Fans are calling the new Game of Thrones trailer… cryptic (get it?!).
The Crypts of Winterfell, where the teaser takes place, notoriously holds major secrets, including Jon’s true parentage. And the teaser feels like a heavy hint that even more of its secrets will be divulged in Season 8.
First, some background: The Crypts of Winterfell are the massive (even bigger than the castle itself), mysterious, ancient underground resting place for generations of Starks. They’re the source of a lot of strange Northern tales, too.
Many book characters — most notably Jon, Bran, and Melisandre — have dreams about them, and visceral reactions to their odd pull. Jon is terrified of them, for example, while Bran and Arya feel more affection.
— Game Of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) January 14, 2019
A recurring show location since the very first episode, all signs point to the crypts being crucial to the endgame. Of course, the teaser could just be symbolic. It’s not hard to read the meaning behind winds of White Walker winter coming for the Stark kids in the place where they will be buried.
But why not take the opportunity to consider the coolest, most interesting, and most popular theories for what role the crypts will play in Game of Thrones Season 8?
Dragons in Winterfell
I know it sounds far fetched. But evidence for the existence of dragons in Winterfell is substantial, and mounting.
George R.R. Martin’s recent companion book Fire and Blood even gave this theory more credence, mentioning rumors that centuries ago, the dragon Vermax left behind a clutch of eggs in the crypts.
Then there’s the very odd fact that Winterfell is built on top of a rare geographical anomaly: natural hot springs that some legends speculate are kept hot by a dragon trapped inside the crypts.
But that’s probably just an old wives’ tale, with the more likely possibility being that Jon and Dany will hatch new dragons in Winterfell.
Winterfell’s hot springs burn with heat only seen in two other locations: Valyria (the ancient fallen city of the Dragonlords) and Dragonstone (where the Targaryens ruled and hatched dragons). Maesters also believe dragons can only be born near such points of volcanic heat.
In the books, there are even recurring prophecies and dreams about waking dragons, particularly ice dragons, from stone.
Melisandre claims only king’s blood could raise said stone dragon, so hello King in the North Jon Snow. That’s not to mention Dany, who adds even more dragon blood and magic, and who is seen in another recent Season 8 clip arriving at Winterfell.
The Season 7 finale even included a conversation between her and Jon discussing the possibility of her having more children, and so far all of Dany’s babies have been reptilian fire breathers.
A prison for the Great Other
Others speculate that instead of housing a fire monster, the crypts could serve as a prison to keep in the true King of Winter.
The evidence is less compelling for this one, but comes down to the legendary figure known as Bran the Builder. He’s the Stark credited with building the Wall with magic and giants thousands of years ago, after the first Long Night when the White Walkers were defeated.
Legends says that at that time, Bran also built the first and oldest level of the crypts, which are now collapsed and unreachable.
But this theory posits that the barrier was purposeful, with Bran the Builder using more of that White Walker-stopping Wall magic to trap an even greater evil than the Night King within the crypts. Perhaps it’s the Great Other, the R’hllor religion’s big bad god of darkness and night.
What if the Great Other is the source of the icy winds in the trailer, instead of the Night King? Worse still, what if the plan all along was to release the Great Other from his Winterfell prison?
Dead Starks will rise
Pretty unsettling, but it’s entirely possible that the Night King will arrive in Winterfell only to raise the ancient Kings of Winter from their tombs to join him. I mean, can you imagine the emotional distress of the Stark kids having to battle an undead Ned?
But still others believe that, actually, the Starks might be immune to White Walker magic.
Many believe the Starks share history and possibly even ancestral blood with the Night King (and no, that doesn’t mean he’s Bran). We can’t get into all the details here (check out a video explanation here), but ice magic continues to be associated with their ancient line and would explain what makes their house so special.
The books also constantly refer to the stone statues of the Kings of Winter in the crypts as if they’re alive, watching and waiting. But whose side will they be on?
The Battle of Winterfell
Lots of evidence, including leaked set images, indicate that Winterfell will be destroyed in a battle. And logically, that battle would likely be early on, as the first stop the Night King makes as his army travels south.
The ominous icy fumes in the trailer could simply be indicative of Winterfell as the first casualty in the oncoming war. But even if the castle itself is destroyed, that doesn’t mean the crypts won’t survive.
The crypts could become the last remaining stronghold for the Starks who survive. Or maybe the battle would awaken whatever has been lying dormant within the crypts.
Jon will survive the war
This one’s not tied to any longstanding theories. But fans are noting that out of the three statues, only Jon’s likeness looks older. Sansa’s and Arya’s look like the ages they are currently.
This could just be the product of a bad sculptor. Or it could be a subtle hint that Jon will at least survive some years after the war, but his half-sisters will perish. And Bran? Well…
Bran is the Night King
The conspicuous absence of Bran from the Stark family reunion in the teaser trailer has once again added fire (ice?) to the flame of the Bran = Night King theory.