Well HBO certainly just commandeered the entire 24-hour entertainment news cycle like the network was a Targaryen in Astapor. It was fire, blood, and geek euphoria from coast to coast, and Sunspear to Hardhome, as HBO unveiled the new Game of Thrones season five trailer, as well as official confirmation that HBO NOW will be ready for fans of the premium cable flagship.
But let’s get back to that Game of Thrones season five trailer. While it certainly revealed some rather familiar images and beats from the previous trailer, which we analyzed to infinity here, it also provided a cornucopia of new footage, as well as hints about what is to come from the fifth year when Tyrion Lannister goes down the road to Meereen, and Cersei Lannister has a similar trek on the pathway to madness.
As we are aware that much of the new footage can be analyzed from either the vantage of TV show fans or the enthusiastic loyalists to George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series, we will try to offer both points of view in this article. For those who wish to avoid some spoilers, these book details will be divided from the main entry (if and when necessary) by the words BOOK PERSPECTIVE.
So without further ado, here are 31 thingswe learned from the new Game of Thrones season five trailer.
For the Night is Dark and Full of Stannis
Hardly a shock, but it appears that Melisandre’s late night human bonfire at the Night’s Watch—which undoubtedly will go over splendidly with the Brothers in Black—includes a reluctantly participating Stannis. He may have heeded the Onion Knight’s advice to go north, but human sacrifice is one vice the Baratheon King does not appear to be kicking anytime soon. However, if you watch the whole trailer, it looks like he has other (Bolton) things to kick, as well.
Arya and Her Iron Token
Here is just a nice new image of Arya Stark playing with the Iron coin that Faceless Man Jaqen H’ghar gave her back in season two. Interestingly, that is likely not a ship she rests in given the stone walls, and the House of Black and White doesn’t exactly allow those proverbial golden tickets to be kept forever. So, I suspect we are going to see some of her Braavos journey pre-Faceless Men.
“They’re All Just Spokes on a Wheel”
Aha! Now, we know what that rather awkward, but admittedly badass, line from the first trailer was in reference to: the wheel in need of breaking is in the shape of the Seven Kingdoms and its “game of thrones,” with the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, and Tyrells all present. Interestingly, she did not say the Martells if you listened carefully…
Also, that man visiting Daenerys’ Throne Room is a familiar fellow whose father was crucified last season. He appears to have quite the proposal for the Silver Queen.
A Battle for Meereen
There is clearly going to be a battle in Meereen this season, as glimpsed with a new image above.
The more variety of locations they show a fight between the Unsullied, the Brazen Beasts, and what I suspect are the Sons of the Harpy, the more I suspect a major change is coming this season. Unlike A Dance with Dragons, it appears that there will be a battle for Meereen this season. Indeed, it may be the battle hinted at before the unsatisfying cliffhanger of the fifth novel. I imagine that this season will end with much more momentum than the fifth book, propelling Dany toward Westeros.
The Long Bridge of Volantis
This is our first breathtaking shot of Volantis, the slave city in Essos that Talisa (Robb Stark’s wife) hailed from. It is safe to assume this will be a stop on Tyrion and Varys’ quest to the Far East.
For those worried that too much of Tyrion’s journey from A Dance with Dragons will be changed, this seems to confirm that he’ll at least be going to Volantis. Thus, I imagine that Tyrion’s run-in with Ser Jorah Mormont is likewise imminent.
Mother of the Groom
Assuming even if nobody dies at Margaery and Tommen’s ceremony, there still is no such thing as a totally happy wedding in Westeros, is there?
Bonfire of the Vanities
In the last trailer, I was uncertain whether the smashing of barrels of wine was part of an uprising in Meereen or a sequence from King’s Landing. This trailer makes it very plain that this is the shattering of everything the new High Septon, aka the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), considers sinful. For those who know their Renaissance history, think Girolamo Savonarola.
Daenerys to the Rescue
Other than being a cool image of Dany, that quick half-spin appears to be one out of concern. Is she about to ride to somebody’s rescue? More on that in a moment…
The Long Boat (Hard)home
Also during the last trailer, I was unsure if the above fishing village might be part of Eastwatch by the Sea or Hardhome. We have since confirmed that Jon Snow does go to Hardhome this season, and this is most definitely then his naval landing at that Beyond the Wall fishing village located next to the Shivering Sea.
