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You wouldn’t think there’s much to glean from the first official look at the final season of Game of Thrones, what with all of two seconds teased in an HBO promo aired during the finale of Sharp Objects. And, of course, you would be right — if not for some context from the most recent events in Westeros.
When last we left Game of Thrones, two very crucial developments occurred. For one, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) consummated their feelings for one another during a boat ride from King’s Landing to Winterfell, all while Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) finally learned the truth about Jon’s secret Targaryen heritage. Meanwhile, north of Winterfell, the Night King and his undead army (ice dragon included) finally broke down the Wall and stormed into the Seven Kingdoms, their war against the living officially at its deadliest point yet.
Consider those two storylines with what we see in the incredibly brief first look at the final season of Thrones: Jon Snow and his sister Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) hugging each other in the middle of Winterfell, their first scene together since parting ways early in season seven. Many onlookers have rightfully noticed the loaded look on Sansa’s face; who is she eyeing past Jon Snow’s shoulder? Is she laying eyes on Daenerys for the first time, not quite sure what to make of the Dragon Queen? Perhaps it’s her first look since season four at Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), her estranged husband? Even further back in her history, Sansa may have just reunited with the Hound (Rory McCann), a man she hasn’t seen since the Battle of the Blackwater. Tons of options, really.
But it seems like a bigger deal that Jon Snow and Sansa are reuniting in Winterfell at all, considering the fact that the White Walkers are officially in Westeros at this moment in the story. Given their place on the map at the moment, with a dragon in tow, one expects the Night King’s army will be upon House Stark’s ancestral home at any moment. Indeed, it’s easy to imagine the scenario where they land upon Winterfell before Jon and his allies are able to make it home in time for the battle. Considering that unpleasant scenario, the news could be very grim for the likes of Sansa, Bran, Samwell, Gilly (Hannah Murray) and even Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), all last seen in Winterfell.
The teaser paints another picture, however. Jon and Sansa are embracing in the middle of Winterfell, the castle looking no worse for wear. It’s daylight, too, while the White Walkers stormed the Wall at night. A few possibilities emerge: Sansa and the others at Winterfell were able to fend off the Night King (which does not seem particularly likely), or Jon and his companions have made it back before the White Walkers’ inevitable march on Winterfell — a much likelier scenario, and one that puts Jon, Daenerys and their other most trusted allies on a direct path to follow in the footsteps of episodes like “Hardhome” and “Beyond the Wall,” quite likely as soon as the final season premiere.
Watch the footage in the video above.
How will this winter war play out? We’ll find out when the final Game of Thrones season comes at some point in the first half of 2019.
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