The wait felt as long as the Long Night, but we finally have our first full trailer a barely a month and a half before the “Game of Thrones” season 8 premiere on April 15 (in Manila; April 14 in the United States). We’ve been treated to mere seconds of actual footage and a staged teaser, but we now have a proper trailer—just over two minutes–full of wonder and fear.
Watch it here on YouTube:
It starts with something we are unaccustomed to: A fearful Arya. We see her hiding behind a wall, breathing heavily, blood of her face. We keep cutting back to her running in fear down a castle corridor of some sort.
We see Davos Seaworth walking through some snowy battlements.
Arya: “I know death.”
Varys is foreboding turning to something with other people cowering in fear behind him.
Arya: “He has many faces.”
Then we cut to Arya at a different time. Her face and clothes are immaculate. And she holds up a blade. She is confident.
Arya: “I look forward to this one.”
Card: “On April 14”
We see the ships of the Iron Islands, with the Greyjoy sigil on its sails.
Bran Stark: “Everything you did brought you where you are now, where you belong.”
In the dark, Beric Dondarrion is carrying a burning sword to light the way with Tormund and Ed.
Then we see Bran is actually talking to Sam.
Cut to a shot of King’s Landing.
Close up on Cersei sharing a laugh with Maester Qyburn.
We see a boy climbing a tree to look out to the frozen Wintertown at ranks of soldiers walking in formation.
The shot switching forward and we get two columns of Unsullied marching. Behind them, on horseback, are Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow. Winterfell is in the background.
Then we see a dragon roar as it flies over Winterfell. Then another. It’s Drogon and Rhaegal. Looking up at them in wonder is Sansa Stark. The dragons wheel over the settlement.
Jon Snow: “They’re coming.”
We see Dany walking into a room full of lit torches, and then over to Jon.
Jon: “Our enemy doesn’t tire.”
Blacksmiths are working on weapons. We see Gendry among the smiths.
Jon: “Doesn’t stop.”
Ser Jorah Mormont is on horseback and halts urgently.
Jon: “Doesn’t feel.”
From behind, we recognize Missandei and Grey Worm. The two kiss as Unsullied move quickly around them.
A swordsman is hacking at someone amid a burning structure. The next shot is a closeup that shows it is a serious Jaime Lannister, blood on his face.
Then we get a long shot of the Throne Room at King’s Landing with many torches lit. Cersei is sitting on the Iron Throne. We get a close-up of Cersei drinking wine with a small smile on her face.
Drogon and Rhaegal are diving in the air over snow-covered trees. Then they are flying through a snow-covered valley.
Closeup of Arya with scared people in the background. She looks up and smiles, wide-eyed.
Jaime: “I promised to fight for the living.”
Grey Worm is standing sternly in front of the Unsullied. He puts on his helmet.
Jon Snow is standing in front of the Weirwood tree in Winterfell.
Closeup again to a bloody Jaime. Then a clean-faced Jaime, speaking.
Jaime: “I intend to keep that promise.”
Jon Snow is running away from something with soldiers behind him.
Then Daenerys and Jon are walking up to the two dragons, who look up from their food. We get the same shot in reverse, the two walking away from the camera with the two dragons raising their heads.
Sansa looks on.
Arya is fighting gracefully, turning and slashing at her foes.
A bothered Dany closes her eyes.
Tyrion looks up.
A dragon breathes fire.
We get a tracking shot of the Unsullied standing still in ranks. Up front are Brienne and Podrick standing in front of soldiers. They are getting ready for something.
Closeup on Jorah, doing the same thing.
Then, the shot reverses. There are torches lit in the background. In front of the camera, we see two emaciated hooves.
Card: “Game of Thrones. The final season. April 14. HBO.”
Let’s address the giant in the room. It is alarming to see Arya (Maisie Williams) so scared. As others have pointed out, she hasn’t looked this scared since she was training to be an assassin in Braavos and had lost her sight. But she actually looks even more scared here. She has clearly been fighting, as there is blood splatter on her face.
She is hiding behind a wall and then running down a corridor. These shots are indoors, and there are lit torches, so this is either Winterfell or King’s Landing—most likely Winterfell. But why is there blood on her face? And what can scare her so much? The quick answer would be wights—but a specific kind of wight. As we’ve seen from the previous season, freshly turned wights still bleed when you slash them, because they were, until very recently, humans so they still have blood in their bodies even if they’re already technically dead. We have also seen that older wights do not bleed and merely crumble to dust. If it’s a (sort of) living creature, it could be The Mountain (Conan Stevens), but it seems unlikely Arya would be this scared. In any case, she has been cornered and is running for her life. Did she see someone she cared for now turned into a wight?
