HBO released the first full-length trailer for “Game of Thrones” season eight, and in it we have the biggest peek yet at what’s to come on the final six episodes of the series. If you haven’t watched the trailer yet, do that now here, then read INSIDER’s frame-by-frame analysis of all the new footage below.
Let’s dive in.
The trailer opens with Arya, seemingly hiding in the dark with an anxious look on her blood-spattered face.
We know Arya will be in the thick of the Battle at Winterfell, a massive showdown between the Night King and his army of dead and our remaining heroes in the North.
She flees, scampering down a castle hall with her dagger in hand.
What is she running from? Likely enemy forces, but that would mean the army of the dead breaches the walls of Winterfell at some point during the battle. Unless there’s a threat coming from inside the ranks of the living? Unlikely, but with “Game of Thrones” you never know.
“I know death,” Arya says as the trailer cuts to Ser Davos walking the snowy battlements.
Ser Davos became Jon Snow’s right-hand man when King Stannis was defeated at the end of the fifth season.
“He’s got many faces,” Arya’s voice continues. We then see Varys, Gilly, and baby Sam in Winterfell’s crypts.
Gilly and little Sam are crouched in the background, all the way to the left.
This shot feels very reminscent of the Helm’s Deep battle from “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.”
During the Helm’s Deep battle, women and children and those unable to fight were hidden inside the castle’s deepest rooms, and they had to listen in terror as the fight raged outside.
The Winterfell battle director, Miguel Sapochnik, referenced Helm’s Deep in an Entertainment Weekly feature published on Monday, so this is likely an intentional callback to “The Lord of the Rings.”
“I look forward to seeing this one,” Arya says.
The trailer cuts to a much more calm Arya, likely in a pre-battle scene. When she says “this one,” Arya is mostly likely talking to someone about the Night King.
She holds a blade in front of her, and it’s not Needle or the Valyrian steel dagger she acquired on the seventh season. This looks like a new weapon made from dragonglass (a substance known to kill both wights and White Walkers).
Then we move further south to Euron Greyjoy’s fleet of ships.
Last we heard, Cersei sent Euron to Essos on a mission. He was going to hire the Golden Company, a legendary army of mercenaries, to fight on Queen Cersei’s behalf.
Looks like he was successful. In this shot, we see a new character named Harry Strickland standing in front of his sellsword troops.
As we know from George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels, Strickland is the general who leads the Golden Company. He’ll be played on the show by Marc Rissmann.
Cersei is probably looking so smugly happy at the sight of the Golden Company, but she might be overestimating Euron.
In a new Entertainment Weekly portrait slideshow, the actor behind Euron (Pilou Asbaek) gave a mysterious hint at what’s to come.
“[Euron] wants to become the king of the Seven Kingdoms, yet he’s also blackmailing Cersei,” Asbaek said.
Cersei probably shouldn’t trust Euron or Captain Harry Strickland without reserve.
Then we hear Bran Stark, aka the new Three-Eyed Raven, as we get a glimpse of Edd, Tormund, and Beric.
“Everything you did brought you where you are now,” Bran says. “Where you belong.”
Edd was last seen taking command of Castle Black. Tormund and Beric were a few miles east, at Eastwatch by the Sea. They barely escaped with their lives when the Night King brought down the fall on the final moments of the seventh season finale.
Bran appears to be speaking to Sam Tarly.
The last we saw him, Bran helped Sam piece together the truth about Jon Snow’s birth parents.
Sam is likely going to be the one to tell Jon the truth about his Targaryen heritage.
That is going to be one heck of a conversation.
The footage switches to show a boy watching Daenerys’ army arriving at Winterfell as Bran says “home.”
This shot appears to mirror the pilot episode, when young Bran Stark climbed Winterfell’s towers to watch King Robert’s royal party approach the castle.
This time around, it’s Queen Daenerys Targaryen and King Jon Snow riding towards Winterfell.
The union of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen is one for the history books.
Dany’s dragons soar over the towers of Winterfell as Sansa watches in awe.
This is the first time Sansa Stark, the Lady of Winterfell, has ever seen a living dragon.
Again echoing the pilot, Dany and Jon will visit the crypts.
In the pilot, King Robert and Ned Stark had a meaningful conversation in front of Lyanna’s crypt.
Lyanna is, of course, Jon Snow’s birth mother. His father is Rhaegar Targaryen, Dany’s long-dead brother. If (or when) Jon and Dany discover the truth, Lyanna’s tomb is going to hold a new importance for them both.
