Game Of Thrones season 4 trailer breakdown

Feature Louisa Mellor
18 Feb 2014 - 07:00

We take a spoiler-filled look at the latest Game Of Thrones season 4 trailer. For A Song Of Ice And Fire readers only…

Warning: Stop here if you haven’t read A Song Of Ice And Fire. Major, major SPOILERS ahead.

HBO has been generous with season four footage this year; much of the content of latest trailer below had already been seen speedily edited and interspersed with cast interviews in the fifteen-minute A Foreshadowing promo. The 'Vengeance' trailer below though, provides our first steady look at what promise to be a number of key scenes in the forthcoming season.

To the sound of a suitably apocalyptic song (Everlove’s Cities In Dust Siouxsie and the Banshees cover, which takes lyrical inspiration from the destruction of Pompeii), this new trailer showed us a fractured Seven Kingdoms and nods towards what we assume are the final moments of several key Game Of Thrones characters.

Speaking of which, this is the last slip road to safety for anyone who hasn’t read ahead in George R.R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire saga and doesn’t want major events in Game Of Thrones’ fourth season spoiled for them.

Right. Let the nerdy freeze-framing commence…


“I can’t sleep until I say the names”

Over the clattering of hooves entering a castle gate – the ruins of Winterfell perhaps? - we hear the voice of Arya Stark reciting an edited version (Walder Frey and Ilyn Payne both surely also number amongst the names) of her litany of murderous intent accompanied by shots of its would-be victims. “Joffrey. Cersei. Tywin Lannister” she begins.

Joffrey’s portrait shows him looking smug at his wedding to Margaery Tyrell, presumably moments before his death, while Cersei is shown after that event, in mourning for her son, and overseeing the trial by combat that would determine the fate of brother and murder suspect Tyrion. Their father, Tywin looms from the darkness of his chamber, quite possibly moments before his own murder at the hands of his youngest son.

Arya’s list ends here with “The Red Woman”, accompanied by a shot of Melisandre, surrounded by symbolic flames. Though the young Stark girl and the Red Woman don’t meet in the novels, last season saw Melisandre seize Gendry, heir to the Baratheon throne and Arya’s only friend, so earning her a place on the Stark’s hit list. The Red Woman foresaw that she and Arya would meet again. Will that reunion happen in season four?


“I lie awake all night thinking about how they died”

After what may well be Theon Greyjoy sent riding out to what’s left of Moat Cailin waving that white flag, we glimpse Styr, Magnar of Thenn and the Free Folk (Tormund Giantsband, Ygritte and co.) amassing prior to the attack on Castle Black, before seeing Jaime Lannister testing out his new Valyrian Steel, Oathkeeper, one of a pair forged from the House Stark’s ancestral sword, Ice (the other going temporarily to Joffrey Baratheon as a wedding gift). The voice reminding us all of the unforgettable fact that “Robb Stark is dead” sounds like that of Samwell Tarly.

A new location now, as Dany’s cavalcade approaches the desert city of Meereen, resplendent with the magisterial pyramid we later see the Dragon Mother take as her throne room.

Then it’s over to newlyweds Sansa and Tyrion in King’s Landing, the former of whom is understandably struggling with the vicious murder of her brother and mother. We see another shot of a cloaked Sansa, presumably meeting Ser Dontos to plan her escape. Is that her being rowed away from aboard that little boat, too?

More violence, before a sweeping shot of Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding festivities, King’s Landing bedecked in Lannister gold and crimson. Lady Olenna sweeps past the seated King, but would this be before, or after she’s left her little gift in his drink?


“He was betrayed by his own men”

Who was betrayed? That's most likely The Old Bear, Jeor Mormont, who was literally stabbed in the back during the Night Watch mutiny at Craster’s Keep. “All we can give him now is justice” says Jon Snow, in what looks like a rallying speech to the troops before the Wildling attack on Castle Black.

With Snow’s words on justice ringing in our ears, it’s back to King’s Landing for Tyrion’s murder trial, as the defendant understandably declares his disbelief in justice. (“If you want justice, you’ve come to the wrong place.”)

That impressive-looking swordfight going on as Tyrion speaks? It’s a gymnastic-looking Prince Oberyn Martell, Tyrion’s revenge-seeking champion, facing Gregor Clegane, fighting on behalf of the prosecution. An imprisoned Tyrion could be speaking to several people here, brother Jaime, Varys, or perhaps the aforementioned Prince Oberyn who’s using his royal wedding invitation as a route to avenge the rape and murder of his sister, Elia, by The Mountain That Rides.


“I will not be the page in someone else’s history book”

So says Stannis the Mannis (read our recent interview with Stephen Dillane, here) to what looks like Davos Seaworthy. The Dragonstone lot, Melisandre included, are seen here burning not one but three people. We’re given a look at a screaming woman who slightly resembles, but isn’t, Brienne of Tarth. If we’re going by the books, then one of the three could be Alester Florent, but that would be jumping the gun a little by our reckoning.

What follows is a fast edit of the first missile fired in the Siege of Meereen, an exciting look at a catapult used to attack Castle Black, and in quick succession, Jaime, Prince Oberyn, Brienne and Theon, all united by the theme of Littlefinger’s revenge-fuelled words to Sansa, “What do we do to those who hurt the ones we love?”.


“The day will come when your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth”

Things are really hotting up here, and after snatches of Ygritte and co. storming Castle Black, is a glimpse of what could be Arya’s fatal meeting with Lannister soldier Polliver whereupon she retrieves Needle.

Speaking of swords, we see Jaime and Bronn clashing theirs, prompting us to wonder if Bronn has replaced the mute Ilyn Payne as the Lannister’s sparring partner, following the very sad news of Payne actor Wilko Johnson’s diagnosis with pancreatic cancer.

The Mountain then delivers what looks like a final blow, and most tantalisingly of all, Shae is discovered in what has to be Tywin Lannister’s bed. What comes next for her and her lover, readers of the series know only too well…

Cersei’s words of course, come from her appearance at Tyrion’s trial, and throw back at him the curse he spoke to her in season two.


“The Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts”

The Little Lord, Bran Stark makes a brief appearance here in wildling garb. Bran is seen getting in touch with his inner Warg as companion Hodor looks on.

Accompanied by Prince Oberyn’s ominous words (Pedro Pascal seen in a passionate embrace with fellow newcomer, Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand) are shots of various characters violently paying various debts. We see The Hound delivering a fearsome blow, the slaves of Meereen revolting against their oppressor, taking us to Dany’s most memorable season four trailer line so far.


“I will do what queens do. I will rule”

Meet the new-look Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman), leader of the Stormcrows and Dany’s latest ally, facing an oncoming Meereen challenge. As well as more from the Wildling attack on Castle Black, we finally come to the trailer’s money shot: Drogon extending his wings and readying to attack.

All that’s left in the trailer is the teasing appearance of one character, about whom there’s been some debate in the fan community. Is the horse-riding, armour-wearing Wight season four’s take on Elk-riding, hooded enigma Cold Hands? Or just another White Walker? Our money's on the latter.

The final words we’re left with are those Game Of Thrones returns to time and again: Valar Morghulis, all men must die. It's a truth George R.R. Martin and Game Of Thrones creators prove with each passing season...

Game Of Thrones season four starts on HBO on Sunday the 6th and on Sky Atlantic on Monday the 7th of April.

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