Then we get a lot of shots of the human alliance preparing for the inevitable attack by the White Walkers. Davos (Liam Cunningham) is again shown in a position of command.
Varys (Conleth Hill) is also afraid for his life. Now, he and the people behind him are in some kind of shelter and look like they are afraid of whatever is coming down the corridor. It looks like Winterfell, and it feels like it connects to the running that Arya is doing. It implies that these people have come to Winterfell for shelter but something has come for them.
Arya is shown before the running scene. She is kind of cocky, saying she wants to see this particularly kind of death, while holding up the blade. Interestingly, she is not holding her sword Needle, or the Valyrian Steel dagger. She is holding up a blade made of Dragonglass.
This is the indication that the Dragonglass under Dragonstone is indeed being mined to produce weapons which would be effective against the White Walkers and the wights. Arya already has one—the Valyrian Steel dagger Bran gave her after getting in from Baelish who had put it in the hands of the sellsword Baelish hired to kill Bran (Ian Hempstead-Wright) all the way back to season 1 episode 2, “The Kingsroad.”
Arya’s dialogue speaks to the fatalistic view she has developed since her time in Braavos, in particular an obsession with death and the act of inflicting it. She would naturally be interested in how exactly the White Walkers can only be killed by a particular kind of substance. This dialogue stands all the more in contrast with the frightened fleeing she is doing in the intercut scenes.
Euron Greyjoy had conspired with Cersei near the end of the last season, and here is the Greyjoy fleet coming to King’s Landing as promised. Judging from the color of the armor of the soldiers on the boat, Euron has indeed brought the famous mercenary army the Golden Company to bolster the flagging Lannister war effort.
The shot of Beric (Richard Dormer) and Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) walking in the dark is our first confirmed information that the two did survive the zombified dragon attack on the Wall. This again feels like Winterfell. Beric is bearing the flaming sword passed on to him after the death of the original sword wielder Thoros of Myr. Beric’s survival is important because he can no longer he resurrected as the person doing the resurrecting—Thoros—is dead. So everything he encounters now could potentially kill him for good. Plus it’s always nice to see Tormund—and Dolorous Edd (Ben Crompton), who has also survived.
The dialogue is being spoken by Bran, apparently to Sam (John Bradley). The shot of Bran talking to Sam means Sam has arrived at Winterfell from Oldtown. It is highly likely that he has come to tell Jon Snow of his true parentage, and this is what all his actions has led up to.
Cersei (Lena Headey) is doing her best super-villain thing here. Check out that stylish Lannister outfit on her. Qyburn (Anotn Lesser) is doing his best Dr. Frankenstein impression here. That huge guy behind Cersei is of course The Mountain. Bad things are being planned here.
The boy climbing the tree is a clear homage to the climbing Bran did in the show’s first episode, “Winter is Coming.” The Unsullied are marching through Wintertown, the settlement right outside Winterfell, meaning the White Walkers have now come to their home, logically having destroyed Eastwatch By The Sea and Castle Black, the two fortresses between the fallen Wall and Winterfell.
We’ve seen the shot from the front of the two ranks of Unsullied walking towards the camera in the “It All Starts Here” HBO trailer. What we didn’t see what how the shot ends—with Dany (Emilia Clarke) and Jon (Kit Harrington) on horses behind the Unsullied. So the leaders have come to direct the fighters. It serves to underscore how serious the situation is.
Ten we get a fantastic shot of Drogon and Rhaegal flying over Winterfell. The dragons have finally arrived in the North, something we knew would happen sooner or later. Sansa (Sophie Turner) has, of course, never seen a dragon in the flesh before, and while her face betrays some wonder, there’s also a bit of trepidation. That’s most likely because, even though they’re on the same side, the dragons are Dany’s assets, not hers.
The sense of foreboding builds as Jon rather glumly describes the approaching dead army. He is most likely speaking to the soldiers. The room with the torches is of course the Crypts of Winterfell, seen in the special teaser trailer put together by HBO for season 8. Something is bothering Jon and Dany comforts him. Could it be he now knows his true parents? Or is Jon simply secretly despairing that his home is now under attack?
