, considering the army that just waltzed through the wall.
Key characters in the series have been spread out across Westeros and Essos, and are now coming to a collective destination like a slow-moving Fortnite storm. Throughout its two minutes, the trailer gives us glimpses of Sam, Jaime, Jorah, Davos, Gendry, Grey Worm, and Missandai with an impending battle scene kicking into gear. Season seven gave us a prelude of sorts with the wandering Band of Misfit Men on a wight search and kidnap party, but the new additions raise the bar as they prepare to fight the same enemy. Seeing characters just meeting for the first time fighting side-by-side is going to be a truly fun experience.
With all the characters shown in this trailer, it’s interesting to note that a couple of major pieces are missing: Notably the Greyjoy family members, Bronn, and Melisandre. Yara is presumably still alive as her uncle’s prisoner with Theon mounting a crew to get her back. Bronn made himself scarce with Pod during the meeting at the dragon pits. The Red Priestess was last seen talking with Varys, admitting that her fate is in Westeros as the two share a knowingly solemn exchange. How long she has left will be a smaller line to follow, and how she meets her end is anyone’s guess. What was it Davos said to her after she admitted to burning Shireen Baratheon?
Also, WHERE IS GHOST? Seriously though, where is he?
The Lannister children get their time in the trailer, albeit brief. Cersei is seen twice, three if you pause and squint when it hits the throne room. Since last season, fans have been questioning whether or not Cersei’s truly pregnant. A cunning lie for self-preservation or the actual truth? She smirks with her glass of wine, so something has amused her. While Jaime gets a voice-over and a fiery scene, we only get one quick glimpse of Tyrion, Hand of the Dragon Queen.
The trailer could’ve stopped there, but we all need a reminder even if we don’t really need a reminder. The whole reason for this gathering of masses. The reason Jon and Dany went to King’s Landing to try and make an alliance with Cersei in the first place. While we don’t see the Night King or Viserion, we do see the undead horse hooves in the snow as Brienne and Pod stare out into the cold, distant night. What the two are seeing may just be a faction of the Army of the Undead with the Night King heading towards another destination. Either way, the effect is chilling. “They’re coming,” Jon says, “our enemy doesn’t tire, doesn’t stop, doesn’t feel.”
There’s a lot to parse in a two-minute video that doesn’t truly reveal a whole lot in regards to the plot itself. One thing we do know is that these episodes will be long, and the battle scene will rival any in television or cinema that came before it. It’s going to be heart pounding, devastating, and beautiful all in one fell swoop. Death is imminent for many, and life is sacred for few. It’s the one thing that’s remained a constant as the series reaches its climactic conclusion.
Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 14th.