Game of Thrones will return for its six-episode, eighth and final season on April 14, HBO announced in a new teaser released on Sunday. That means you’ll have to block off your Sundays through May 19 or beyond (depending on possible holiday breaks).
The teaser didn’t necessarily offer any new information. In it, Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), and Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) walk through the Stark family crypt, as the dearly departed whisper their lamentations: an echo of Lyanna Stark-Targaryen (Aisling Franciosi) telling her brother Ned, “You have to protect him”; Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) recalling, “All this horror that’s come to my family, it’s all because I couldn’t love a motherless child”; and, finally, Ned Stark (Sean Bean), reassuring Jon, “You are a Stark. You may not have my name, but you have my blood.” Technically true.
As they approach the end of the crypt, Jon, carries a torch and illuminates stone effigies of the trio.
It’s official: Jon is the light-bringer! You’ll recall the Red Priests and Priestesses of R’hllor telling the prophecy of the Lightbringer, “a sword made of living fire” and the sword of legendary hero Azor Ahai, who will be reborn in the warrior who “shall draw from the fire a burning sword.” Jon has done that. Somewhere Melisandre (Carice van Houten) is pumping fists.
As they puzzle over their statues, the cold creeps up on them, freezing over a feather that dropped to the ground and blowing out the torch. Jon and Arya draw their weapons and step up in front of Sansa, the diplomat of the family whose weapons aren’t quite so blatant.
Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) was notably absent, and we can’t help but wonder if the frozen feather is supposed to represent him as the Three-Eyed Raven. The Stark coalition needs him, so they better keep him safe.
In another recent tease, released January 6 by HBO as part of a 2019 preview, showed Jon introducing Queen Danaerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) to Sansa at Winterfell.
The tease shows Sansa approaching Daenerys: “Winterfell is yours, Your Grace.” This moment tells us:
The new footage backs up an EW report that the season will open at Winterfell with Daenerys and her followers meeting up and mingling uneasily with Jon Snow’s northern coalition. It will surprise absolutely no one to learn that Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) “isn’t thrilled that Jon bent the knee to his fancy new Targaryen girlfriend, at least not at first.”
We’ve already had a glimpse at the anticipated meeting between Sansa and Daenerys, but there’s so much more to savor about the Mother of Dragons arriving at Winterfell.
One moment we can’t wait to see is Jon reuniting with Arya, but we’re also very much looking forward to Jorah Mormont meeting little Lady Lyanna Mormont — please, please, please let that be a thing.
Bran has wanted to have a chat with Jon forever. We can expect that conversation. Someone’s got to break it to Jon that he just had sex with his aunt. On the bright side, he’s heir to the Iron Throne.
There may or may not be fallout from Petyr Baelish’s death: Will Sansa have to smooth things over with the Lord of the Vale, her cousin Robin Arryn? The kid has potential to do epic damage to the Northern coalition.
Sam also has yet to learn about his father’s and brother’s deaths. That revelation is surely on the horizon. How will that affect his relationship with Daenerys, and could it be the one thing that drives a wedge between Jon and Sam?
And as bleak as it is to think about, there’s going to be that amazing first-contact scene between the Army of the Dead and the men of the North. Sure, they’ve already mowed over the wall and the Night’s Watch with their wight-dragon Viserion, but watching them hit the Umbers’ Last Hearth or the Karstarks’ Karhold will be a spectacle. Hopefully, we’ll get a taste of that before Winterfell.
The very first teaser trailer, released back in December, showed ice and fire meeting somewhere in what looked like the Riverlands — as if Riverrun could take much more.
Speaking of the Riverlands, for those of us who’ve been reading the latest from George R.R. Martin, Fire & Blood, his descriptions of the Dance of Dragons should make us both eager for and fearful of a meeting between wight-dragon Viserion and his brothers, Drogon and Rhaegal. It’s sure to be vicious. With that, the question of who will ride Rhaegal arises. Surely, it will be the son of the warrior-prince the dragon is named after.
All that, plus we have six episodes in which to conclude Cleganebowl.
EW’s story also describes preparation and reactions to filming the final season battle between the human allies against the Night King’s Army of the Dead, which took 55 nights to film the external scenes alone. The production expanded the Winterfell set to accommodate the battle, which actor Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister, described as “brutal … It makes the Battle of the Bastards look like a theme park,” referring to season 6’s epic battle between Jon and Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon).
The battle will cut between the various characters during the fight.
“We’ve been building toward this since the very beginning, it’s the living against the dead, and you can’t do that in a 12-minute sequence,” series co-creator David Benioff told the magazine.
Benioff and co-creator D.B. Weiss, David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik are directors for the new season. Benioff and Weiss, Bryan Cogman, and Dave Hill are writers for the new season.
Following reports that Jason Momoa, who appeared as Khal Drogo in the series, and other actors who played deceased characters from the series were spotted in Ireland, news came out that a reunion was happening that would make up a special feature in the eight-season full-series box set. The special was reportedly hosted by Conan O’Brien, who had previously gathered GoT heavyweights, like this time in 2016.
