As I’ve said before, I’m always happy that winter is coming, because it means a dream of spring is just around the corner. And with that dream comes a new 10-episode batch of Game of Thrones!
Indeed, people might be gearing up for the big game this weekend, but for HBO subscribers, it’s all about the bigger game of Westeros with a Game of Thrones season five trailer acting as a prelude to the George R.R. Martin adaptation being the first TV series ever screened in IMAX. Some anxious viewers have already glimpsed the intensity of it stolen from smartphone cameras, but if you want to see the official trailer in HD glory, look no further than clicking here.
A mixture of action and character drama, that trailer fires like a supremely pissed off dragon with fervent intensity. However, if you slow down for a second it tells us some very fascinating stuff about the fifth season from both the perspective of a Game of Thrones fan and as a book reader of “A Song of Ice and Fire.” Aye, it could be analyzed from either perspective, thus we are going to try to do both. Below, select images will be contextualized for those who have not read the books before a bolded spoiler warning beneath it when applicable for an additional interpretation.
Join us now in lighting the fire for Game of Thrones season five.
Charles Dance is back for Tywin Lannister’s Funeral
Some months ago, Charles Dance made waves with Game of Thrones fans when he said that he would be coming back briefly for the fifth season. Some hoped (or dreaded) that it meant the series was detouring from the novels, and that Tywin lived. Even then, I knew Tywin was as dead as poor Ned’s head. Now, we have confirmation that his cameo may only be his funeral in the Great Sept of Baelor (though we have already heard there will be flashbacks on the horizon as well to a younger Cersei…). Something rotten is going on there besides Tywin’s remains…
The last time we saw these two together in the Sept of Baelor, things did not go well for either Cersei, viewers, or Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who misconstrued the tone of the scene from the book. But now, we may finally be seeing the falling out and anger between the characters. While I am not sure who is saying, “There is nothing more painful…” the look on Cersei and Jaime’s faces is not admiration for either grieving party.
A major factor of season five is inevitably Cersei Lannister’s ascension to real power as the Queen Regent with no impish brother or authoritative father to rein her in—as well as her impending touch of arrogance and madness. It is very telling that Cersei is the first close-up that we see in this trailer.
Eastwatch by the Sea?
As to date, we have actually ever seen one of the three active Night’s Watch forts along the Wall in Game of Thrones: Castle Black. However, there are two other (barely) operational structures that the Crows defend, including the Shadow Tower and Eastwatch by the Sea. This third castle are the brothers in black’s port to the outside world, which should play a certain importance in the fifth season. This shot is brief, so I am not certain that that is what we are looking at, but it is definitely cold and imposing enough to pass for being near the Wall.
We should definitely see Eastwatch by the Sea as that is where Sam, Gilly, and Maester Aemon catch the long ship to Braavos before sailing around to Old Town. Yet, I genuinely hope for TV budget constraints, that dinky boat is not how they’re making the voyage…
Our First Look at the Brazen Beasts
Daenerys Targaryen took over Meereen fairly early in the fourth season, but to date we have not seen what the Brazen Beasts look like…until now. As the armed guards of Meereen’s government, their faces are hidden by brass animal masks, theoretically suggesting a uniform unanimity. It’s also a great way to sneak around the city unnoticed and do awful deeds, much to the frustration of Westerosi knight Ser Barristan Selmy.
Meet Obara Sand
Sadly, we both met and said goodbye to the amazing Oberyn Martell, aka the Red Viper, during last season of Game of Thrones. But now his hinted at Sand Snakes (bastard daughters of Dorne) will have their turn in the sun-kissed spotlight. In the above image, we see one of his daughters torturing some poor bastard. And judging by her use of a whip, I suspect that is Obara Sand, who will be played in season five by Keisha Castle-Hughes.
…And There’s The Water Gardens
Here we have our first in-series look at the Water Gardens, the decadent oasis palace that Oberyn Martell and much of his Dornish family calls home. It is also where Myrcella Baratheon was shipped off to in the second season by Tyrion.
Littlefinger Creeping on Sansa
Lord Petyr Baelish getting all touchy-feely with Sansa Stark is nothing new (though it is no less uncomfortable). However, this is an interesting moment since Sansa has about two chapters left between A Feast For Crows and A Dance with Dragons from where her final scene was in season four. Yet, this hints at an arc for the character that will go beyond anything published. Obviously out of the Eyrie and into the Vale, given the surrounding greenery, Sansa is now going to be playing the game with Littlefinger that has only been hinted at in the text. For once, I hope vengeance will be in a Stark’s grasp—including the debt Sansa unknowingly owes to the man who put a dagger to Ned Stark’s throat…
Tommen and Margaery at the Altar?
