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Thoughts on HBO’s Bloodthirsty ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 Trailer

We are officially 40 days away from the premiere of Game of Thrones season 8 – aka the Final Season, aka The One Where Almost Everyone Dies – and today, HBO dropped the first, full official trailer for the final season. As the previous, shorter trailers teasing the longer trailer suggested, the details of these final six mammoth episodes are being held tightly under wraps; but it doesn’t mean there still aren’t some tasty little morsels tucked in there for the fans to nibble on.

Perhaps the most surprising part of the trailer is how forward-thinking it is; rather than release something celebrating the show’s legacy and offering bite-sized visuals from the final season, these two minutes of rapidly-shifting images suggest a show that’s ready to get to the fucking point, not diddle around in the history of Westeros any longer. There are certainly some nice little nods to the show’s past – Cersei mean mugging over a wine glass, Arya talking about death’s many faces, The Hound surrounded by fire – but for the most part, the surprisingly muted trailer is content with fantastical shots of dragons flying, and making sure almost every single main character gets to show their face for at least two seconds, in order to re-establish the baseline fact that Game of Thrones season 8 is finally ready to do some fucking killing (and probably some more sibling fucking, too, because well… it is Game of Thrones after all).

The blood lust in the trailer is palpable; since the Red Wedding, most of the major characters of GoT have enjoyed the luxury of plot armor, all the major pieces sliding neatly into their own isolated narratives, only coming together for big, showy moments full of dragon fire and middling plot development. This trailer, however, reminds us that war is finally hip in Westeros again, and things are going to get loud, smoky, and super bloody real fast. There’s no longer time for political intrigue or weird romances anymore: Game of Thrones wants to remind us that it’s here for some fucking murder, and 90% of the images in this trailer offer potential harbingers of doom for so many of the show’s iconic characters.

Beyond all the images of armies gathering and people running through smoky fires, Game of Thrones does offer a couple juicy glimpses into what could be the show’s most poignant moments of the final season, when the horniness for destruction is kept at bay. All of those images circle around the idea of legacy, and more specifically, the idea of “destiny” – a true return to the show’s source material, where the obsession over history has always shaped (and often foreshadowed) the decisions and events of the present. Jon Snow standing silently in front of the beautiful Winterfell family tree is the summation of these ideas, a man facing the end of an era, wondering how he will be defined alongside his adopted family in the annals of history.

It’s a very brief image, but easily the most powerful of the two minutes; you can keep the forty seconds of dragons flying around landscapes, I’m here for Jon, Jorah, Dany, The Spider, and Cersei all ruminating on the phrase uttered in the trailer, “Everything you did put you where you are now”. Game of Thrones season 8 will be defined by its blood, fire, and bones – but Game of Thrones the series will always be judged by the arcs of its main characters – and as we head into what is going to be a massive hype-building PR push, a gentle reminder of how important those arcs are is a slightly promising sign for these final episodes, which will finally debut on HBO April 14th. In the meantime, enjoy our episode-by-episode look back at the entire series!

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