As Jon Snow says, “the Great War is here.”
HBO finally gifted fans with what they’d been asking for and released a spectacularly intense trailer for Game of Thrones season 7. Nothing like the previous teaser — which featured Daenerys, Cersei and Jon comfortably taking their seats — this trailer drops a great deal of exciting imagery and new information, some of it in downright spoiler territory.
Read after the video below to see what all we can glean from it.
If you’re hoping to avoid any and all potential spoilers, now’s your warning to turn back.
Awesome, right?! Now, let's see what we just learned. (Note: There are a lot of production spoilers out there, but for this story I'm sticking to what we learn from the trailer itself, which is still a lot.)
Lannisters on the move
Last season saw Cersei pull one of Westeros' greatest coups when she vaporized all of her foes in King's Landing. That masterstroke, though, made plenty of new foes for her. "Enemies to the East. Enemies to the West. Enemies to the South. Enemies to the North," she says at the trailer's beginning. She's surrounded, but unafraid.
"Whatever stands in our way, we will defeat it." Somebody's confident.
We also see shots of Lannister forces on the move. Cersei doesn't seem like the type to spare her enemies any advantage, so this footage likely means that she's dispatching Jaime to take the offensive.
Cersei goes on to say that she and her brother are the last of the Lannisters — or at least the only Lannisters that count. As the trailer shows when she says this, there's one man that might take issue with that.
Tyrion, much to his sister's dismay, is still out and about. But where? Well ...
Daenerys goes home
That would be Dragonstone, site of the Targaryens' first foothold in Westeros several hundred years before. It was most recently inhabited by Stannis Baratheon, but he's not exactly around to keep his claim on the fortress.
Daenerys and her vast army are landing there, just like her ancestor Aegon the Conquerer, to prepare for her own invasion. "I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms — and I will," she says, her voice dripping with resolve.
She certainly has the forces to pull it off, but how will she use them? More on that further down.
A girl is going home
Perhaps no character enjoys as much fan investment as Arya Stark, so it should be pleasing to everyone that it appears she's going back home.
She's still on her own and still a child (I know, right?), so it shouldn't be surprisng that she's still on edge. We see her making camp by herself whilst looking about, and later she's somewhere indoors checking under her bed. That could be in Winterfell, but there's not enough detail in the shot to be sure.
Speaking of which ...
Something's rotten in the North
The King in the North! Jon can be seen holding court, something that he could've never dreamed of growing up, but not all is well. Case in point stands to the top-left of the image above: Petyr Baelish, A.K.A Littlefinger.
Baelish did not get the outcome he'd hoped for when Jon, not Sansa, was proclaimed ruler of the North. His manipulation of Sansa continues, though, as he hopes to twist her against her bastard brother. "Your father and brothers are gone, and yet here you stand: the last, best hope against the coming storm."
Don't think that Littlefinger will only be chatting up Sansa, though. He'll also be talking with Jon — in the crypts, near where Lyanna Stark is buried. Jon roughs up Littlefinger a bit, but why? Baelish has hinted in the past that he might know the secret of Jon's parentage — could he be telling Jon the truth? It's a stretch, but not beyond the realm of possibility.
Jon doesn't stick around in Winterfell, though. About halfway through the trailer we see what looks like a simple group of wildlings north of the Wall, but a later shot tosses that idea out:
That's right: Jon Snow, along with Tormund and a few others, venture beyond the Wall. But why? The trailer steers clear of that nugget of information.
Some familiar faces?
A couple of characters we weren't sure would return in season 7 are indeed back. Well, at least according to the trailer, one is for sure.
Above is Melisandre, the secretly super-old red priestess. We last saw her being banished from the North for the burning of Shireen Baratheon. It appears that she did leave the North — for Dragonstone. That walkway she's looking over is attached to the Targaryen fortress; perhaps she's looking to lend her services to Dany now. (The real question here, though, is who's on that walkway?)
In the creepy department: WHO'S ARM IS THIS?! At first I thought it was severely burned, but after looking at it more I think it may be a severe case of greyscale. And who do we know has a bad infection on the left arm? Ser Jorah Mormont, King of the Friend Zone and servant to Dany. If this is him and not just some burned bloke, then his infection has gotten really nasty.