Jon Snow always planned a journey to Hardhome until political realities around Winterfell forced his hand to stay behind. However, he most definitely is headed there in the HBO series. Whether this is a major departure (what is really one more or less Wildling encampment coming south?) or just an excuse for another action sequence for the Men of the Night’s Watch remains to be seen.
Tyrion in Meereen
We already knew Tyrion made it to Meereen, but it still worth geeking out over him witnessing Drogon’s wrath from afar. Careful half-man, here there be dragons.
Ramsay in Love?
Here we see what I believe is Ramsay offering his love to some undoubtedly doomed unknown girl (please correct me if I am wrong). But it is very, very, VERY intriguing because of the following image.
Sansa Stark Comes Home to Winterfell
There is absolutely no mistaking that corridor. It is a hidden catacomb that Sansa has likely known like the back of her hand since she was a child. Last season she made a snow castle out of dreams and tears. But those tears are dry now. Sansa Stark is home.
This, more than anything we have seen to date, is a MASSIVE departure from the book series. When we last left Sansa Stark at the end of A Dance with Dragons, she was still patrolling the Vale with Littlefinger. Sophie Turner has recently promised that the show was going in a different direction with the eldest Stark daughter, and she wasn’t whistling “The Rains of Castamere.”
If I had to speculate what this could mean: Sansa Stark is standing in for Jeyne Poole, Sansa’s childhood friend who in the novels the Boltons attempt to pass off as Arya Stark so she can marry (and then be raped nightly by) Ramsay Bolton in their new seat: a ruined Winterfell. It is a horror so unsettling that it even forces Reek to realize he is not so weak, and to become Theon Greyjoy once more to save the girl. Somehow, I suspect “Dark Sansa” (Turner’s phrase) will not be so helpless and victimized as Jeyne Poole—not to mention Sansa’s past four seasons of torment. But it could be why they are hiding so much of the Winterfell scenes, including everything that involves Theon Greyjoy.
Here is an interesting shot of warfare. Potentially, it could be what the trailer juxtaposition promises: at least one of Dany’s dragons terrorizing an enemy encampment. What with Qarth and Yunkai at the gates, it’s entirely plausible. But it also looks a lot like Stannis’ camp, which I included a new image from as well above.
The Arryns…in Winterfell?
Again correct me if I am wrong, but is that not Winterfell under construction? It might also be Castle Black following the epic Battle for the Wall, but since the crowd of waiting patricians appears to have women and not to be fully clothed in black, I am willing to say that this is most likely Winterfell. Either way, the House that Littlefinger now rules as regent—so marked by the Arryn sigil on those shields—is a long way from home and very far north…
This is further proof that Sansa Stark and Littlefinger are headed to Winterfell and the Boltons this season. As long as we’re getting massive rewrites, oh please Sansa, please be allowed to slit Ramsay’s malevolent throat. He’s not Joffrey, Cersei, or Walder Frey, but he is still more than worthy of being on the Stark hit list. In fact, as long as we’re talking death lists, Roose Bolton has done the Starks wrong too…
Brienne Goes North
In the recent release of George R.R. Martin’s original “A Song of Ice and Fire” book trilogy outline (heh), he did say it would end with all major characters going north while the Others (White Walkers) march south. Well, it looks like they’re getting there sooner than later on Game of Thrones since Brienne is definitely in the snowy north in this shot.
This would all but confirm that there is no Lady Stoneheart this season, wouldn’t it? Instead of taking Jaime to see the Lady of the Woods like in the fifth novel, Brienne has gone very far aground into the white, wintry abyss that should be falling upon the North by season’s end.
Jon Snow in Battle
Whether this is with captured Wildlings still in need of a lesson, such as possibly why Giantsbane is in that shot, or at the inevitable Battle of Hardhome, Jon Snow is going to wet Longclaw with the taste of blood.
White Walkers or Other?
That certainly doesn’t appear to be human. So, this is all probably just one massive set-piece at Hardhome.
Meet the High Sparrow in the Flesh
As mentioned earlier, here is the religious leader, played by the incomparable Jonathan Pryce, that will rip away any sense of pride, vanity, or simple culture and common sense out of King’s Landing. It’s not all bad, however. If he hates corruption, it means the Lannisters might be in trouble.
King vs. Clergy
In perhaps one of the best visualizations of the biggest power battles from the actual Middle Ages—that between secular kings and the Church—King Tommen is prevented from entering the Sept of Baelor.
