Bless you, HBO. Bless your glorious cotton socks. Delivering us a heart-pumping, loin-girding, ab-touching cracker of a trailer right on the Winter Solstice.
Of course it’s the summer solstice up past the equator, but we here in the Antipodes need no imagination to picture the depths of chilly misery they must be now enduring in Westeros. In Brisbane alone the temperature has been dropping to 11 or 12 degrees at night (roughly 54 in that ridiculous Fahrenheit), and that’s so arctic I had to put on slippers.
Not unexpectedly, the payload in this piece is a heck of a lot bigger than in last month’s HUGE WAR ROOM FLOOR MAP trailer.
The war room floor map doesn’t make a reappearance, but I’m not surprised. As I mentioned back then, that trailer focused on the human relationships, threats and alliances, with not much attention paid to the supernatural threat beyond The Wall.
By contrast, this one lets rip with battles and skirmishes and beat-ups galore, and slams the apocalyptic reality of the White Walkers right back into our gaping, drooling faces.
So let’s do a quick breakdown of the voiceover sequences and then hone in on some key flashes of “WHAT” and “WAS THAT JUST” and “HOLY CRAP” from the montages.
We start with a tracking shot of the Lady of Winterfell, walking past a weirwood tree in what we assume is the Godswood. Strong, determined, unblinking, she is taking her cues from 2009-era Beyonce. She Is…. Sansa Fierce.
"Uh oh oh, oh oh oh, oh oh, oh, oh oh oh"
But whispering, always bloody whispering, in his stupid bloody whispering voice, is Petyr Baelish:
“Don’t fight in the North, or the South. Fight every battle, everywhere, always in your mind.”
If we assume he says this in person to Sansa, it’s an interesting focus on the internal struggle that must be won before any victory in the field can be had. It’s about removing the physical constructs of each battle and placing strategy, confidence and belief first and foremost. With the greatest match still ahead of Sansa, the Starks, the North and essentially to humanity as a whole, Littlefinger is starting to sound like a sports commentator. I mean, what I call him certainly rhymes with Rex Hunt.
Meanwhile I must find out where to obtain a copy of that introductory cello-with-choir underscore. I want to download it to my iPhone so I can walk around in slow motion with the music playing in my ears, pretending I’m an epic hero about to face danger and battle and stuff when really I’m just about to face feeding the foster kittens.
Other images seen in those opening moments: a long shot of Meera and Bran at The Wall, giving hope they will find some security with the rump of the Night’s Watch; Daenarys and her table top gaming board; Arya on a horse; Baelish in the shadows (maybe a dungeon?); and that weapon being sharpened again like a character on the “Who Shot Mr Burns?” episode of The Simpsons.
There’s also some shots that add weight to the idea we could be going to Casterly Rock this season, with the Lannister banners hanging in a stone keep filled with smallfolk seemingly welcoming somebody in, and Jaime seen from behind in armour striding around a battlement. It could be the King’s Landing, but perhaps not? There’s also a low-key beach landing, and later on, a glimpse of Grey Worm in a helmet approaching a rocky cliff - could it be Unsullied troops looking to take The Rock?
Good luck with that.
The second voice we hear is Jon’s:
“For centuries our families fought together against their common enemy. Despite their differences… together. We need to do the same if we’re going to survive. Because the enemy is real. It’s always been real.”
The first half of this grave declaration runs over shots of Dany walking along the beach at Dragonstone, then pulling down what looks to be like an old Targaryen banner, possible revealing a throne, or maybe some sort of family secret/inheritance. We see those magnificent dragons tearing it up like teenagers on a Contiki tour, and Tyrion looking pensively out over the sea.
Other characters pop up: Theon looking grim as usual; Brienne and Pod look awesome as usual; a flash of a snowbound Hound. There’s a series of shots involving Lannister soldiers, with Jaime and Bronn overseeing a team of archers, in what can only be described as a bromance-turned-bowmance.