War on the high seas
We've seen plenty of ships in Thrones, but never ship-to-ship combat. That's going to change this season, as a couple of shots reveal.
The attack takes place in the dark of night, so it's difficult to tell who exactly is fighting here. But an image of Theon Greyjoy standing on what may be a burning ship means Dany's fleet is likely involved. The foe? With his original plan stolen by his niece and nephew, Euron Greyjoy has probably aligned with Cersei in order to still have a shot at glory. It's Greyjoy vs. Greyjoy out there.
Khaleesi strikes the Lannisters
Now we're getting to the good stuff. It should surprise no one that there's a big battle this season, but now we've got a better idea of what to expect. Dany is putting all her chips on the table to launch her assault against the Lannisters.
Several shots show the Dothraki horde charging into Lannister forces, swinging their curved arakhs and lunging off their rides. The terrain around them indicates this fight takes place somewhere in central Westeros — perhaps in the Reach or Westerlands, the Lannister home territory.
We also get to see the Unsullied go up against a proper military for the first time, and here's where a big spoiler in itself might have been revealed:
Note the golden lions and giant L above the archway. The architecture of the courtyard also doesn't match what we've seen in King's Landing. With that taken into account, this may be our first glimpse ever of Casterly Rock, the seat of House Lannister. It could also be the nearby city of Lannisport.
There's a later shot of (who appears to be) Tyrion knocking over a Lannister troop marker on the giant map table; it's hard to be sure, but it appears that the marker's placement backs up the theory that Dany strikes the very heart of House Lannister. Whether it is Casterly Rock itself or just Lannisport, this would be a huge development.
Alliances on the way?
Game of Thrones has never shied away from making strange bedfellows. With the world of the show shrinking and characters on collision courses, it's assured that new alliances are in store.
Davos alludes to as much when he says "If we don't put aside our enmities, we will die. And then it doesn't matter who's skeleton sits on the Iron Throne." King Jon Snow's got a huge incentive to forge new alliances — white walkers, anyone? — but who would he approach?
He could very well try to deal with Queen Cersei in these desperate times, but the strongest choice would be Daenerys herself. Dragonstone is known to sit on a huge amount of dragonglass — Westerosi obsidian that can kill the walkers — and she also commands three giant dragons. Throw in the fact that Tyrion, who was friendly with Jon years prior, is now Dany's chief adviser, and you've got the potential for a beautiful alliance.
The sex is all right
Even after all that's come to pass, this is still Game of Thrones: There will be sexiness.
In one corner we've got Dany's translator Missandei stripping down Unsullied leader Grey Worm. Yes, like all Unsulled, Grey Worm has had his private parts removed by slavers. That doesn't mean he can't get some lovin'!
In the other corner we've got Yara Greyjoy and ... Ellaria Sand? Yup, it seems that the leader of Dorne's Sand Snakes gets along well with the would-be queen of the Iron Islands (the trailer for last season also featured Yara kissing a woman). Since both Yara's loyalists and Dorne pledged themselves to Daenerys, it's unsurprising that the two would meet.
In other words, if you want to get frisky in Westeros, join #TeamDany.
Cool shot, bro!
It also wouldn't be a Thrones trailer without shots ranging from intriguing to badass. For one, Cersei must have decided that a normal map — or even a giant map table — simply wasn't enough for her.
These two — who could be major characters or just poor blokes — dive into water as a flood of fire fills the air above. Could it be dragon fire?
In addition to maps for the vision impaired, Cersei has also updated the armor for her queensguard. This could be Ser Gregor Clegane, A.K.A the Mountain, A.K.A FrankenMountain, but with much of this face covered it's hard to be certain. Still, probably FrankenMountain. The art on the breastplate mirrors Cersei's own crown, and the black-and-silver design also reflects the queen's taste in wardrobe these days.
Now the coolest moment of them all: Dany leading her entire Dothraki army into battle while atop Drogon. This is the sort of shot that makes Game of Thrones stand out: It's huge, it's violent, it's spectacular.
I could not be more excited for July 16.