Warning: This story contains possible spoilers for Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire.
By now, Game of Thrones fans have expertly turned the analysis of every second of footage into an art, and oftentimes they’ve nailed it long before we see the season play out on TV. The latest trailer is no different, but the stakes are even higher as we get even closer to seeing scenes and plotlines not yet published in George R.R. Martin’s books play out. How much of that we’ll end up seeing in The Winds of Winter is not yet known, but what we do have are plenty of morsels juicy enough for a direwolf to bite into.
1) Did Game of Thrones spoil its own huge reveal more than a month ahead of time?
Jon Snow’s inevitable return to Westeros after his “death” last season is probably the worst-kept secret in television right now. And until now, HBO could point to the season 5 finale and the showrunners’ statements as proof that Jon is actually dead, though the network continues to place him front and center in Game of Thrones’s marketing campaign. They even featured his corpse multiple times in the trailer to prove that point. Jon is dead. DEAD.
But that no longer looks to be the case.
Around the 1:16 mark in the trailer, Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson spotted someone riding a horse in the background of one quick scene. The blueish tint of the footage appears to indicate the scene takes place in the North—perhaps during a big battle—and well, we’d recognize that signature hair anywhere.
It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment lasting less than a second long. But once the footage is slowed down we can get a better look.
And when we zoom into the rider in question, it’s even more apparent.
YEP. The footage isn’t definitive, but there aren’t many men in Westeros sporting those luscious locks.
2) Davos doesn’t appear to be working alone
The trailer ends on an epic note as Davos Seaworth, positioned near Jon’s body and Ghost, prepares for a fight he’s probably now more than ready to have.
“I’ve never been much of a fighter,” Davos said as he unsheathed Jon’s Valyrian steel sword, Longclaw. “Apologies for what you’re about to see.”
At first glance it could look like Davos could be fighting the men in the room with him for possession of Jon’s body. However, an earlier clip in the trailer reveals that three members of the Night’s Watch—including Ser Alliser Thorne, who led the mutiny against Jon last season—are trying to cut down a door.
Many of the Night’s Watch were loyal to Jon, notably Samwell Tarly, who’s on his way to Oldtown, and Dolorous Edd. In the show, the mutiny is caused in part by Jon’s decision to allow wildlings through the Wall to escape from White Walkers and wights (and probably because some just didn’t like him). In the books, Jon’s decision to abandon his post and save his sister after receiving Ramsay Bolton’s taunting letter also plays a role. Loyal Night’s Watch brothers could still be sympathetic toward Jon enough to rally behind Davos and give him the support he needs to defend Jon’s body from Thorne and his men before Melisandre, at her lowest point, is able to resurrect it (as many fans suspect will happen).
3) A man on a bridge may confirm a long-believed theory
Casting Danish actor Pilou Asbæk as Euron Greyjoy was a stroke of genius, least in part because of how similar he looks like his nephew Theon (Alfie Allen). And that does play into a couple of trick shots during the trailer as we cut from Theon being surrounded by Bolton men to Euron’s head dunked into a bucket of water, likely a ritual for the Drowned God.
Another scene that shows Euron lowering his hood on a bridge in the pouring rain offers even more intrigue.
In A Storm of Swords, Balon Greyjoy—Theon’s father and Euron’s older brother—dies mysteriously after falling off a bridge in the middle of a storm, and the previously banished Euron shows up very soon afterwards; suspiciously so for someone who shouldn’t have been in Pyke in the first place. The longstanding theory is that Euron hired a Faceless Man to do the job for him and paid for it with a dragon egg.
While there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that a Faceless Man did it quite yet, it does seem rather suspicious that Euron shows up at the scene of the crime.
4) The Tower of Joy and its many sorrows
Between confirmed set locations and rumored casting choices, we had figured that we would be getting a look at what may be one of the most important flashbacks Game of Thrones has to offer, likely from a Bran Stark vision. And now we have proof.
There are two glimpses into the Tower of Joy sequence, which will depict the fight between Ned Stark and his men (including Howland Reed, Jojen and Meera’s father) and three members of the Kingsguard still loyal to Rhaegar Tarygaryen. Ned and his men are there to rescue his sister, Lyanna Stark.
“They were seven on three,” Ned recalled of the raid in A Game of Thrones, although this version appears to show only six men. Ned, still sporting the same hair style around 20 years ago as he did the day he died, is right there in the forefront. He’s seen unsheathing his Valyrian sword, Ice.
On the other side, you have the Kingsguard. There are three in the books (Lord Commander Gerold Hightower, Ser Arthur Dayne, and Ser Oswell Whent), but here we only see one, and he knows how to wield two swords at once.
Some great men died that day on both sides, but so did Lyanna.
The flashback will likely give us (and Bran) insight into Ned as a younger man as well as potentially reveal the greatest mystery of all: The answer to who Jon’s true parents are.
5) An unlikely rescue attempt
Sansa Stark and Theon’s escape attempt from Winterfell is doomed from the start. Winter has arrived, they appear to have little in provisions—Sansa likely planned for this while Theon joined at the last minute. And soon enough Ramsay’s men and dogs will be hunting for them. It appears they found Theon, although it’s less clear if Sansa is still with him.
Just seconds later, Brienne of Tarth is seen killing a man who looks very much like the one who had Theon within his grasp.
6) Where is Sansa?
Our main glimpse of Sansa in the trailer shows her in a very different place than the promotional photos did. She’s cleaned up, made up, and indoors wrapped in fur. Basically, she looks a lot more comfortable than she’d likely be if Ramsay brought her back to Winterfell.
“You’re in the great game now, and the great game is terrifying,” Tyrion Lannister says in a voiceover, although it’s highly doubtful he’s actually talking to Sansa.
It’s possible that Sansa could have made it to the Wall where she knows Jon to be, but as we’ve seen, the Wall isn’t a safe place for women. We think she might’ve ended up at the Last Hearth, the home of the Umbers, a family long loyal to the Starks, instead. If that’s the case, will that involve a long-awaited Stark family reunion?
After all, a great battle is coming and they’ll need someone, perhaps a Queen of the North, to rally behind.
Screengrab via GameofThrones/YouTube | Remix by Michelle Jaworski