Caution: Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones
A preview for Game of Thrones episode 2 has arrived. After an agonizingly long wait, Game of Thrones returned last night with its eighth season, also confirmed to be the show's final run. As the culmination of the world's most popular television series, anticipation for the season 8 opener was palpable and enhanced even further by the extra-long gap since season 7. While the finale's secrets have been closely guarded throughout filming, fans do know that the biggest battle in Thrones' history will take place at Winterfell this season, as the united forces of the living clash against the undead army of the Night King.
While noticeably calm by Thrones' own dramatic standards, the season 8 premiere was still a relatively eventful affair, as all the major pieces were moved into position and characters reunited with friend and foe alike. The episode did, however, provide one major exclamation point, as Jon Snow finally discovered his true parentage from best friend, Sam Tarly. Elsewhere, the North made its disdain for Daenerys Targaryen clear, Cersei hired Bronn to assassinate her brothers and Euron Greyjoy ticked a major goal off his personal bucket list. Finally, the action concluded with Jaime Lannister riding into Winterfell under the watchful, soulless eye of Bran.
HBO have now released a short preview for next week's installment and it appears that episode 2 will ramp up the intensity considerably. The trailer shows Jaime standing before Jon and Daenerys in Winterfell and receiving a welcome even colder than the weather, but seemingly finding an unlikely ally in Sansa. The voice of Arya provides an ominous voice over, reminding viewers that "death has many faces" and finally, Winterfell's battle preparations are fully underway as the White Walkers near.
This short but tantalizing trailer reveals a few significant points ahead of season 8's second offering. Daenerys' frosty reaction to Jaime certainly comes as no surprise but with Sansa apparently willing to let him join the fight, will the divisions between the various monarchs of Winterfell deepen further? Arya will likely have a deciding say in Jamie's fate. Although the Kingslayer isn't an official entry on Arya's kill list, the trailer's chilling dialogue hints that she may not be able to turn down this golden opportunity to murder him... if the Night King's warriors don't get there first. Away from the political intrigue, the preview does also confirm that Tormund's group will arrive at Winterfell imminently after their brief appearance in the premiere and they bring news that the battle for the Seven Kingdoms will begin in a matter of hours.
Since the season 8 opener was largely bloodless, many Thrones fans will be pleased to see that the preview for episode 2 promises the show's climactic battle will arrive sooner rather than later. From the footage shown, it can perhaps be gleaned that next week's episode will finalize preparations for the fight, setting the board one final time ahead of episode 3, in which hostilities will finally begin.
Game of Thrones season 8 continues April 21st on HBO.