HBO has sent fans buzzing with the latest Game of Thrones teaser for Season 8. The Winterfell-set video shows the Starks making their way through the tunnels leading to the crypts, and it also revealed the season's long-awaited release date.
The thrilling video is rich with callbacks to the past, as well as potential clues pointing to the future. The time has now come to review the five biggest takeaways from Game of Thrones' latest teaser.
1. Sansa At The Center
During the video, the Starks separately make their way to the base of the Winterfell crypts. Their journey ends in the final moments with the siblings side by side. When they arrive, Sansa is in an interesting position, centered between Jon Snow and Arya. So what does that mean, if anything?
Well, Sansa being in the center could hint that she will be at the true center of the action in Season 8, and there is ample reason to believe she will be. Sansa has been featured in both of the previously released promos from Game of Thrones' final season, embracing Jon in the first and welcoming Daenerys to Winterfell in the second. Could Season 8 be the "Season of Sansa?"
It is possible. It is also possible Game of Thrones wanted Sansa in between Jon and Arya to not ruin the presumable Season 8 reunion between the siblings/cousins. Seeing Jon and Arya next to each other could have been seen as diluting the build-up to the characters' much-anticipated reconnection. Having Sansa in between them also offers the sword-wielding Starks a chance to brandish their signature weapons, putting Sansa in a prime position to be protected.
2. The Significance Of The Statues
This brings us to my next takeaway, which questions if all of the Stark siblings be worried about those statues shown. In the teaser, the statues clearly fill each of the Starks with similar reactions. In the world of Game of Thrones, seeing a sculpture of yourself is not a good omen, and is in fact quite the contrary message.
Statues in the Winterfell crypts have typically been commissioned after someone dies. Hence, the varying but equally upset reactions from Arya, Sansa, and Jon upon seeing their ominous likenesses. That being said, there is something significant to discover if you study each statue carefully. Sansa and Arya appear to be the same age as their sculptures, whereas Jon Snow's sculpture seems to depict the character as older than he is now.
As Jon's torch moves to light his statue, you can get a particularly good glimpse of its face. At this viewpoint; the sculpture appears to be a rendering of Jon during a more mature time in his life. Maybe it is unintentional, but the statue does not seem to be capturing Jon in his 30, and if that is the case, fans may need to worry about the Stark sisters' fates.
3. The Potential Existence Of A Stark Curse
Throughout the video, you can hear audio clips from earlier episodes, and among the voices heard is Catelyn Stark's. She can be heard saying that all of the horrors that have befallen her family have been caused by her inability to "love a motherless child," presumably referring to Jon Snow.
Catelyn had previously told this to Robb Stark's wife, Talisa, with the origin of this belief being that Catelyn had wished Jon would get sick and die as a child. Shortly after that, he came down with a serious illness, and Catelyn was horrified by her hope coming to true, so she prayed to all of the gods for Jon to be healed. She vowed that she would love him as her own, and encouraged Ned to give him the Stark name.
Catelyn did not keep her word after lil' Jon Snow recovered, however. Thus, she believed that her family was being punished for her actions. So, the teaser could be hinting that Season 8 will reveal whether or not Catelyn's beliefs of family curses is a legitimate worry. It is indeed disquieting that Game of Thrones wanted to refresh viewers' memory of Catelyn's words leading into the final season.
4. No Bran
There was one Stark sibling that was noticeably absent from the Winterfell teaser -- Bran. His absence is startling because he could be playing one of the most important parts in Game of Thrones' final chapter. He is, after all, the Three-Eyed Raven, and along with Samwell Tarly, he also holds the key to Jon's true identity.
So, it is not like Game of Thrones would have left him out of the teaser because he won't be prominent in the Starks' story going forward. The question it does raise, though, is whether Bran will still retain his Stark identity. After all, when he returned to Winterfell, he did not do so as his former self.
Bran was despondent and emotionally cold in Season 7. As could be seen in one particularly disconcerting scene with Sansa, Bran seemed to have left his identity as Bran Stark behind, and this teaser hints that change may not be a short-term sentiment for Winterfell's heir. If the promo's symbology is to be taken at face value, Bran may no longer be considered a Stark.
5. That Feather
If you are wondering how a feather found its way into Winterfell's crypts, you have to go back to Season 1 for the answer. Robert Baratheon is the one who placed the feather in the hand of Lyanna Stark's statue, and he put it there before lamenting her loss with her brother, Ned.
The fact that we see that feather floating through the air feels very symbolic of...something. The feather symbolized Robert's belief in the lie that he and everyone else in the Seven Kingdoms held faith in, that Rhaegar Targaryen had kidnapped Lyanna. The feather floating away seems to hint that the myth might finally leave Lyanna's hands with Jon's true identity being revealed.
It is interesting that this feather, which is so tied to the lies surrounding Lyanna and Rhaegar's relationship, would end up being ensconced in ice. Is it a coincidence, or does it have a much more significant meaning? Is there a reason that it would be one of the first things to go?
The latest Game of Thrones video, which may not even directly relate to Season 8's storyline, should satiate fans as they await the big premiere on April 14. The great news for fans of House Stark is that these characters have been front and center in promos leading into the final season, which bodes well for those who want to see the beleaguered family play a central role in the finale.
As wonderful as it was to see the Starks together, the teaser managed to keep from giving fans too much of a good thing. It cleverly kept Jon and Arya shared screentime from feeling like a true reunion, and did just enough teasing to make fans question which moments were the most prescient. So, the powers that be at Game of Thrones know what they're doing.
If the teaser is any indication, Jon Snow's true origins should play heavily into the final season. The question is what he will do with the information. Find out when Game of Thrones' eighth and final season premieres on HBO on Sunday, April 14, at 9:00 p.m. ET. The new season is among many awaiting viewers in the midseason.
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Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.