And you thought the first trailer was something special.
With only two weeks to go until the premiere of Game of Thrones’s sixth season – this is the first season to start adapting material from the as-yet-unpublished final two books in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series – HBO is really starting to open the floodgates, releasing official descriptions of the premiere and teasing clips on the late-night talk show circuit.
But this new trailer, of course, is the biggest reveal yet, giving us even more hints than we’ve ever gotten before. That means this collection of 10 New Clues from the Second Game of Thrones Trailer is the most exhilarating yet.
(Don’t worry – we promise there are no spoilers from what few unused sections of the novels are still floating around out there, waiting to be committed to the small screen. There will be, however, plenty of informed speculation, so be prepared for that.)
10 The battle at the Wall
As has been consistently teased for the past month now, it looks as if the fallout at the Wall, after Lord Commander Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) sworn brothers assassinate him (or is that attempt to assassinate him?), will play a major part in the overarching narrative, at least at the beginning of the season.
And what fallout it is. Lord Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), the late King Stannis Baratheon’s (Stephen Dillane) Hand, rallies some crows that look to still be loyal to their former lord commander – or, perhaps, they’re more against traitorous Night’s Watch members as opposed to being strictly loyal to Jon – and stand guard over his body at the very least. At the very most, they could lead a retaliatory strike against the conspirators (remember, back in the fourth season, Lord Snow himself led an expedition to Craster’s Keep in order to execute the mutineering brothers, who happened to have murdered the previous lord commander). Either way, it seems as if some more bodies will be hitting the floor, especially considering that Ghost, Jon’s direwolf (who hasn’t been seen since episode 507!), is present and looking mighty hungry. He'll be on the hunt for some vengeance of his own.
9 Daenerys’s fate – and rescue
The first trailer provided some clues as to the fate of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), the former self-appointed ruler of Meereen and the last surviving member of Westeros’s greatest dynasty, following her confrontation with the Dothraki at the end of season five. She was seemingly taken captive by the horse lords and marched off to Vaes Dothrak, their capital city, in order to be rendered into slavery.
This new sneak peek not only confirms that conclusion (it even shows poor Dany getting her clothes ripped off her by some angry-looking Dothraki women), it ups the ante by hinting at just how she’s going to get herself out of the predicament: Drogon, her biggest and strongest dragon, comes swooping in over the plains, casting a menacing shadow over the herd of people below. If Dany can use the occasion to break the strong paternal hierarchy of the Dothraki culture, just as she did with her own meager khalasar all the way back in the beginning of season two, she can get the giant fighting force that her marriage to Khal Drogo was supposed to acquire for her late brother.
This could not only mean the end of her insurgency problems in Meereen (more on these in just a moment), it could also complement her Unsullied forces to create a large enough army to finally invade Westeros and take back what is hers by right.
8 More flashbacks
We made much ado about the collection of shots supposedly from the Tower of Joy sequence – one of the most legendary scenes in the entire 5,000-page book series – from the previous trailer, and now it seems that the showrunners are giving us another, equally-famous flashback in this one: Ser Jaime Lannister’s (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) assassination of Mad King Aerys, a figure whose shadow looms large in the television series but whose face has never been seen (not surprising, given the show’s hitherto aversion to flashbacks).
The fact executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss are suddenly changing their minds about a five-year-old practice is one of the single greatest clues that any season-six marketing material has yet conveyed: not only does it provide a new wrinkle on Game of Thrones’s storytelling formula, it also is indicative of where this final stretch of the show’s narrative will be taking us. By heading back to the past, audiences should be getting some long-awaited answers (such as the parentage of Jon Snow) and also, perhaps, a new context to see our well-established characters in (Jaime’s stabbing Aerys Targaryen in the back in order to save the city of King’s Landing from a wildfire explosion could simultaneously make him seem more heroic and more despicable, interestingly enough).
Most exciting, however, is this simple question: how many more flashbacks can viewers expect to find in the next batch of ten episodes?
7 “Time traveling”
Actually, there is a corollary question to the matter of flashback material, and it’s one that has us positively giddy at the possibilities, both visual and dramatic (minor book spoilers ahead).
