I’ve seen it. You’ve seen it. Everyone’s seen it. Then we’ve all seen it again and again. Now it’s the time for the hype about the final season trailer to calm down and leave room for rampant speculation! So let’s dig deep into it frame by frame, shall we?
But beware: this will be informed speculation, based on our set and casting reports as well as what we can see on the trailer with our own eyes, so there will be more spoilers than the trailer itself necessarily provides. Let’s get on with it!
The trailer wastes no time, throwing us directly into the action of the Winterfell battle in episode three, written by showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and directed by Thrones veteran Miguel Sapochnik, who helmed amazing setpieces such as “Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards,” as well as what’s considered by many one of the best if not the best episode of the show, “The Winds of Winter.” In these early shots, we see Arya, with a bloody eyelid and in complete panic, slowly calm down until all we can see is conviction — to run away from a wight (or many) through the dark halls of Winterfell.
Davos leads the archers, just as he did during the Battle of the Bastards, on one of the two towers that guard the northern Winterfell entrance (a newly built part of the set), while Varys, Gilly and little Sam stay safe in the crypts among mothers and children. These are two of the many shots that amount to “character X is ready for battle.” Though this is an exciting trailer, it’s quite clever in not revealing too much — as we’ll see, there’s no footage that we can positively attribute to the second half of the season.
Earlier in the season, anywhere between the premiere and the battle episode itself, Arya grabs one of the now mass-produced dragonglass blades as she exclaims: “I know Death. He’s got many faces. I look forward to seeing this one.” Arya may not have become No One, but as we’ve seen she gained many of the Faceless Men’s abilities and beliefs. Of course, Arya’s started deifying Death all the way back in season one, with Syrio Forel.
Though the sight of Greyjoy ships may have us thinking of Euron, these are only three meager ships, none of them Silence, and none of them bearing Euron’s modified Greyjoy sigil with the red eye. So this is probably Theon, in his quest to save Yara! Enjoy this, Theon fans, because he isn’t around in the rest of the trailer.
Euron brings back the Golden Company on his fleet. In the background ships we can see the aforementioned sigil that Euron changed, while in the foreground we see the mercenaries on Euron’s Silence, all clad in gold, with their commander looking at them and away from the camera. Though we can’t quite see him, that has to be Harry Strickland, who, as we reported, is played by German actor Marc Rissmann.
Last time we saw them, Beric and Tormund were running for their lives as Eastwatch fell. Trapped on top of the Wall, the logical destination would be to reach Castle Black. Here we can see them, fiery sword included, being led by Eddison Tollett. However, the walls seem to indicate they’re already in a Northern castle, not Castle Black.
Bran says a very three-eyed raven line, which the trailer matches to a scene between him and Samwell Tarly on the Winterfell courtyard, though we don’t actually see Bran move his lips. The line would better fit more prophetic characters like Jon and/or Daenerys, who the trailer focuses on by the end of it: “Everything you did brought you where you’re now. Where you belong. Home.” More on that later.
We see the Red Keep, still no worse for wear despite the arrival of Winter. Cersei, backed by Qyburn and the Mountain, looks pleased, which probably means Euron’s back with her new army (this was shot on a familiar Dubrovnik location, so we know she’s looking out at sea.) You may also notice the variation on the gown we’ve seen her wear on promotional photos: this has more golden elements, instead of red ones.
In one of what will be many parallels to the show’s first episode in the premiere, we see a child climbing a building to get a better view of the arriving Targaryen army, who are passing through Winter town on the way to Winterfell (we’ve only seen the town briefly, as Brienne and Pod stayed there in season five.) As far as we know, this is the opening scene of the season. Of course, the climbing child echoes Bran, who in “Winter is Coming” climbed the walls of Winterfell to have a better view of King Robert’s arrival.
Just as the new three-eyed raven brings his line to a close with “home,” we see Winterfell in the distance and then immediately cut to Jon and Daenerys, seconds later, riding horses as they accompany the Unsullied army to Jon’s childhood home.
I’m never going to get tired of these “seeing a dragon for the first time” reaction faces. Arya’s, which we see later, is more excited than most. Sansa, meanwhile, has the same reaction most other people have: awed reverence, with a hint of terror. In the next shot, we see Rhaegal and Drogon flying past Winterfell, which, incidentally, we’ve never seen so well-realized and detailed before. You may spot lots of little details there!
Jon visits the crypts of Winterfell and Daenerys follows, not unlike Robert and Ned did right after the king’s arrival. Is Jon visiting Ned’s tomb, or does he know the truth of his parentage by this point, and he’s visiting his mother Lyanna’s statue? Honestly, I can’t tell. Both the Ned and Lyanna statues were to the left in previous seasons, looking from where people enter the crypts, while Jon is looking to a statue on the right side. Maybe the prop has been moved or the shot flipped. It wouldn’t be the first time!
As we see this and some of the following shots, Jon warns us of the danger of the White Walkers: “They’re coming. Our enemy doesn’t tire. Doesn’t stop. Doesn’t feel.”
Winterfell’s blacksmiths, led by Gendry, are busy working on Dragonstone’s dragonglass.
Jorah leads the Dothraki in front of a trench and the walls of Winterfell, now reinforced with spikes. The White Walkers may be a force to be reckoned with, but this coalition of the living has done as much as it can to get the Stark stronghold ready.
By the way, the sword strapped to Jorah’s hip appears to be be Heartsbane, the Tarly family sword. Considering the relationship Sam and Jorah forged at the Citadel, it would make a lot of sense for Sam to gift (or at least lend) Jorah the Valyrian steel sword of House Tarly, now that Jon has the Mormont family sword with Jorah’s own blessing.