I do not think it is a spoiler to say that season five will continue the ongoing tension between Cersei Lannister and Margaery Tyrell. However, a major aspect of that conflict is Cersei’s desire to prevent Margaery from marrying her second son, which he was too young for at least during last season. But here, we see them clearly standing before the Sept of Baelor (and is that High Sparrow/Jonathan Pryce behind them?) in what suggests a wedding ceremony. If that’s the case (an event that didn’t happen in the books yet), things are about to get very nasty between the two queens.
A Tyrion in a Box
If that’s the same box that Tyrion exited King’s Landing in during season four, that trip across the Narrow Sea was a particularly nasty one. I’d hate to know what else piled up inside the crate besides the youngest Lannister brother’s beard.
Could we at last be seeing the return of Illyrio Mopatis? In A Dance with Dragons, it is at Illyrio’s Pentos palace where Tyrion ended up. Indeed, given the following shots, it would appear that Tyrion and Varys are standing on the same balcony where we were introduced to Daenerys Targaryen on all those seasons ago.
Varys in Pentos
This is very interesting for TV and book fans alike, because Varys is a wonderful character who disappeared far too quickly from the POV chapters after A Storm of Swords. But Varys is making an appearance in season five to point Tyrion on the road that leads to Meereen. Could Varys be accompanying him too?
For Castle Black is Dark and Full of Terrors
Here is our first definite look at Castle Black in season five, and things have changed a great deal. Jon Snow saw many comrades die in the Battle for the Wall last season, as well as Ygritte, but now his home fortification has new tenants: the army of Stannis Baratheon. And they are up to their old fiery tricks …
This is quite likely the scene where Melisandre has Mance Rayder (or the man Jon and most of the hordes believe to be Mance Rayder) executed by burning him alive. I don’t see an elaborate fire pit trap like in A Dance with Dragons, but the show may give “Mance” the dignity of being burned at the stake. Lucky him.
Jon Snow Looking Like a Heroic Bastard
Yeah, this is just a cool image. Moving on…
Varys and Tyrion in a Slave City
To answer a question from a few images ago, yes, yes Varys is going to be Tyrion’s sidekick on misadventures. Whether that is Meereen or another slave city (perhaps Volantis?), it is most definitely not Pentos with its grimy nature. I’d say it’s safe to say they’re going to be road trip buddies!
Wildlings in Prison?
This looks to be the makeshift pen in which all the captured Wildlings are initially kept by the Night’s Watch…
Jorah Mormont: The Gladiator
As juxtaposed with another badass line from Daenerys Targaryen, who seems to own them as plentifully as Tyrion does the quips, we see what is most certainly a fighting pit with Ser Jorah Mormont, Dany’s once beloved (well, befriended) Bear Knight. So, it’s not a spoiler to say that this sequence alone proves that the Mother of Dragon’s bravado about “breaking wheel” may be a bit premature since the fighting pits she outlawed in season four are back in full force here.
So yes, Jorah Mormont is actually fighting as a gladiator. This is a potentially small change, or a major one. As readers of A Dance with Dragons know, Ser Jorah in his grumpy exile bumps into Tyrion Lannister on the way to Volantis, and he takes the dwarf hostage to return to Meereen. However, they are likewise captured by slave traders who send them to die in the fighting pits. However, Dany never sees Jorah fight as she breaks up the bloodsport early. If she actually does glimpse Jorah in the fighting pit, would she lift a finger to save him? It could drastically change the course of Jorah’s storyline, as well as Tyrion’s if she does…
King’s Landing and Dorne are not the Closest of Friends
It would appear that tensions between the Lannisters and Martells—which goes back to Tywin Lannister ordering the Mountain to rape and slaughter the Martell Queen and her children during the sacking of King’s Landing—are not about to get better. Why someone would send Cersei Lannister a viper’s head may seem perplexing, but its ominous message is not.
Mad Queen Cersei
And here is Cersei Lannister in a nutshell from A Feast for Crows. “That little monster is out there somewhere,” she begins to whine to Jaime. Trust me, this is the tip of the iceberg for Cersei’s paranoia, which comes just as she assumes almost total control over Tommen Baratheon’s monarchy…
Melisandre Always Likes Things Hot
More people getting lit on fire. Are we surprised when the red priestess is roaming Castle Black with its thousands of prisoners? I suspect this is a continuation of the scene glimpsed earlier with Melisandre’s chosen “prize” falling beneath the flames.
Another Battle with Jon Snow
Jon Snow is leading the Night’s Watch into another battle. This will up the action quotient in the North and showcases Jon Snow assuming a leadership position after the Battle for the Wall.
What I guessed above might be Eastwatch by the Sea makes me wonder if it could also be an extension of this sequence. Jon Snow has no more battles in the fourth or fifth books of “A Song of Ice and Fire,” but he was definitely itching for one with the Others/White Walkers surrounding Wildlings off the eastern coast of Beyond the Wall. Jon Snow sends good men to their deaths to protect them from Eastwatch, but perhaps Jon Snow will make the journey himself on Game of Thrones? He had planned the excursion personally before Winterfell business distracted him elsewhere. Perhaps on the show, he will lead the assault as planned. But does it look like he is fighting White Walkers…or more Wildlings?
