“Everything you did brought you where you are now, where you belong: home.”
Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) utters these words early on in the Game of Thrones final season trailer, which HBO has officially dropped in anticipation of the April 14 premiere. The young Stark speaks wisely, as is his won’t as the Three-Eyed Raven. All events from the past seven seasons are set to collide in the eighth and final ride. Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) — literally every single character still alive and on the board — will see their disparate journeys unite as one, for better and quite likely for worse, in the six remaining episodes, with so much of it ending where the action first began: Winterfell.
Not unlike Tyrion’s introduction to the Mother of Dragons in season six, HBO delivered an unexpected gift to the Game of Thrones fandom with this massive trailer. Given the hype surrounding the series’ final episodes, HBO could have gotten away with revealing a whole lot less, a la the clever Crypts of Winterfell teaser. Instead, the full final-season trailer contains a lot of helpful information for the speculating masses, as well as some outright confirmations of character fates. Read on for the trailer’s seven biggest reveals.
1. Death and the Wolf
“I know death. He’s got many faces. I look forward to seeing this one.” Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) is the first face and voice we hear in the Game of Thrones trailer, and her words are in stark contrast to what’s unfolding onscreen. Arya sounds confident, rightfully speaking as someone who has dealt in the art of death for years and years — but the confidence is visibly shattered in the images of Arya running through the halls of Winterfell, blood on her face, horror in her eyes. Clearly, Arya has met a version of death even she couldn’t anticipate. How does this square up against our Final Path prediction for Arya’s fate? Let’s just say we’re unsettled, and leave it there for now.
2. A Spider in the Crypt
Not to be lost in the midst of Arya’s escape, there’s this: Varys the Spider (Conleth Hill), sitting along with a cluster of civilians in the crypts of Winterfell. The quiet terror on his face, as well as the others, strongly indicates that the White Walkers are closing in. In season seven, the red priestess Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) strongly implied that Varys’ death was imminent. Are we now starting to get a fuller picture of how his death will play out? From the start, Varys has prided himself as a champion of the realm. He serves the people. Could Varys’ death come in the form of the Spider facing down his greatest fear — magic, in the form of the Night King’s forces — in order to protect the common folk in the crypts? Sadly, it’s an easy scenario to envision.
3. Return of the Brotherhood
In a surprising move, the Game of Thrones final season trailer reveals the fates of three characters who appeared doomed in the season seven finale: Free Folk figurehead Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), acting Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch Dolorous Edd (Ben Compton), and the Lightning Lord Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer). All three men were at Eastwatch when the Night King and his ice dragon blew open the Wall. How they survived? Still to be determined. The fact that they made it out alive? Now confirmed. Who knows what will happen to them in the final season, though at least in the case of Beric, one can imagine an outcome in which he sacrifices his last remaining life in order to bring a fallen Jon Snow back from a second death. It’s not the first time we’ve speculated on Beric saving Jon Snow’s life, and we’ll keep beating the drum until proven otherwise.
4. The Golden Company
The Night King’s army is a brutal force, but not the only menace heading into the final season. Early in the trailer, the action shifts to the open seas, as we see the Greyjoy fleet boasting some strange new occupants. For those who don’t recall the events of the season seven finale quite so clearly, Queen Cersei commanded Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) to traverse the Narrow Sea and recruit a group of mercenaries known as the Golden Company. Folks, here they are: the Golden Company, sellswords who have built a reputation on never breaking a contract, led by a warrior named Harry Strickland — very likely the golden-haired individual on the ship’s deck, played by German actor Marc Rissmann. (Yes, it looks like Jaime Lannister, but it’s not.) A word of warning: Do not snooze on Cersei’s army heading into the final season. If the dead don’t finish off the united forces of the living, the Golden Company just might do the trick.
5. The Lion’s Tale
Let’s stick with the Lannisters, because all three siblings are represented in the trailer, albeit in unequal measure. First, there’s Cersei. While so much of the trailer’s action centers on battles in the North, the Lion Queen remains in King’s Landing, presiding from the Red Keep (any guesses on who she’s meeting at the 1:05 mark?) and drinking wine despite her pregnancy. But will she stay in the south all season long? Highly doubtful. It’s hard to say for sure, but it looks like she’s heading north at around 30 seconds into the trailer, marching her army toward Winterfell — either in support of the battle against the dead, or in a highly cynical and dirty move to strike against her human enemies. Given her track record, it’s safest to bet on the latter. As for Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), the man known throughout the land as the Kingslayer appears as committed as ever to the fight for the living, declaring his loyalty and battling in the thick of a fiery war zone. Tyrion, meanwhile, is distressingly absent from the trailer, with only a small handful of appearances — including one near the end, as he looks up in worry, before the trailer smashes into an image of dragon-fire. A tease of Tyrion’s secret Targaryen lineage? Probably not, but one can dream.
6. Dragon Quest
House Targaryen and the dragons are well represented in the final season trailer, Tyrion conspiracies aside. Once again, we see the image of Drogon and Rhaegal flying over Winterfell, as featured in the Arya teaser released in late February. This time, we see a bit more: Jon and Daenerys scoping out the dragons’ findings, a burned husk of some animal. The high-flying fire-breathing pair soar over heavily snow-crusted treetops and landscapes, suggesting their return to the territory beyond the Wall. Could Jon and Daenerys be riding atop the beasts? Wouldn’t be a first for the latter, but for the former, it would be the fulfillment of his family destiny. Perhaps it’s nothing more than a recon mission — but maybe, just maybe, Jon and Daenerys will use the White Walkers crossing over into the land of the living as an opportunity to infiltrate the kingdom of the dead, first seen in the Night King’s first appearance: season four’s “Oathkeeper.” If it’s left lightly guarded, perhaps there’s a weapon they can snatch that will either defeat the Army of the Dead, or at least give a fighting chance to the living. Who knows?! Wild speculation! It’s what we’re here for!
7. The Battle of Winterfell
It’s all throughout the trailer: the final battle, the one directed by Miguel Sapochnik (“Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards”), the one that’s supposed to make the Helm’s Deep sequence from Lord of the Rings look lean in comparison. Based on the flashes of the conflict featured thus far, it’s easy to buy into the hype. Jon Snow charges with the experience of a man who has seen his fair share of violence. Gendry (Joe Dempsie) prepares the armory, dealing out the kinds of weapons that can bring down the dead. Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and her squire Podrick Payne (Daniel Porter) stand at the front of an army, awaiting the Night King on his rotting mount. Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) looks more terrified than ever, and this is a man who survived greyscale. The Hound (Sandor Clegane) stands in the thick of his greatest fear, fire, staring off at an unseen enemy. (Clegane Bowl? Get hype!) Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) share a passionate kiss before the fight arrives, as if it’s their last moment on earth; it very well may be. Everything surrounding the Winterfell war scenes is absolutely epic, to lean on an overused word — but if ever the word has been appropriate, it’s in this context.