A girl is scared
At first glance, the trailer’s opening scene makes it look as though Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) is missing an eye. It’s just a big blood splash on her face, but Arya is clearly rattled by something — and that is no easy feat.
Spider in the hole
Varys (Conleth Hill) has come all the way from the gutters of Lys to the seats of Westerosi power. But all the spies and cunning in the world aren’t going to help much against an undead army. Here we see Varys hiding with other non-combatants in some sort of tunnel, looking afraid and out of his element.
They do not sow
During the great meeting at the Dragonpit last season, Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) promised that he was taking his ships and heading home to the Iron Islands to escape the wights, who can’t swim. But later, Cersei told Jaime that Euron was actually going on a secret mission for her. Based on this shot of the kraken-emblazoned Greyjoy ships sailing over ocean, it looks like Cersei was right — as usual.
Euron’s secret mission? Ferry the mercenaries of the legendary Golden Company over from Essos to boost Cersei’s forces (all financed by the Iron Bank of Braavos). That way, if and when the dead are defeated, she’ll be in prime position to conquer Westeros.
The last time we saw Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer), they were standing on a crumbling Wall as the Night King and his undead dragon Viserion unleashed devastating blue fire. Luckily, it seems these champions have survived to fight the dead another day.
In the know
As the season begins, only Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) know the truth of Jon Snow’s Targaryen birthright. The last time we saw them, Bran declared definitively that “he has to know. We have to tell him.” But how will Sam feel about rocking his friend’s world?
A long way from the Night King
As two armies prepare for a massive battle in the North, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) remains safely ensconced in the Red Keep way down south, far away from any of those scary wights.
On top of the world
Everyone Cersei has ever loved has either died or abandoned her. The only people she trusts now are her shady Hand, Qyburn (Anton Lesser), and the rejuvenated Mountain (Hafþór Björnsson). Nevertheless, with the Golden Company on the way, she appears more confident than ever in her ultimate victory.
Another boy, another life
Before his crippling fall, Bran Stark loved to climb and explore the battlements of Winterfell. Here, we see another young northern boy climbing a tree to watch the approach of Daenerys’ Unsullied forces.
White and black
Fire and ice, white and black, Targaryen and Stark. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Jon (Kit Harington) are the heirs to great bloodlines, and they’ve proved themselves to be noble heroes in their own right. Who better to lead Unsullied troops in a battle for all life?
Dragons in Winterfell
Daenerys’ dragons have already flown beyond the Wall, but this will be their first stop at Winterfell. Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) is clearly astounded at the sight of them.
One down, two left
Drogon and Rhaegal look magnificent flying over the towers of Winterfell, but it’s impossible to see the two of them without thinking of their fallen brother.
The crypt keepers
Winterfell’s crypts are where the Starks come to think; it was here, way back in the pilot, where we were first told that Rhaegar Targaryen kidnapped and raped Lyanna Stark, necessitating Robert’s Rebellion. Perhaps this is where Jon comes to make sense of the real truth behind that story. Dany, for her part, seems ready to help him.
Here we see Gendry (Joe Dempsie) back in his element, at a forge. Last season Gendry revealed his kingly parentage to Jon, hoping they could fight togther like Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark did way back when. How will it affect Gendry to learn that Jon is not the son of Robert’s best friend, but rather his father’s mortal enemy? And what will he think of seeing Arya again?
Nothing in existence could take Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) from Daenerys’ side — not betrayal, not greyscale, and not even a blood-curdling army of icy zombies.
What are we fighting for?
This romantic kiss between Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) comes right as Jon’s voice-over is explaining that their enemy “doesn’t feel.” That’s what separates the living from the dead. Our heroes aren’t just fighting for themselves, but the very ideals of love, life, and warmth.
With her children all dead, who is Cersei fighting for? She’s been able to outsmart her enemies the last couple seasons with shrewd strategy and a disregard for body counts and collateral damage. But in that case, what separates her from the unfeeling, undead soldiers of the Night King?
A girl is impressed
In contrast to the first shot of her looking bloody and frightened, here Arya looks pleasantly surprised by something. Given the scrambled looks of the people behind her, it’s probably the arrival of Daenerys’ dragons, but who knows? Maybe she’s just glad to see her old friend Gendry again.
The oldest enemy
The Hound (Rory McCann) was horribly burned at a young age, and has maintained a fear of fire ever since. Now he finds himself in a battle against the dead, where fire will be one of his side’s greatest weapons. Clearly, he’ll have to reckon with his past.
Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) once gave Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) a Valyrian steel sword he named Oathkeeper. The same sobriquet could be applied to the Kingslayer himself, who declares (in contrast to his sister and lover), “I promised to fight for the living. I intend to keep that promise.”
Blood of the dragon
The last two Targaryens and the last two dragons. The pile of bones makes it seem like Drogon and Rhaegal have been on a hunting excursion, but Jon and Dany are approaching them with purpose. They’ll be needed in the wars to come.
Dany rides Drogon. The Night King now rides the undead Viserion. Will Jon be the one to finally mount Rhaegal, the green dragon named after his real father?
I know things
Hand of the Queen Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) sports an unreadable expression during his single appearance in the trailer. He was the first to learn that Jon and Dany had consummated their romance, so what will he make of the Rhaegar revelation?
Based on what happened to Viserion, the dragons clearly won’t be enough on their own to stop the Night King’s army. But their fiery breath should nonetheless prove very effective against soldiers made of ice and cold.
Together at the end
Brienne and Podrick (Daniel Portman) have traveled a long way together, and it’s brought them here, to the front lines of a battle against the undead. Are they ready? Is anyone?
And so it begins
Ready or not, here they come. The first approach of an undead horse’s hoof signals the beginning of the brutal battle to come.
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