All’s fair in love and war, so it’s only fair that the warmongering world of Westeros invades the real world’s most romantic holiday of all.
HBO has taken Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to release a brand new teaser for Game of Thrones season six, premiering this spring. (The teaser that leaked early Sunday has now been replaced by the official HBO video.)
The show, featuring an all-star ensemble of actors including Emmy-winning Peter Dinklage and Emmy-nominated Lena Headey, embraces the great unknown of winter in the upcoming season — not just literally, as bitter snow descends on the Seven Kingdoms, but metaphorically, as the show pushes forward into uncharted territory.
For the first time since its debut in 2011, the story of Game of Thrones will surpass the events of the A Song of Ice and Fire books they’re based on. George R.R. Martin confirmed at the beginning of January that he would not be able to complete his sixth book, The Winds of Winter, before the season six premiere of Thrones — meaning the fates of characters like Daenerys, Tyrion and, most urgently, Jon Snow will be revealed on the show before they’re revealed in Martin’s novel series.
But those hoping that the new teaser would bring any clarity on season five’s cliffhangers, reset your expectations. The emphasis is very much on “tease,” as it focuses entirely on the House of Black and White, the Braavos-based headquarters for Arya Stark and the Faceless Men.
In the teaser, several dead faces adorn the halls inside the House of Black and White, contrasted with some of their most memorable quotes: Sean Bean’s Ned Stark (“The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword”), Richard Madden’s Robb (“I’ve won every battle, but I’m losing this war”), Michelle Fairley’s Catelyn (“Show them how it feels to lose what they love”), and King Joffrey (“Everyone is mine to torment”).
Fans holding out hope for Jon Snow’s safety will be dismayed to see his face included in the lineup of the dead. “The long night is coming,” Kit Harington’s voice warns, “and the dead come with it.”
But the final image of the teaser should provide some comfort: Jon Snow’s not alone. Perhaps “comfort” is the wrong word, considering the faces of several still-alive main characters, including Tyrion and Daenerys, line the walls alongside the late Starks. Do we take this as a sign that death is not everlasting, and someone like Jon can return from the grave — or is it a sign that even more fan-favorite characters will join him in the great beyond by the end of season six?
Those questions will be answered in the new season of Thrones, premiering on HBO on April 24. Watch the teaser, below.