We’ve waited over a year for the new season, and the anticipation has been excruciating. It’s also given us some time to take stock of who’s still breathing — or, at least, moving around — and where we left them:
Daenerys Targaryen — just had sex with her nephew on a boat to White Harbor headed toward Winterfell
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) — on that same boat, pining for his Dragon Queen
Jorah Mormont — same as Tyrion most likely
Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) — presumed alive, but imprisoned by her uncle Euron Greyjoy
Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) — headed out to sea to save his sister Yara
Varys (Conleth Hill) — presumably on the boat to White Harbor headed toward Winterfell
Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) — presumably on the boat to White Harbor headed toward Winterfell
Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) — presumably on the boat to White Harbor headed toward Winterfell
Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) — presumed alive, but imprisoned by Cersei at King’s Landing, watching her daughter die from a dose of the poison tears of Lys
Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) — last seen reluctantly agreeing to stay behind to keep the peace in Mereen
Jon Snow — having sex with his aunt Daenerys on a boat to White Harbor headed to Winterfell
Sansa Stark — at Winterfell chatting with Arya on the castle’s ramparts
Arya Stark — at Winterfell chatting with Sansa on the castle’s ramparts, having just executed Lord Petyr Baelish
Bran Stark — at Winterfell with Samwell Tarly, figuring out that Jon Snow is the true heir to the Iron Throne
Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) — at Winterfell combining his knowledge with Bran’s visions to uncover the realm’s most well-kept secret
Gilly (Hannah Murray) with baby Sam — last seen riding into Winterfell with Sam
Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) — presumably on the boat to White Harbor
Melisandre — the Red Priestess of R’hllor was last seen telling Varys that she was headed to Volantis, but that she would return to “die in this strange country” just like him
Brienne — last seen at the armistice talks, she’s presumably headed back to Winterfell
Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman) — wherever Brienne is
Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) — last seen at the top of the Wall as a portion of it exploded in front of him, we’ll presume he is alive, because we’re optimistic that way (he still needs to finish wooing Brienne)
Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) — with Tormund and also presumed alive
Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann) — last seen at the armistice talks, he’s presumably on the boat to White Harbor with Jon and Daenerys
Eddison “Dolorous Edd” Tollett (Ben Crompton) along with the Night’s Watch — last seen at the Wall, presumed alive; Castle Black Night’s Watch should be in fighting form, but the Eastwatch brothers will be dead, dying, and reanimating
Gendry (Joe Dempsie) — last seen collapsing at the Wall at Castle Black and asking Edd Tollett to send ravens for Daenerys to save Jon and the remnants of his Magnificent Seven
Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) — last seen saying goodbye to Bran at Winterfell, saying that she’s going to see her father, Howland Reed (maybe we’ll finally get to meet the elder Reed in season 8)
Maester Wolkan (Richard Rycroft) — Winterfell
Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) — Winterfell
Yohn Royce (Rupert Vansittart) and the Knights of the Vale — Winterfell
Robin Arryn (Lino Facioli) — last seen in the Vale as a ward in the home of House Royce
Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey) — last seen working at the Inn at the Crossroads in the Riverlands, giving Arya news that her half-brother is King in the North
Cersei Lannister Baratheon (Lena Headey) — in King’s Landing, planning to do nothing as the North is invaded
Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) — last seen at the armistice talks, claiming that he would be sitting out the war with the dead from his throne in the Iron Islands (because the dead can’t swim), but Cersei later reveals that he’s headed to Braavos to pick up a company of sellswords and ferry them to Westeros to defend King’s Landing and fight for the queen
Qyburn (Anton Lesser) — at Cersei’s side
Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) — at Cersei’s heels
Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) — committing treason, heading north on the Kingsroad
Bronn (Jerome Flynn) — last seen leaving the armistice talks to take Podrick for a drink
Archmaester Ebrose (Jim Broadbent) and the rest of the Citadel — keeping their heads in their books — for now, at least; though it would be great to see Broadbent and those crusty ol’ maesters swoop in to save the day, or a day at least
Tycho Nestoris (Mark Gatiss) and the Iron Bank of Braavos — last seen offering to loan Cersei more money, the Iron Bank representative will swing in whatever direction promises to enrich them
Melessa Tarly (Samantha Spiro) — last seen at Horn Hill, her husband and son have since been burned by Daenery’s dragon; her allegiance is uncertain, given her warm relationship with Sam
Talla Tarly (Rebecca Benson) — last seen at Horn Hill, her father and brother have since been burned by Daenery’s dragon; her allegiance is uncertain, given her warm relationship with Sam
Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies) — last seen securing Riverrun for Jaime Lannister, he was presumed to have been returned to the dungeons at The Twins, but since all of the men of House Frey were killed by Arya, he may have been released by the Frey women
Roslin Frey Tully (Alexandra Dowling) — last seen at The Twins, Roslin could possibly now be the Lady of The Twins and may have released her husband (however useless Edmure might be)
Syrio Forel (Miltos Yerolemou) — last seen in season 1, Arya’s dancing master was never confirmed dead; his resurrection would certainly delight fans
Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) — last seen in Braavos at the House of Black and White, Jaqen (or whatever his name is) could be anywhere
Hodor (Kristian Nairn) — we didn’t see him die on screen, at least not permanently; sad to say, but he could be marching with the Army of the Dead
Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle) — see “Hodor”
Nymeria — last seen in the area of the Neck, staying as far away as possible from all of them.
— Alt + 128128 (@IanAlt8) November 21, 2018
The Night King (Vladimir Furdik) — collapsing the Wall and flying wight-dragon Viserion over the North
100,000 or so wights and White Walkers — following closely behind their dragon-rider — which begs the question: Could he be a Targaryen? The Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow–edition) showed us a blond man being stabbed with dragonglass, but who was he and where did he come from?
Check back as more details come in on season 8 of Game of Thrones…