Grey Worm and Missandei share a fateful kiss right before battle, with the Unsullied around them. Jon’s speech about the White Walkers appropriately ends with how their enemy “doesn’t feel” just as we see the kiss. This is what the living are fighting for.
Brienne fights against the wights on the Winterfell battlements, with an orange sky behind her. Whether the living win this one or not, Winterfell will suffer.
Behind a screaming Jaime, I’m pretty sure that’s Podrick Payne.
At first glance the following seems like an unassuming Iron Throne room shot, and perhaps it is. We can see Cersei on the Iron Throne, with Qyburn and Gregor at her sides, as well as two other Queensguards. But the queen is receiving two people, both looking up at her. One’s right in the middle, in front of Cersei, and the other to our right, or Cersei’s left. The long gown of the figure on the right has many speculating she could be Sansa, which would place this much later in the season. Or it’s Yara, others say!
However, the golden-clad figure in the middle looks very much like it could be Harry Strickland, in which case he’s most likely accompanied by Euron, with a more typical Greyjoy tunic instead of his rocker outfit. Sansa is a juicier alternative, but to be honest I believe the simpler answer is most likely: this is a continuation of the earlier shots in which we saw Euron ferrying the Golden Company and Cersei seeing them arrive, in a pretty direct parallel to Euron’s first arrival to King’s Landing last season.
Next we see Cersei in her room with a wine glass. Lena Headey is, as always, showing her acting chops, displaying so many emotions in so little time. You may first see her characteristic smirk, but then you may notice her eyes are watery, and her mouth quivering. I won’t speculate about specifics, but what this tells me is that she’s, as usual, trying to convince herself that she’s more in control of her situation than she actually is.
Drogon and Rhaegal fly freely over the northern landscape! Not much to say about these shots, except that they’re absolutely beautiful. You can see where the money went!
We’ve seen this one before: Arya is in Winter town as the dragons fly over it on the way to Winterfell. The smallfolk run scared, while Arya has the aforementioned reaction all main characters usually get… but then she smiles. That is quite unique!
Grey Worm is ready for battle! I told you there were a lot of these. Also: notice the dragonglass embedded on his and every Unsullied’s shield. Dragonglass everywhere!
Jon alone in the Godswood. If they really want to hit those season one feels, he should now sit down and maintain Longclaw, just as Ned did with Ice in the series premiere.
Sandor Clegane’s burnt side lit by fire, in the middle of a storm. There’s a lot of meaning packed there. Will the Hound get past his fear of fire, and wield his own fiery sword? Now, we can’t see that here, but I do want it to happen… and there’s some evidence he may do just that. If it’s not him, it will be someone else, and not just Beric!
Jaime presents his case to the Targaryen-Stark court in Winterfell: “I promised to fight for the living. I intend to keep that promise.” With these words, not only does he echo his entire character arc, but the words he said to Cersei as he abandoned her: “I pledged to ride north. I intend to honor that pledge.” Cersei didn’t take that very well, but I hope the folks at Winterfell take it better, especially with Brienne’s support.
Jon takes hold of a bow. Those flaps around his hands are part of Jon’s usual outfit, but technically it could be someone else with a similar Stark uniform.
Jon runs into what I’m sure is lots of danger, because that’s what he does.
These, two me, look like Knights of the Vale, especially as it’s followed by a shot of horses (or maybe it’s wolves led by a direwolf? I don’t want to get my hopes up.) However, they have no horses in this first shot, so either something has gone quite wrong or they’re not Valemen. In fact, I’m pretty sure something’s gone wrong anyway, because they’re running towards a closed gate. Uh uh.
Dany and Jon pay a visit to her well-fed dragons Drogon and Rhaegal. Seeing them together like this, the size difference between Drogon and his brother is quite striking.
Sansa looks concerned here, but who doesn’t. She’s also looking beautiful!
Spin that stick, Arya! We’ve seen Arya use her Needle quite a bit, as well as many of the abilities she learned at the House of Black and White. However, this is the first time since she practiced with the Waif that we’ve witnessed her skills with the stick.
More shots of understandably depressed people: Daenerys in her (and Jon’s?) Winterfell room; and Tyrion looking up. Note the lack of snow in the ground and the sunnier lighting. I’m not saying this means this is definitely from later in the season, when most if not all characters will be moving south but… I think that’s what I’m saying.
Drogon says hello in his particular way, frying the cameraman.
The Unsullied are (repeat with me) “ready for battle.” Also: notice the trebuchets in the background. Though I’m sure there’s lots of post-production replication going on here (I’m sorry, the dragons are fake too), the trebuchet prop is quite real and functional.
Brienne and Podrick are, hm, prepared to fight as well, at the head of knights of the Vale. Yet again, Robin Arryn’s men are horseless.
In a similar shot, Jorah Mormont looks impatiently at the horizon, leading an army of Dothraki, out of focus. Are the White Walkers finally coming?
Yes. Yes they are. They’re coming. In fact, they’re here! An undead horse, presumably ridden by a White Walker, nears Winterfell. Our heroes are fucked.
If you think we’ve missed anything important or you merely wish to speculate wildly, feel free to participate in the comments below! I doubt we’re getting another trailer, so analyzing this frame by frame is going to have to do. But don’t worry! There’s only little more than a month left of waiting! We’re almost there, and now we’ve got something tangible to taste before the our great last supper in April and May.