If I had to guess, this is Tommen being denied (at least initially) entry to the church after Margaery, Cersei, or both have been taken prisoner for purported infidelities. It will be interesting if he is allowed to visit them (as I think he is judging from the repeat shot of Margaery in total terror while holding her husband), which side he will take: Margaery or Cersei? In the novel, he was too young to make that choice for himself.
High Sparrow Attacks?
Someone is going down here in front of the king and Cersei. Given the juxtaposition with the High Sparrow I have my own spoilerish theories…
I suspect this is a more visceral sequence than in the novels where Cersei is taken by the High Sparrow in what appears to be a humble Sept room, as opposed to the more ornate throne rooms and gardens of the Red Keep. Then again, this might also be where Margaery is taken by Cersei’s request, hence a battle between Lannister and Tryell men. Could this be a bloodier version of Katherine Howard’s humiliation and futile pleas for mercy from Henry VIII?
Unsanctioned Fighting in the Fighting Pits
Meereen’s fighting pits are pretty much like the gladiatorial games enjoyed by Romans: this means organized slaughter. What we see here are the Unsullied doing battle with the crowds. To paraphrase Dr. Strangelove, there can’t be fighting at the fighting pits!
The Brazen Beasts Turn on Dany? Why?
In the books, the Brazen Beasts ostensibly work for Daenerys Targaryen as the law enforcement arm of Meereen. Yet here, they look awfully threatening as they pour into the fighting pit’s sand while the Unsullied take a defensive position. But if you want the reason, look at that bald-ish head with his back turned in defense of the Silver Queen: it’s Jorah Mormont.
This to me is official confirmation that Meereen is going to have some form of closure this season not yet seen in the books. There is no dragon in sight for any of these battles. And while that could be simply because they’re saving Drogon’s entrance as a surprise, I tend to suspect that this will all be about Daenerys vs. her supposed people over an interruption of the bloodsport in favor of saving Jorah….which will make for an awkward conversation after the fact.
Jaime Fighting in Dorne
We already know that Bronn is sticking around as Jaime’s sparring partner in season five—trading in one smartass Lannister for another, eh?—but it appears that Jaime will enjoy real conflict with his left hand in this season too. And given the markings of his opponent, I’d guess this is near or in Dorne. Either way, it’s a dangerous test literary Jaime has not yet faced since losing his sword hand.
This even more unlike the book since the white-cloaked Lannister spends the fourth and fifth books having a big heroic turnaround where he stops not one, but two riverland vassals from raising any more insurrection against the Lannisters without killing a single person. It’s a great Jaime moment, but other than an excuse to revisit the Tullys, it offers little in the way of the “major” families.
But what is more striking is that it confirms once again that Jaime and Brienne are not going to have a date with the good Lady Stoneheart, which would appear to be a major departure from their literary arcs.
Daenerys Taking Bad Leadership Advice from Daario
I know he is her queenly consort, but I do not think a mercenary knows much about ruling. However, his advice to be a butcher promises grim times ahead for a woman who already seems to have a little bit of that fabled Targaryen madness.
Hands of the Needy
Your guess is as good as mine. I cannot make out whether this is in Meereen or the Sparrow’s flock in King’s Landing.
Ellaria Sand Taking a Leadership Role in Dorne
Ellaria Sand for understandable reasons might be quite militant in her disdain for the Lannisters after watching her lover, Prince Oberyn Martell, leave her alone in this world by having his teeth bashed out and his eyes gouged in by the Mountain. However, just because she wants blood does not mean all of Dorne feels as (publicly) vengeful.
This is just further proof that Ellaria is replacing Arianne Martell in the show.
Bronn is also in Dorne
Not that surprising since we knew he was following Jaime, but still good to see.
Jorah the Gladiator
Told you that is who Daenerys is saving.
I honestly could not recognize her from this image.* A commenter was kind enough to point out that this is Stannis’ wife, Queen Selyse. Now why she is cowering with a look of total terror on her face is a mystery to myself, but if I was a betting man, I’d imagine she is staring at Mesliandre for one reason or another…
Hardhome’s Shivering Sea
More from Hardhome’s battle. Or is that Wildlings running for their lives from that which walks on white?
Dany and Her Favorite Child
A sweet and simultaneously scary moment between the Mother of Dragons and wee baby Drogon.
Further proof Drogon does not interrupt the fighting pit scene since Miss Stormborn is wearing the same dress from her spoiled day out, and this is likely after the fact. No trips to the Dothraki Sea appear to be in the offing. Praise the Seven.
***Follow my Night’s Watch as the Lord Crow Commander @DCrowsnest.