There’s also a glimpse of a wheelchair-bound Bran (possibly with Bloodraven, the old dude from the cave, watching on) warging just as a bunch of ravens fly over a battlefield, seemingly sparking the interest of the Night’s King. As Jon’s voice sounds out “The enemy is real. It’s always been real”, there is a pause, fade to black, and then THIS MOTHEREFFING SHOT:
Holy flipping heck, it’s Beric Dondarrion carrying a flaming sword! But as we remember, it was Thoros of Myr who carried a flaming sword. SO WHERE IS THOROS? WHY DOES BERIC HAVE HIS SWORD?
A bit further on, there is another shot of my beloved fighting on a bluff (he can fight on my bluff anytime etc) and LOOK THERE IT IS AGAIN:
So the Brotherhood Without Banners (and possibly now Without Thoros of Myr) will at some point team up with Jon, Tormund and co. for more adventures fighting...wights, I assume? Unless Jon’s foreboding talk about coming together to fight the evil was aimed at other houses who have yet to sign on to the new reality of winter life and the coming icy apocalypse. They all seemed to acknowledge him as the “White Wolf” King in the North at the end of last season. But who knows, there could still be some hold outs.
That final montage before the Sansa voiceover contained a plethora - yes, El Guapo, a plethora! - of frames/shots/glimpses/sightings/moments that had my heart beating against my chest like a Looney Toons character looking at another Looney Toons character in drag. Moments like this:
Jaime Lannister racing on horseback across a field of fire, lance in (remaining) hand. This surely must involve the stampeding Dothraki army, with dragon accompaniment, as seen in other sections of the trailer. But who is he aiming for? A human… or a dragon? And could he fell a dragon? We know historically Jaime was a fine jouster at tournament, and it’s a credit to his thighs that he can still seat his horse so ferociously with the reins in his golden hand, while his left hand grasps his mighty spear OK wow I have totally distracted myself and need a moment.
I loved seeing Jon standing sexily next to Ser Davos almost as much as I fretted seeing him fight off one of the head honcho White Walkers; I did a little dance seeing Missandei plant her linguistically deft lips right on Grey Worm; and of course seeing Tormund Giantsbane lunge at anybody is delightful (and hopefully with Brienne, consensual).
There’s the Greyjoy fleet approaching King’s Landing, Yara and Theon looking at fireworks/fire, and a glimpse of old mate Euron getting ragey as ships burn; and as he accompanies the Dothraki warriors, a close-up of Drogon so severe you can smell his lizard breath.
But there’s also some things that weren’t clear to me. For example, is this Theon looking wrecked on a beach? Or Euron? Or an Unsullied?
Oh gods, it's Gendry, isn't it? He finally got out of the boat.
And this guy. Who is this guy?
WHO ARE YOU MYSTERY MAN
As we see a sole rider hot-hoofing it away from camera, the voiceover concludes with Sansa throwing up some Grade A metaphor and/or allegory.
“When the snows fall, and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies…. but the pack survives.”
And we get this breathtaking shot of our King in the North, from one of his greatest angles:
His back hump looks so soft.
Now I must admit, when I first heard that phrase, my immediate response was “LONE WOLF WHAT ARE YOU REFERRING TO JON IS THIS INSINUATING JON COULD DIE NO NO NO”. Please understand I’m a little sensitive when it comes to the mortality of my beloved.
But it’s more likely Sansa’s singing from the same song sheet as Jon - that all petty human squabbles have to be put aside to ensure victory, that the time for individual glory is over. Indeed, Jon has been proof of that over and over again - his early days of wanting to be a kickarse Ranger are long gone, and he has become one of the most well-rounded (and #junkmounded) diplomats in the series. It wouldn’t surprise me if their dialogue here occurs in the same scene.
Can we take a moment to appreciate the sartorial splendour of our King in the North? Decked out in designer whites, he’s practically Fursace. Or Furberry. Or Salvatore Furragamo. He’s also really embraced that man bun. I mean, it makes sense - all of those luscious black curls would get in your face while fighting, not to mention getting wet and sticky in all that snowy weather. Of course I long for the return of the mop top, but for the moment I can live with the “Jon Snowcone”.
Well, kittens, that’s about all I’ve got for now, but if I have any strokes of genius about this trailer I’ll get back to you. We’re closing in on a month out from S7, E1 - will we get a third trailer before it hits? Whatever happens, I will be here for you, my beloved Throners, always your devoted recappespondent and ab connoisseur.
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