In the books, once Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) arrives at the domain of the Three-Eyed Crow (Max von Sydow) and begins learning the secrets of the weirwood tree that the impossibly old man is connected to, he realizes that he has access to all the weirwoods all across the continent, which allows him to both see and hear events across great geographical distances instantaneously. But the really big twist here is that Bran can hop into any of these trees at any point through time, providing one of the biggest magical twists in the story yet.
Given the Three-Eyed Crow’s presence at what looks to be the Tower of Joy sequence from the previous trailer, we can only assume that this is precisely what’s going on – the Crow is teaching young Bran how to, essentially, time travel. If so, this would explain how the showrunners would be able to insert a flashback sequence into the series when they’ve never done so before…and it could lead to some revelations of a very personal nature for both Bran and his family.
And here’s one last, terribly exciting possibility: in addition to writing the main Song of Ice and Fire books, George R.R. Martin is also in the midst of penning a series of prequel novellas that take place roughly a hundred years before A Game of Thrones – and which HBO has already expressed an interest in adapting next. Could Bran’s new time-hopping power provide an entry point into The Tales of Dunk and Egg?
6 The battle in the north
Another sequence from the previous teaser that gets even more details thrown into the mix this time ‘round is the so-called Battle of the North, in which massive amounts of troops are seen massing for a final, cataclysmic showdown. It was already believed that this scene would be the flagship event of the season, but now it’s looking to be even more massive – and integral to the show’s ongoing mythology – than ever before.
Here’s what new information we’ve managed to pick out: the wildlings (led by Kristofer Hivju's Tormund Giantsbane), which were already spotted in some battle shots previously, look to conclusively be in the battle. When combined with the various sigils that seem to be fluttering on the various solders’ flags – sigils of houses that are still all loyal to the Starks, such as the Mormonts and the Umbers – we feel pretty safe in saying this is a battle to take back Winterfell from the Boltons, and that at least a few elements from the Night’s Watch will be tagging along. Internal stability of the north, after all, is necessary in order for a united front to be presented against the ever-more-advancing White Walkers. Or, at least, that’s the justification that’ll be used for their participation.
Speaking of which, there’s something else we’re pretty confident in surmising…
5 Sansa, the queen of the north?
Davos Seaworth will play a major role in building this giant northern coalition to retake Winterfell, thereby paying homage to his dead liege, as King Stannis died in the attempt to wrest control of House Stark’s ancestral seat from the Bolton usurpers (and Lannister cronies). The fact that Davos is seen standing in some hall with the bear sigil of House Mormont (that’s the house that the previous Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jeor Mormont [James Cosmo], originally hailed from) proudly displayed in the background is our tip-off on this front.
It also would seem that Lord Seaworth is tag-teaming with Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) in this effort: wearing fresh attire that proudly boasts of her Stark heritage (the wolf-fur cloak is part of the giveaway, but not nearly as much as the direwolf sigil that is emblazoned across her chest) and declaring how she can’t stop thinking about what’s been taken from her, it absolutely seems that she’s on a quest for vengeance – and a return to her seat of power at Winterfell without the Bolton husband that she was manipulated into marrying.
(And just to remind audiences of who, exactly, helped to do all the taking from her, a shot of a jubilant Lord Walder Frey [David Bradley] is included. Given that his character hasn’t been seen since the third season finale, he wouldn’t be included in the sneak preview for nothing.)
4 The return of Riverrun
In a series as convoluted as Game of Thrones – it already holds the record for possessing the biggest cast of characters, and nearly every single one of these individuals is involved in some major through line or another – there are bound to be instances when a particular character or plot point falls by the wayside, waiting to be picked up again at some distant point down the road. (At least the series actively works to limit the frequency of this happening, which occurs with far greater regularity in the source material.) One of these is the castle of Riverrun and the family that inhabits it, the Tullys, which were both last seen in the third season, after the disastrous and highly traumatizing Red Wedding (“The Rains of Castamere,” episode 309).
This looks to change in season six, as the second trailer includes a blink-and-you-miss-it shot of Brienne, the Maid of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and her newfound squire, Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman), standing against a background that is emblazoned with House Tully’s sigil (along with its foot soldiers, to boot). Given that Brynden Tully (called the Blackfish, and played by Clive Russell) has been missing since the Freys and the Boltons turned against their lords – the Tullys and the Starks, respectively – at the Red Wedding, and given that Riverrun is one of the last remaining holdouts against accepting the legitimacy of the Lannisters and their king, Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), it very well could be that Brienne has shifted her allegiance from serving the late Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) to the last surviving members of her family.
