(No, not the direwolf … though technically him, too.)
As a means of acknowledging the summer solstice, Game of Thrones has brought the fire and dressed it up as a snowstorm. The new winter-oriented trailer for season seven, which premieres on July 16, makes good on Ned Stark’s (Sean Bean) promise: winter is finally coming to Westeros once the new season premieres, and the snowfall-out looks to be every bit as harsh as the Northerners predicted. Luckily, winter gives House Stark something of a home field advantage — but the fires of war remain alive and well in the episodes ahead, if the trailer’s any indication.
Here’s a closer look at a few of the new Game of Thrones trailer’s most impactful moments:
1. The Queen in the North
Hot take alert: Jon Snow (Kit Harington) deserves an extraordinary amount of credit for winning the Battle of the Bastards, but make no mistake: Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) saved the day, and she didn’t even get a lousy T-shirt to show for it.
Instead, Jon was the Stark sibling crowned King in the North, a momentous occasion that invigorated everybody standing around the Winterfell chamber — everybody, that is, except for Sansa and Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen). Nevertheless, the eldest surviving daughter of Eddard and Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) stands strong as the book-ending character in the new season seven trailer. We see her walking away from Winterfell’s weirwood grove, harkening back to one of her final scenes in season six, as Littlefinger narrates some free advice: “Don’t fight in the North or the South. Fight every battle everywhere, always — in your mind.”
Not that Sansa needs Littlefinger’s counsel — certainly not anymore, if she ever did at all. Across six seasons and counting, Sansa has weathered enough darkness, endured enough cruelty, and played the game of thrones so many times that she could dance circles around most of the characters still on the board. The trailer’s emphasis on Sansa suggests her political prowess will only increase in the season ahead, made all the more clear when she echoes her father’s famous words: “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”
2. Return of the Raven
Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) lost his mentor and many of his companions (it’s still too soon to hold any doors) during season six’s awful attack on the Three-Eyed Raven’s (Max von Sydow) tree cave. But he hasn’t lost sight of his purpose, nor has he lost the sight, period.
The new season seven trailer sees Bran as committed to the mission as the new Three-Eyed Raven as ever before, with Meera (Ellie Kendrick) seen lugging Bran all the way to the great gate that separates Westeros from the realm Beyond the Wall. All signs pointed to Bran making it back to the Seven Kingdoms before too much longer, and this trailer confirms it — not just with the young Raven approaching the Wall, but also with a later shot that features Bran sitting in a brand-new wheelchair. With the Starks back in control over Winterfell, it’s only fair that Bran receive an upgrade or two of his own.
If Bran is back in Westeros, how much longer until he tells Jon about his vision from the Tower of Joy? That’s certainly among the most pressing questions on the board, but equally awesome is this: Bran’s eyes turning white, juxtaposed with a veritable fleet of white-eyed ravens. Once upon a time, the original Raven promised Bran: “You will never walk again, but you will fly.” Looks like that promise will be fulfilled at some point in season seven.
3. Everything is on Fire…
…which is to be expected, given the fact that Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is finally back in Westeros, and given that her chief rival Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) has a healthy stash of wildfire in her own back pocket.
The trailer shows off Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal in all of their growing and growling glory, flying ferociously over Westeros, gnashing their teeth at their enemies. And while we don’t see too much of them in actual action, we certainly see more than our share of their handiwork. At one point, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) charges through a field that’s positively covered in flames, marked by burning embers every which way. If you’re one of the five people still on Team Lannister (and if so, shame shame shame on you), then Jaime in a field of dragon fire can’t be a great sign of things to come.
What’s more, the trailer features a scene in which the Ironborn fleet sails directly outside of King’s Landing. The war has once again returned to Cersei and Jaime’s doorstep. Wildfire saved them twice before; will it save them again?
4. Hardhome, Part Deux
Meanwhile, no matter whose side you’re on in the flame wars, everyone can agree that the sight of Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) brandishing his blazing sword of fire in the middle of a White Walker war is very welcome indeed.
There’s just one problem: Beric and his allies are probably in the middle of another Hardhome situation, and we all know how that worked out for the living. At multiple points throughout the trailer, we see Jon Snow, Beric, Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) and others are battling it out with the White Walker forces, somewhere north of the Wall — unless this is an early look at just how much winter is having an impact on the wider world of Westeros, in which case, it’s a cold day in hell indeed.
In any case, the upside of season seven’s episode order is the promise of more budget poured into every individual installment — meaning that the wintery war we’re seeing Jon and his allies wage in this trailer might just be the tip of the proverbial iceberg headed our way this season. With that said, it’s likely to come at the expense of a fan-favorite or two. Our early prediction: Beric is only weeks away from living out his final life.
Watch the trailer again:
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