The Game of Thrones Season 8 trailer dropped this past March, giving fans plenty to look forward to in the upcoming finale.
We are just under six weeks away from the Game of Thrones season premiere, and HBO just ratcheted the excitement up by a factor of ten. After months of sparse teasers containing little new footage from the show itself, the cable channel released a two-minute-long trailer. The clip ruled the news cycle as fans picked it apart for hints and spoilers.
There were plenty to be found. From long-awaited reunions to exciting first meetings, Season 8 looks like a cathartic time for viewers. The trailer packed in big plot teasers with heart-stopping action and breathtaking vistas, all in just a couple of minutes.
Many fans wondered why HBO even feels the need to market Game of Thrones. Some argued that the show has as big of an audience as it is going to get, and a spoiler-filled trailer is unlikely to convert new fans. They also lamented the revelations buried in the trailer, feeling that they would rather have experienced the show in real time.
Of course, others were willing to take any peek they could get at the show, especially after waiting two years since the last season. Game of Thrones is a global sensation, and if the trailer is any indication, the final season will be its biggest yet.
Here are eight of the biggest moments from the Game of Thrones Season 8 trailer.
Warning! Spoilers for Game of Thrones lie ahead!
The trailer opens on Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), covered in sweat and blood. The young assassin is in a shadowy torchlit corridor, looking more frantic than she did in all of Season 7. Many fans wondered with awe what could have injured Arya, especially since she has now proven she can hold her own against a warrior like Brienne of Tarth.
Undercutting this harrowing footage is Arya's voiceover, narrating the scene in a much calmer tone.
"I know death," she says. "He's got many faces. I look forward to seeing this one."
On this last line, the trailer cuts to another scene with a clean, uninjured Arya. She holds up an obsidian dagger, one of the few weapons mankind has against the White Walkers.
Of course, one of the biggest revelations from the trailer was the brief glimpse it gave of Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) and Lord Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer). The two characters were in Season 7's epic final scene, when the Night King rode an undead dragon up to The Wall and knocked a huge portion of it down. Standing on top of the icy structure, Tormund and Dondarrion jumped out of the way, though it was not clear if they survived.
The trailer seems to show that they did. It shows them walking down a castle hallway with Dolorous Edd (Ben Crompton), using Dondarrion's flaming sword for light.
Fans have noted that the scene could be from a flashback, and even if it is not, Tormund and Dondarrion are not necessarily safe. Still, seeing them in the trailer was a huge relief to many fans.
Another short moment from the trailer that has drawn a lot of attention is a glimpse of paws hitting the ground. Fans have theorized that the furry feet might belong to wolves or even Direwolves, the mythical allies of the Stark family.
The makers of Game of Thrones have already promised that Jon Snow's pet wolf, Ghost, will return in Season 8, but fans are hoping this clip means something more. Last season, Arya reunited with her lost Direwolf, Nimeria, who now led a pack of wild wolves. It is possible that this pack returns to Winterfell in Season 8 to help in the battle against the White Walkers.
This theory carries even more weight when considering the books, A Song of Ice and Fire. While its story is very divergent from the show, the source material features many scenes showing that Arya has maintained her connection to Nimeria over the years. In her dreams, the young assassin inhabits Nimeria's body from across the sea, wreaking havoc on the warring countryside as a wolf.
In a trailer full of armies bearing swords, dragons breathing fire and ships sailing to war, it is really saying something that the scariest sight is one woman's smile. However, as fans know by now, seeing Cersei Lannister (Lena Heady) smiling at two different points in this new trailer cannot possibly be a good sign.
Cersei was left almost completely friendless at the end of Season 7 when her twin brother/lover, Jaime Lannister, rode north with the other armies. The increasingly unstable queen is still hoping to leverage the war against the White Walkers for her own gain, and judging by those subtle smiles, it is going well.
The trailer also features a few characters getting their first glimpse of Vicerys and Drogon, Danaerys Tagaryen (Emilia Clarke)'s remaining dragons. While fans have been watching the CGI beasts for years now, there is still something magical about watching Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Arya get their first looks at them.
The trailer also features some amazing shots of the dragons flying over the snowy north. The fantasy creatures are expensive to render, yet it looks like they will get plenty of screen time in the highly cinematic final season. They even feature in one instantly iconic shot of Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Danaerys strolling between them.
Fans were thrilled last year when Greyworm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) finally professed their love for one another, and consumated it in no uncertain terms. The two freed slaves are some of the highest-ranking people in Daenerys' army, and they were separated just after admitting how they feel for each other.
The trailer shows their triumphant reunion, where they share a passionate kiss. Fans of the couple swooned over the sweet moment, even as everyone else in the trailer battles for their lives.
As noted above, Jaime Lannister effectively renounced his sister at the end of the last season, riding north alone to help in the war against the White Walkers. However, just because he himself has changed his allegiance does not mean that his new allies will believe him yet. The trailer shows a haggard, bearded Jaime swearing his new loyalty in the fight against the Army of the Dead.
"I promised to fight for the living," he says. "I intend to keep that promise."
Finally, the trailer shows a moment of what appears to be the final battle of Game of Thrones. It ends with the armies of men gathered on a dark, icy battlefield, facing an unseen enemy. The camera pans across the faces of Brienne of Tarth, Podric Payne (Daniel Portman) and Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) at the head of the army.
Finally, the last shot shows the army from the opposing side. At ground level, two skeletal horse hooves step into frame before the screen goes dark.
Expectations are high for Game of Thrones' final battle, which promises to be as grand as any war scene from Lord of the Rings. Last week, some cast members told Entertainment Weekly that the sequence was "miserable" to create. They filmed the highly physical segments at night over the course of eleven weeks, with a total of 55 nights of filming.0comments
"Nothing can prepare you for how physically draining it is," said Williams, who reportedly trained for a full year for the scene. "It's night after night, and again and again, and it just doesn't stop. You can't get sick, and you have to look out for yourself because there's so much to do that nobody else can do... there are moments you're just broken as a human and just want to cry."
Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres on Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.