Where in the world is Gendry (Joe Dempsie)? Well, there he is in his element, really buff and bald, working on what are apparently Dragonglass weapons. This is where the Dragonglass being mined under Dragonstone went. Seeing Gendry is a good sign because it is interesting to see what happens to him at season’s end. Remember, he has royal blood as the bastard son of the late Robert Baratheon and has a legitimate claim on the Iron Throne. Cersei’s sending the Goldcloaks to kill all of Robert’s bastards back in season 2 did not work.
Jorah (Iain Glen) is an experienced leader in war so it is not surprising he is at the front. His path from the time he seemed certain to die from the Greyscale has come to this. He is in charge of the Dothraki, who are now wearing armor and furs in the Northern cold.
The other star-crossed lovers on the show—Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson)—share an urgent kiss. Grey Worm, as always, will be fighting at the front, so his chances of surviving the show are virtually nil.
Now some action: Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is fighting amid a burning place. We can’t really see who he’s fighting—whether human or wight—but he has the same kind of blood and desperation on his face, so let’s assume it’s wights. This ties into his line, about honorably fighting for the living. The Hound (Rory McCann) is in that really quick cut, and it’s apparent he has overcome his overwhelming fear of fire because he is clearly fighting next to Jaime amid the fire. These two are both on redemption arcs and they will come full circle this season.
More super-villain sass from Cersei. That shot where she’s drinking wine? Very important. Whether it was a fabrication or she has suffered a miscarriage, Cersei is clearly no longer pregnant with Jaime’s child, as she hinted at last season. She made a big hullaballoo about not drinking wine because she was with child. Well, she sure is drinking wine now.
Note at this point that none of the King’s Landing scenes tie up with the Winterfell scenes. Whatever fighting is happening is happening away from King’s Landing, allowing Cersei to diabolically plot against the Stark alliance all she wants. It’s the perfect plan: let the Starks or the White Walkers do their thing and she’ll just clean up afterwards.
The two dragons are flying over Northern country. The next shot may be the best remembered from the previous trailer. Arya is standing in front a Winterfell wall outside, and she looks up in wonder at the dragons. Remember Arya has long been a fangirl of the dragons and her expression is more openly in awe than more reserved older sister Sansa’s.
The shot of Jon Snow in front of the Weirwood tree in Winterfell deliberately echoes the same shot of Ned Stark in the first episode, but what Ned had predicted has come to pass: Winter is here.
The fight for Winterfell is not going well. We can see that the burning structure around Jaime is indeed Winterfell burning. Jon and those soldiers are running in the wrong direction and Jon looks really stressed.
On a more hopeful note, we get the best scene from the trailer. The dragons are apparently both really chill with Jon now, because they show absolutely no aggression when Jon and Dany walk up. In fact, Drogon even seems to kind of turn towards Jon the way a dog turns to his master. This shot emphasizes the fantastical beauty of this show.
Quick character call outs: Sansa again looking on over Winterfell. That’s badass Arya doing some serious fighting with a spear in the same location, burning Winterfell.
Dany is bothered by something. We get the only shot of Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), looking up at something.
Finally, we get the scene that sets the stage. The Unsullied are lined up together with some other soldiers together with Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), Podrick (Daniel Portman) and Jorah. They are holding the line. Will they be the first to fall?
We recognize those hooves anywhere. These are the hooves of the spooky white horses the White Walkers ride. They have arrived at Winterfell.
The wait was worth it. We get a full trailer and most of the new footage is clearly from the first one or two episodes. So we can now tell that the battle for Winterfell is the first important event in the season.
The shots of Dany and Jon walking up to the dragons, Gendry working in the smithy, Sansa looking over the walls and Arya looking at the Dragonglass, Jon in the Crypts with Dany, Bran talking to Sam, all these happen first, the calm before the storm. Then we get the preparations for battle. The Unsullied march out with Jorah leading the Dothraki. They line up to face the White Walkers.
The battle goes badly. Jaime, Arya and the Hound are fighting while Winterfell burns. Then Arya is chased through the corridors as Varys fearfully awaits what comes next. Beric and company walk through Winterfell corridors. Chronologically, the scene where Jon is fleeing Winterfell feels like the last scene.
It is much more difficult to guess where the King’s Landing scenes are from. The first scene, where Cersei is plotting with Qyburn, feels like it belongs in the first episode (gotta check on those baddies, you know). But the second scene, of Cersei drinking wine, feels like it comes later, when more of her plan comes to fruition.
In any case, a very good trailer that milks the first episode, so we may know some of what will happen in the later episodes. There may no longer be any more trailers, as the show does air just over a month from now. Remember: April 15. Winter has come, and we couldn’t be happier.