Obviously, she is one of the Sand Snakes. I’m not sure which one, but I think you get the idea…
The Queen of Thorns Grows Prickly
I am so happy that they’re providing more scenes for Diana Rigg. Once the best part of original The Avengers, and one of the best Bond girls, she works very well as the enigmatic matriarch of House Martell here. And she certainly delivers a threat very well.
But in this added scene for the wonderful Queen of Thorns, who is she implying to cut? My personal guess is that this is a wrathful promise made to Cersei Lannister or one of her minions after they falsely accuse Margaery Tyrell of Anne Boleyn-styled trumped up treason. However, it could also be her trying to warn Loras Tyrell not to lead the siege on Dragonstone like Cersei commands. My guess though is that it’s the former given the menace with which it is spoken.
Kill the Masters
And here again is a Brazen Beast, though one a lot less brazen. Or living. This will likely be connected to our first onscreen kill related to the “Sons of the Harpy.” Sons of the Harpy will be an underground organization of resistance to Queen Daenerys’ Meereen rule; they want to kill her and (ironically) restore Meereen to a slave state. But they’ll settle for her men.
His Name is Reek
It rhymes with weak.
Arya Reaches the House of Black and White
We finally have our first image of Arya Stark in the season five trailer. The character that played us out of season four feels intentionally withheld from screentime, but we’re happy to see her at last. She appears to be standing before a foreboding black and white door of bizarre, foreign markings. She’s definitely made it to Braavos.
Arya has made it to the home of the Faceless Men. The coin has taken her far, and inside her training will happily begin, making her the coldblooded killer we all love!
Arya and Needle
Arya loves her sword.
This is likely the moment where she must decide to keep Needle or give it up and leave “Arya Stark” behind. She of course cheats on both sides, unless Game of Thrones decides to go another way with it.
“Who Said Anything About Him”
Yep! In case you missed it, Tyrion and Varys are going on a quest to join the ranks of Daenerys Targaryen’s court.
Great Mother of Dragons
Given the coloring of the dragon breathing fire here (either green or yellow), that is Rhaegal or Viserion. It’s too dark to tell which, but it means these are the poor babies that got locked away by their mama at the end of season four.
My guess is this is the moment where a Prince of Dorne gets more than he bargained for.
Grey Worm and Missandei
Not from the book, but it’s great to see these two kids get together here.
Who’s Melisandre Trying to Seduce Now?
If I had to guess, she was certainly eyeballing Jon Snow for all his worth in the last season finale…
Daenerys and the Unsullied Make a Day of It
By juxtaposing this traveling image with an earlier one of the gladiatorial fighting pits, I would say this is Daenerys and her Unsullied strolling along on their way to catch Meereen’s favorite pastime.
Well, Jon Snow is definitely skirmishing with Wildlings then. Not in the book, so I’m intrigued.
Battle in Meereen
Here we see Brazen Beasts doing battle in the street.
Could we be seeing the Battle for Meereen in season five?! If so, kudos to Benioff and Weiss for keeping that a secret for this long! The much-anticipated finale of A Dance with Dragons ended in a whimper when Martin inexplicably stopped the novel with the drink but not the war. This looks like they may be correcting the poor plotting issues here.
A look of worry or dread is not something we often associate with Margaery Tyrell’s face. In fact, I’ve never seen her not be able to play a room with complete confidence and universal seduction (queen regents notwithstandiing). But as she clings to her boy king and possible husband, she looks absoutely terrified.
It’s called fear of death. My guess is that Cersei’s malevolent plan has sprung and either Margaery is being comforted by her lord husband, or she is begging for his mercy. I hope it’s the latter, because having already played Anne Boleyn, why not let Natalie Dormer take in a famous tragic moment from another fellow King Henry VIII wife, Katherine Howard, as well?
Daenerys’ Day Out Gets Ruined
The fighting pits sequence looks to crescendo with Daenerys, Missandei, and the Unsullied fending off the rest of Meereen. It would appear that Dany is not a fan of this big game.
Oh my Seven, are they going to do this sequence without Drogon showing up and going, “Garrrr?!” It appears totally possible. It’s not hard to imagine that Dany may lose her taste for the fighting pits again without Drogon’s interference. Perhaps the aforementioned Jorah being in danger could be the reason? Or perhaps it is a combination of both, and Drogon will show up for the grand finale, casting his big black shadow all over that vast sand pit?
Gold Harpy Down
If this is not a bad omen for Daenerys Targaryen’s rule of Meereen, I do not know what is!
At first glance, I suspected this would be a new addition to Drogon’s aerial rampage. However, those are definitely ropes bringing the harpy statue down. I have a good feeling the Battle for Meereen will be in season five! But this sequence does not speak well of Dany and the Unsullied’s chances.
***Let me know if I missed anything and join me for my Lord Crow Commander’s watch @DCrowsNest.