Or it could be something else entirely, actually.
3 The rise of Jaime Lannister
After having his sword hand severed in the third season, turning his back on his family in the fourth season (by helping his brother, Tyrion [Peter Dinklage], escape), and seeing his secret daughter, Myrcella (Aimee Richardson), die in his arms in the fifth, it’s safe to say that Jaime has been through all seven hells. Now, however, it looks like he’s coming back.
There are two specific sequences that suggest this. First and foremost, the lord commander of the Kingsguard can be seen threatening the life of the High Septon (Jonathan Pryce), who, of course, is the chief antagonist in his sister’s, Queen Regent Cersei Baratheon (Lena Headey), upcoming trial – which is shortly followed by Jaime on horseback leading a series of troops right to the Great Sept of Baelor’s grand staircase, facing down the Faith’s own soldiers.
And then, secondly, Jaime is riding through a giant war camp that brandishes the familiar colors of the Lannisters as the voiceover of his sister beseeches him to take his rightful place at the head of their army (don’t forget, Tyrion killed their father in the fourth season finale). Given (1) that the Lannister troops are out in the field, on the move, (2) the close relationship between Jaime and Brienne of Tarth, and (3) the need to make Riverrun succumb to the rule of the king, it could very well be that Brienne is there treating with House Tully not to defend them but to help them come to heel.
Either way, it should most interesting to see the newly-matured Jaime take up one of the most influential positions in all of the Seven Kingdoms.
2 Tyrion frees the dragons
With Queen Daenerys Targaryen’s departure from Meereen to be the plaything of the Dothraki, that leaves her most trusted advisors – namely, the dwarf Tyrion Lannister – to rule the city in her stead. And from the looks of this new trailer, Tyrion isn’t having any easier of a time than Dany was. The Sons of the Harpy, the mask-clad insurgents who have claimed many of the ruling regime’s members, are at it again, leaving a wide swath of bodies in their wake.
Even worse for the Imp, it doesn’t seem that the city’s aristocratic elite aren’t cutting him any more slack. “Do you like games, little man?” one of a group of them asks Tyrion, in a tone of voice that doesn’t suggest he’s about to bust open a cyvasse board. When combined with the previous teaser’s shot of an explosion in Dany’s ruling quarters, things can assume to be quite dangerous for the besieged occupiers…which could very well explain why Tyrion heads off to the dungeons and frees the two remaining dragons, which Dany herself entombed there in the fourth season finale.
One thing, though: don’t expect Tyrion to be vaporized by dragon fire, as the trailer would seem to suggest (even though that did happen to a major character in Meereen that got cut from the television adaptation); no one is ready to believe that Tyrion’s story is anywhere near to being done.
1 The White Walkers have arrived
The very first scene of the very first episode (“Winter Is Coming”) showed audiences just what a danger the supernatural force of the White Walkers is, reviving the dead into zombie-esque wights. Since then, the showrunners have dribbled out the occasional further appearance or clue or injection of menace in order to not only remind audiences that winter truly is coming, but to also start building up to Game of Thrones’s endgame: the invasion of Westeros by the nearly unstoppable ice zombie army and the scrambling of the various Westerosi houses to put their differences aside and work together to protect life as they know it (at least, that’s what we think the endgame will be).
The new season six trailer is our biggest, most dramatic look at the Walkers yet, first seeing their leaders – including the Night’s King, last spotted during the absolutely harrowing Battle of Hardhome (“Hardhome,” 508) – lined up in battle formation atop their horses, and then getting an action shot of them actually walking towards (or is that through?) fire, one of the few elements that can stop them. This has “danger” written all over it – and we couldn’t be more excited at the possibilities of finally seeing them invade our favorite fictitious continent.
Okay, we lied – there is one possibility that actually does get us more excited. Analyzing the background of these money shots, there is ample speculation online that the Night’s King and his icy lieutenants are actually at the cave where the last of the children of the forest, the Three-Eyed Crow, and, of course, Bran Stark are all ensconced. Could this be a desperate move to chop off the head of the humans’ best defense against them?
Watch the trailer again below!
Did we miss your favorite shot? Do you have other hypotheses how all these sequences can fit together in one giant narrative bow? Be sure to share your insights in the comments.