Screw the haters. I’m pumped for the new season of Game of Thrones. Yeah, the show has its issues, many of which I’ve written about before: The fifth season butchered the Sand Snakes storyline, the Battle of Winterfell was rushed and disappointing, Sansa’s rape scene felt specifically conceived to generate controversy, and at this point, the series’ constant insistence to deny us even an ocassional glimmer of hope has grown tiresome.
And yet I have already watched the first Season 6 trailer roughly twenty times. There simply is nothing on television as epic as Game of Thrones at its best, and now that the writers are not shackled to any book material, this could be the greatest season yet. Maybe. Probably?
This trailer includes so many damn shots in quick succession, so let’s go over a few things in hopes of figuring out where any of this is going. For us book fans, not knowing what’s going to happen is as strange as it is exhilarating.
I won’t attempt to analyze every single shot, but here are some thoughts on what I saw as the most important bits.
Obviously, the biggest question going in was how HBO would deal with Jon Snow. At this point, literally everyone seems to agree he’s coming back, so should the marketing play up his return? Should they continue to lie and cut the trailer as if Jon is dead as shit? Should they keep it vague?
For the most part, they kept it vague, while verging slightly towards standing by the lie. This footage opens with Jon’s bloodied corpse directly following the events of the Season 5 finale, with Davos saying, “He’s gone.”Sure he is, you oniony sweetheart you. Yet that’s not the last we see of Snow here.
Instead, we see his body on several more occasions, and the trailer certainly makes it clear that the characters won’t simply be giving him a funeral and moving on. We get a shot of Melisandre about to undress, because that is mandatory for all Game of Thrones marketing, followed by a shot of someone lying a hand on Jon’s body, and then a roaring fire reminiscent of the Season 2 sequence in which Melisandre performs a spell to murder three kings. (Remember when she gave birth to a freaking demon shadow baby and barely anyone ever talked about it again?)
Oh, and Melisandre tells Davos that the victory she saw in the flames was a lie. The last scene depicts Davos unsheathing Longclaw in a room with Jon’s body, Ghost, and several members of the Night’s Watch. Earlier, Allister Thorne and a few other Night’s Watch men were seen breaking down a door, possibly to intervene in that same Davos swordfight.
This all fits the theory that Melisandre has realized Stannis was never Azor Ahai because it’s actually Jon, and so she plans to resurrect him. But perhaps the Night’s Watch becomes privy to her and Davos’ shenanigans and so ensues to Make Jon Snow Dead Again? Or could Davos be rounding up Night’s Watch folks to fight with him and help save Jon? Surely not everyone approved of going full Caesar. Ghost is also in that final scene…could Melisandre have to sacrifice him? Please God no. We all want Jon back, but not like this. Not like this…
Happy Happy, Tower of Joy Joy!
It had been rumored for quite a while, but we can now officially confirm that there will be a Tower of Joy flashback in Season 6! We see a young Ned Stark in two different scenes here, signified by those luscious locks. In this image we see him getting ready to fight a Targaryen soldier. I’m especially curious about if this plays out in a traditional flashback structure, i.e. Cersei in the opening of Season 5, or if it’s going to be Bran having a trippy vision through the Weirwood tree. Before, I was leaning towards the later, but the way these scenes are composed here certainly makes them look like a normal Game of Thrones sequence rather than the more dreamy feel of Bran’s visions.
The Kings Shall Moot
Book nerds were furious when the Kingsmoot subplot was seemingly excised from the show, but here ya go, you dorks! We have our first look at Euron Greyjoy, and dear god, this show’s casting department can not be praised nearly enough. He looks exactly like Theon, to the point that I literally thought this was Alfie Allen when I first watched it.
There’s also this shot, which I’m really of surprised they put into the trailer: Euron on a bridge in the rain, presumably (Feast for Crows spoilers!) about to murder Balon. If that’s the case, this is brand new information for both book and show fans, though it was a common theory that Euron was behind Balon’s death. Already the future books are getting spoiled before the damn season even starts.
Trial By Combat: The Sequel
Looks like we’re getting another trial by combat this year, because we all remember it went so well the last time! Cersei tells the High Sparrows that instead of surrender, she chooses violence, an easy decision to make if you have a god damn zombie Gregor Clegane by your side. This shot of Cercei feels awfully reminiscent of Tyrion walking in to his trial back in Season 4.
So are we actually getting the famed Cleganebowl, i.e. zombie Gregor Clegane vs. Sandor Clegane? In a recent interview, Ian McShane all but flat out stated he would be bringing the Hound back. Oh boy.
Needle In A Hay Stack
Yeah, and it looks like Jorah will figure out that Dany has been kidnapped when he finds the ring she dropped last season. How the hell he is even able to find the exact spot Dany and Drogon landed, let alone the precise area on the ground where a tiny ring was dropped, I have absolutely no idea, but I’m sure the explanation will be perfectly sensible and not stupid as fuck.
Arya: Still Blind
She’s still blind. That’s about it. I have no clue where this is going, but can Arya actually do some shit this season? She hasn’t come close to having any sort of impact on anything for years now. Her storyline is one giant tease towards the birth of a badass assassin that has been going on for six damn years with very little progress.
If she’s still on Braavos by the end of the season, I swear…
Bolton v. Starks: Dawn of Justice
Hell yes. The biggest battle the north has ever seen is about to go down. We get a bunch of imagery in this trailer that seems to be a part of a massive showdown between the Starks and the Boltons. I’m guessing a newly ressurected Jon leads the northerners to take back Winterfell? It should make for an fantastic episode – maybe episode 9? – assuming we actually see it happen and don’t skip over most of it, Season 1 style.
And please let it be the beginning of something even remotely negative happening to the Boltons. Game of Thrones at its worst is blatant misery porn, in which the bad guys do amazingly at everything and the good guys always lose, and that has never been more true than with the Boltons, who have so much plot armor in a series where plot armor is not supposed to be a thing. How many god damn episodes can we watch of the Boltons flaying people and facing zero consequences from literally anyone in Westeros?
And that’s everything that really stuck out to me, though there’s some other stuff like a dude jumping out a window and Yara apparently making out with some shirtless girl. Gotta make sure the audience knows that the sexposition won’t be going away anytime soon. Season 6 is looking to be messy and overstuffed but cathartic as hell, hopefully the beginning of the long-awaited Return of the Starks. If it’s another year of grimdark bullshit, I may leave the season feeling as hopeless as, well, a Game of Thrones character.