Releasing a teaser trailer about four months before the series begins is pretty standard practice for HBO’s smash hit show, Game of Thrones. If you’re somehow unfamiliar with the televisual phenomenon, then allow me to illuminate you in as brief an amount a time as possible. It’s a fantasy TV programme based on a (still unfinished) series of books by George RR Martin a man who loves to make his fans hate him, employing techniques such as killing your favourite characters, crafting some of the worst sex scenes ever committed to ink, detailing the histories and fates of a million characters you’ve never heard of and, chiefly, writing other things, doing live appearances and generally just fannying about instead of finishing the books. The books are bloated affairs, sagging under their own weight, lack of clear direction and the seeming absence of any sort of editor. The TV show, on the other hand, is a far more streamlined affair too much show for some book fans.
Before we go on Spoiler warning! Ahead there be dragons. Although, only about one second’s worth in the trailer.
Seriously, don’t read this next bit, because I’m going to talk about shit you don’t want to read unless you’re up to date on everything.
Ok, I think they’re all gone. So, the teaser is mainly a highlights reel of some of Thrones’ more gruesome moments. There’s no new footage on show here, as we see Sean Bean’s Eddard Stark beheaded (bringing a shocking first season end to his Beaning about, as shocking as it can ever be when Bean’s character dies in something, which is pretty much all the time), we also see Catelyn and Robb (his wife and son) come a cropper. There are some shots of snow zombies dicking about in the snow, as well as a brief flash of Daenerys on her dragons but the focus is visually mostly on Jon Snow, who was offed in the finale of season six. We spend more than half of the 40 seconds here watching him, and most of it is him staring off into the middle distance, looking pretty something that Kit Harrington is very good at.
Since Jon was murdered by his own brothers-in-arms at the Night’s Watch, fanspeculation has been rife about his possible survival, or resurrection. HBO are obviously keen to keep the buzz going, with the first poster for the new season featuring a bloodied Jon Snow, and this trailer focussing squarely on him. There is one hint to be found here, in that we cut from a shot of him lying dead to one of Bran opening his eyes which are glowing with his warg power, by which he puts his own mind into his wolf’s body. One of the most popular theories is that this is precisely what Jon will do with his own wolf, but I’m personally more inclined to think that it will be a straight resurrection so they can keep the character in Kit Harrington’s hot bod.
Speaking of Bran, he’s back! After taking season five off, the character is returning and plays a big part in this teaser. This grim highlights reel is the visual aide to go with new lines from the next season, spoken by Bran and new actor, Max von Sydow, who is slated to be playing the ThreeEyed Raven. It is Bran who gets the most fun line of the trailer, stating: “They have no idea what’s going to happen.” Contextfree, this is a fun and intriguing statement, laced with a flavour of the ominous. What does Bran know we don’t? Where has he been? Is Hodor okay? Please let Hodor be okay! When you add in some context it gets even more fun. The series is now fully steaming ahead of the books. For the first time every character’s plot has progressed further than it has in the novels, and so it is very true that the fans are now all alike in that none of us know what is going to happen.
The trailer isn’t anything hugely special, but it doesn’t need to be. With four months to go until the series returns, this is sufficient to keep the embers of speculation stoked and smouldering, ready to ignite in 2016.