Winter is here and with it, the Battle of Winterfell, which fans got their first glimpse of in the Game of Thrones Season 8 trailer.
Dropping Tuesday and surprising unsuspecting viewers, the first official trailer for the popular HBO series as it enters its six-episode eighth and final season, offered a look at the “longest consecutive battle sequence ever committed to film,” the Battle of Winterfell, which will see the defense of the Stark family home against the forces of the Night King.
The nearly 2-minute-long trailer begins with forces arriving in the North, including Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen riding into Winterfell along with the Unsullied army and her two remaining dragons, Drogon and Rhaegal, who will face off against the undead Viserion. The trailer also features a montage of other characters, such as Gendry, Grey Worm, Missandei, and Ser Jorah Mormont, previously banned from the North, preparing for battle.
As the trailer nears its end, a silence falls, echoing the calm before the storm. As Winterfell’s defenses, including Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne as well as the Unsullied, stare out at the expanse of land before them, the hooves of the Night King’s horse come into view, launching the start of the battle.
Throughout the trailer, brief glimpses from the battle are shown, including dozens of horses running towards their enemy and characters in violent clashes. The trailer also offers a glimpse of Arya in the midst of her first major battle in the series, which she began training for a year in advance.
The North’s army also appears to be receiving help from Jaime Lannister, who states in the trailer that he “promised to fight for the living. I intend to keep that promise.” As fans will recall, he abandoned Cersei at the end of Season 7 and began heading north, determined to prevent the White Walkers from reaching Westeros, and a scene of him fighting amid a fiery background seems to prove that he made it.
Directed by Miguel Sapochnik, the battle was no easy feat, taking 11 weeks of night shoots in order to complete and requiring the actors to undergo vigorous training. The nearly three-month-long shoot will reportedly play out in Episode 3, and given that it will not only be the largest battle on the HBO series, but also in cinema, it’s likely that a handful of fan-favorite characters won’t make it out alive.
Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres on HBO on Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ET.