HBO’s Game of Thrones has could never be accused of having much in the way of a sunny disposition. After all, this the series that tagged one of its seasons with the phrase “All Men Must Die,” and has, over the course of now five seasons, developed a considerable reputation for putting even its most well-liked and heroic-minded characters through the ringer, if not simply killing them outright. With its brutality and pitilessness toward its characters and the audience’s affections towards them, it’s no surprise that much of what has been seen so far with regard to season 6 has been effectively cold, dark, and violent.
Not long ago a full red-band trailer for the season was delivered and it made good on all the promises that come from the term “red-band.” The somber tones that usually accompany any trailer for the series seemed augmented by the inclusion of a doleful cover of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ that was fitting well beyond the use of the word “game” in both titles. But once the doors of intrigue have been opened, it’s best for the network to keep them open, even if that means releasing a new promo so shortly after the first trailer broke HBO viewing records, as fans clamored to parse the details sans context for clues as to what is likely to happen, who’s on the chopping block, and perhaps, who may still be alive.
The promo doesn’t offer a lot of new footage, but it does demonstrate the visual mastery of the show, and how it is able conjure up such strong emotions with just a second’s glimpse of something like the Night’s King being silhouetted by flames or Ramsay Bolton (née Snow) leading an army on horseback. Much of this comes from the way the series balances out everything fans know (and have lived through, along with the characters lucky enough to still be alive – if that is considered lucky) and what they are so eager to find out.
Obviously, season 6 is going to be unlike any previous season, but that’s not entirely due to the fact that the adaptation has passed its source material. While such an unusual circumstance will certainly color the narrative as it unfolds, there is another facet of the season that may prove just as interesting for those watching: The once detached story threads have begun to move closer and weave the characters into an increasingly intimate set of circumstances where individuals once kept far apart are now interacting with one another for the first time. Last season saw Tyrion in the company of Daenerys, and now in season 6 it looks as though there will be at least one encounter possibly leading the story in an interesting direction. That is of course in reference to (a now oddly grown) Bran Stark having a dreamlike encounter with a rather touchy-feely Night’s King.
Like the trailer that preceded it, this promo has some choice words from one of the characters to make everyone despair/anticipate the approaching carnage and conflict that is a given at this point. Last time, it was Cersei doing a spot-on job of setting the tone by calling cousin Lancel’s bluff and proclaiming, “I choose violence.” This time around, the honor goes to Lancel’s boss, High Sparrow, saying, “We are sinful creatures. We deserve death. We all do.”
And with that, along with the flayed men set to flame, the giants busting through doors, men with two swords showing off their sword-spinning skills, and what looks to be some gigantic battle sequences, it looks as though another thrillingly gloomy season of Game of Thrones is nearly upon us.
Game of Thrones season 6 premieres Sunday, April 24 @9pm on HBO.