What the Latest Game of Thrones Teaser Means for the Final Season

We unpacked all the hints and allusions to earlier episodes in the trailer.


Last week, the Golden Globes brought with them a brief (like, five seconds brief) clip of the next season of Game of Thrones. This week, it was the third-season premiere of True Detective that brought with it a similar bounty, in the form of a one-minute-and-19-second teaser, featuring Sansa and Arya Stark and their adoptive brother, Jon Snow; some ominous stone statues carved in their likeness; and the looming threat of the White Walkers. There’s even a release date! April 14—mark your calendars.

In the teaser, a determined-looking, man-bunned Jon Snow (Kit Harington) strides down a corridor beneath Winterfell, brandishing a flaming torch. He passes the statue of Lyanna Stark as a feather drifts down; he pauses as it hits the floor. Cut to Sansa, walking with similar determination past the statue of her mother, Catelyn Stark. Finally, Arya enters, and the three converge at the end of the tunnel, where they find three more statues—of themselves. A frost creeps across the ground, a fog builds at the other end of the crypt, and Jon and Arya draw their weapons.

The new teaser isn’t rightly a trailer, nor a preview—as the Ringer pointed out, the scenes depicted won’t actually appear in the show, but they gesture to the themes with which the new season will be concerned. And, at just 80 seconds, it’s filled to the brim with references to previous seasons, offering a hint of how the final season will attempt to wrap up everything that has preceded it. Here’s what we gleaned from HBO’s latest tantalizing release—that is, unless the fan theories that it’s all a Bran Stark fever dream hold true.

The statues

The three Stark children (or two official Starks, one unofficial Stark) pass by their respective parents on their way to their own statues. There’s Lyanna—revealed in the season-six finale to be Jon’s mother; Rhaegar Targaryen, the so-called Mad King, was his father—whom Jon does not yet know is his mother. There’s Catelyn and Ned, the late lords of Winterfell, whose deaths, in part, propel their children to seek revenge, and the throne. The statues also preside over the tombs of each of the deceased; given that the end of the clip finds Sansa, Arya, and Jon looking at their own, it’s perhaps a hint that they are staring down their own impending doom.

The dialogue

As each of the surviving Stark scions make their way down the corridor, they seem to hear voices reciting lines from earlier episodes. “You have to protect him,” Lyanna says—an allusion to a moment in the sixth season when she begs Ned Stark to take care of her newborn son. “All this horror that has come to my family,” Catelyn murmurs (in the show’s third season, and again here), “it’s all because I couldn’t love a motherless child”—again, a reference to Jon Snow, and to how Catelyn struggled to adopt him into her family, thinking him her husband’s bastard son. (He was not.) “You are a Stark,” Ned finally says—as he said to Jon Snow in the first season, as Jon was heading to the Wall to join the Night’s Watch. “You might not have my name, but you have my blood.” (He does not.)

The feather

As Jon Snow sweeps past the statue of Lyanna, a feather drifts to the ground. Robert Baratheon, the late king of Westeros who sits on the throne at the start of the series, used to bring feathers to Lyanna as tokens of his affection; in the fifth season, when Sansa wanders the crypt, she picks up a feather and places it in Lyanna’s hand. As of the end of the seventh season, Jon still hadn’t caught on that he’s actually a Targaryen and has a legitimate claim to the throne—but the appearance of his mother in the teaser is strong evidence that a revelation is coming.

The frost

Winter is coming. Or didn’t you get the memo?