“They’re coming,” Jon says. We then see a series of shots showing Winterfell preparing for battle.
Gendry appears to be manning the forge. He’s gone from an armorer’s apprentice to crafting weapons for the North’s forces.
“Our enemy doesn’t stop,” Jon says. “Doesn’t tire …”
Jorah turns his horse outside the walls of Winterfell.
“… doesn’t feel.”
Nathalie Emmanuel and Jacob Anderson as Missandei and Grey Worm. HBO
As Jon finishes speaking, we see Missandei and Grey Worm share a passionate kiss before he leaves to take his place at the head of the Unsullied.
After that, we see Jaime Lannister fighting on the battlements among torchlight.
He was last seen on the seventh season finale riding away from King’s Landing and leaving Cersei alone (and pregnant, if she is to be believed).
Naturally the footage cuts back to King’s Landing right then, showing what looks like Euron standing before Cersei on the throne.
The dark atmosphere could be setting the tone for Euron’s “blackmail” scheme.
Then we see Cersei drinking wine in a room (shocker, we know). But her dress is surprising, even if the wine is not.
Cersei hasn’t been seen in this pale blue-green color palette in a long while. For seasons four and five, she wore the rich Lannister reds and then mourning blacks. All of season seven was dedicated to Cersei in lavish sliver and black gowns.
So why the change? This could be a sign of Cersei’s downfall, or a reintroduction of the manipulative softness we saw her employ with Sansa on the first several seasons.
While we ponder Cersei’s outfit change, the trailer cuts back to the North.
We see Arya watching dragons fly, a major moment for her life. She always admired the tales of Aegon the Conqueror and his sister-wife queens on their dragons.
“I promised to fight for the living,” Jaime says over more footage of Winterfell.
Grey Worm at the front of the Unsullied army. He looks ready for a fight to the death.
We get a fast look at Jon Snow once again.
Jon visiting the Winterfell godswood is a lovely link to the weirwood grove beyond the Wall where he made his Night’s Watch vows on season one.
We also get a brief peek at Sandor Clegane.
The Hound has been working on facing his fears of fire, a vital weapon against the army of the dead.
“I intend to keep that promise,” Jaime says to someone off screen.
This is likely in the halls of Winterfell. You can imagine Jaime Lannister wouldn’t be a welcome guest in those walls, given his attempted murder of Bran Stark and hand in Ned’s downfall.
But the time for petty in-fighting is past — King Jon and the Stark family will need to figure out how to handle this newcomer in the North.
Then the trailer shows some flashes of action.
Jon is running amidst the fiery battlefield.
There’s also a look at horses running — could the white creature in the background be our beloved Ghost?
Jon Snow’s direwolf, Ghost, hasn’t been shown on screen since the sixth season. We know he’ll have some scenes on these final episodes, so it’s possible this is the first tease of the direwolf in battle.
It could also just be a white horse, but we’re leaning into the Ghost-hype and hoping he’s present at Winterfell for the great war.
A group of armed soldiers head for a doorway.
This could be the interior of Winterfell, and this group is trying to defend the castle’s gates.
Then we see Dany and Jon approaching her two remaining dragons.
You can see the carcasses of the dragon’s meals littering the ground.
We doubt it’s a coincidence that Jon is standing closest to Rhaegal, the dragon named after his father.
Fans have long speculated that Jon will ride a dragon at some point on the final episodes of “Game of Thrones.” His touching moment with Drogon last season only fueled that hypothesis.
It would be fitting for Jon to ride the beast named after his birth father, Rhaegar Targaryen.
We then get another look at Sansa, followed by scenes of Arya slicing her way through enemies.
We’ve only ever seen Arya in one-on-one fights, so watching her unleash her assassination talents in a real battle should be thrilling.
The rest of the trailer is series of somber scenes.
Dany looks morose as she slowly closes her eyes.
This is the only sight of Tyrion in the trailer.
He’s also looking concerned, which is par for the course these days.
Jorah is right in the thick of the battle.
You can see Winterfell’s towers behind him.
All those days of training are about to be put to the test for our Podrick Payne.
Last but not least, we see the rotting leg of an undead horse walking towards Winterfell.
The Night King approaches Winterfell, the last stronghold of the North and biggest assembled defense of the realms of men.
The night is dark, and full of terrors.
Watch the trailer one more time below, this time with all our revelations in mind.