'Game of Thrones': 10 Key Takeaways From the Season Six Trailer

Jon Snow's death and jaw-dropping flashbacks are at the heart of the HBO show's new season.
Courtesy of HBO

"Nobody loves no one," sings James Vincent McMorrow, as his cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" washes over the world of ice and fire at the heart of Game of Thrones.

The mournful tune is appropriate for the tone of HBO's first full trailer for season six of Thrones, but that one lyric falls far from the mark, at least as far as it applies to fans, who have a litany of reasons to feel loved today — because after endless months of questions without answers, Game of Thrones fans now have mouthful upon mouthful of information to chew on, almost too much to swallow. 

Here's a closer look at the trailer in bite-sized pieces, to help make sense of the formidable meal:

1. Snow more questions

After months of back-and-forth debate, the matter is officially settled: Jon Snow, the 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, is dead. Kit Harington recently revealed his participation in season six as a corpse, and the trailer backs up his claim. Ghost sits with his fallen master in one scene, while Ser Davos Seaworth wields Jon's Valyrian steel sword, Longclaw, at the conclusion of the trailer — either in solidarity with the mystery man in the room, or potentially as a means of stopping this individual. 

2. The fires of life

Don't lose hope yet, Snow-hards. Jon's dead, yes … but death didn't stop Beric Dondarrion from springing back to life, did it? Indeed, Melisandre of Asshai is at the heart of many theories about Jon's return, and the trailer adds fuel to those fires, so to speak. She's despondent throughout much of the footage ("The great victory I saw in the flames … all of it was a lie," she says), but there's also a moment where she disrobes, with determination in her eye. Classic Melisandre move, but is there more here? Are Melisandre and Davos planning some kind of ritual, perhaps involving Ghost, with the intent of bringing Jon back from the great beyond?

3. The Night's King returns

It's no surprise to see the leader of the White Walkers once again, even if it's a bit of a shock to see him in the first full trailer for the new season. The real surprise, however, involves Bran Stark, the green-seeing "broken thing" training under the mystical Three-Eyed Raven. The Night's King and Bran stand side-by-side near the end of the trailer, indicating that this is nothing more than one of Bran's visions. How else to explain Bran standing on his own two feet? Regardless, even if this is nothing more than a fantasy, Bran's close brush with the deadliest force on Thrones should have fans of the second youngest Stark son very worried indeed.

4. The Tower of Joy

These are words that mean very little for show-only viewers, but for book readers, it's everything, short of a flashback to the Tourney at Harrenhal. At numerous points in the trailer, we see what appears to be a young Eddard Stark battling against warriors wearing the dragon of House Targaryen on their armor — all part of one of the most storied battles in Westeros history, and one with enormous ramifications for the future of Thrones, and Jon Snow specifically. Some fans believe that Jon was born moments after this epic battle, the secret son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Based on the trailer, it looks like season six might confirm this longstanding theory after all. If nothing else, it's worth getting excited for Ser Arthur Dayne and Howland Reed, two of the most legendary figures in Thrones lore.

5. The winter wasteland

In the North, it's a bleak situation, and not just because of what's happening on the Wall. Thankfully, it looks like Sansa Stark has found somewhere warmer than Winterfell, if not safer, due to her appearance shrouded in dark black fur. As for Roose and Ramsay Bolton? They exchange a wordless stare that speaks volumes, but is nonetheless deafened by the striking visual of a flayed man consumed in flames as an army marches in the distance. Is it the tortured corpse of fallen "king" Stannis Baratheon? That's a best-case scenario, because rumors persist that some other beloved characters are in danger of a fiery, flayed fate this season…

6. Wonder twincest powers, activate!

After spending seasons at the peak of their power, the Lannisters stomached mouthfuls of harsh reality following the deaths of Joffrey and Tywin in season four, and then Myrcella in season five. Needless to say, Jaime and Cersei are sick of losing. "We're the only ones that matter," Jamie tells Cersei at one point in the trailer. "Everything they've taken from us, we're going to take back — and more." The siblings and lovers are seen kissing in the trailer, all but solidifying the notion that the twins who broke Bran Stark's back are poised for more mutual destruction.

7. Power in powerlessness

How can the impoverished and disenfranchised masses of King's Landing break their cycle of oppression? The High Sparrow has a suggestion: team together. Jonathan Pryce's holier-than-thou zealot looks ready for a prominent role in season six, pledging his desire to "overthrow an empire." The conflict between his Faith Militant and the traditional power structure of the Iron Throne looks like it will result in new shades of blood in the coming year, based on one scene where armed forces march up to the Great Sept of Baelor, mere feet away from the High Sparrow's own army of fanatics.

8. A mountain of trouble

Ian McShane set "Cleganebowl" hype levels to astonishing new heights when he all but confirmed The Hound's season six return, and the trailer only pushes that excitement all the way over the ledge. Robert Strong, the new pseudonym for the zombified Gregor Clegane, is prominently featured at the midpoint of the trailer, with the promise of violence straight from Cersei's lips to Lancel Lannister's ears. Whether or not Gregor and Sandor face off in a brotherly battle of the ages, we can at the very least expect the erstwhile Mountain to cause all kinds of damage at Cersei's behest.

9. The Kingsmoot

One of the most divisive scenes in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books is about to hit the small-screen Game of Thrones. In the fourth book, A Feast for Crows, several chapters are spent on the Iron Islands, as members of the Greyjoy family attempt to fill the power vacuum left by the death of their leader, Balon. It's an event called the Kingsmoot, and it results in the debut of a new power player: Euron "Crow's-Eye" Greyjoy, seen in the trailer twice, shrouded in darkness in one scene, submerged in water in another.

10. The march of dragons

Jon Snow's song of ice is the one on most people's minds, but it's worth humming about the fire of Daenerys Targaryen, too. The Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea returned to her roots at the end of season five, if not entirely of her own volition. In the trailer, Dany marches side-by-side with countless destitute individuals, just on the outskirts of Vaes Dothrak, the sole city of the Dothraki people. Can she compel them to fight by her side, either to win back Meereen, or perhaps even Westeros? Lightning rarely strikes the same spot twice … which is why it's a good thing Dany deals in dragon fire.

Rewatch the trailer, below.

Game of Thrones returns on April 24.

comments powered by Disqus