It’s official: Winter is coming in April! After over a year of waiting for the show’s return, Game of Thrones fans will finally see the epic conclusion of the award-winning HBO series based on the incredible (and still unfinished) books by George R.R. Martin. Spoilers ahead, so beware!
HBO has released the official date for the premiere of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones and expectations are high. The last season ended with some big reveals and one earth-shattering cliffhanger.
You may remember that after killing one of Daenerys Targaryen’s three dragons and turning it into a blue-fire-breathing zombie dragon, the Night King destroyed the Wall and now descends upon Westeros with a team of White Walkers and an army of wights. Although we don’t know exactly what they want, their hard stance on making sure nothing ever breathes again is a good indicator that things are looking bleak for the Seven Kingdoms.
Of course, one of the first stops on the march south will be Winterfell, where the remaining Stark children seem to have put their differences aside in preparation for the impending war. But it’s the game-changing revelation of Jon Snow’s parentage that has so many die-hard fans anxiously awaiting the show’s return. So, what does it all mean for the fate of Westeros?
HBO recently released a teaser that may offer some clues.
It’s likely this clip is just a promo rather than an actual scene from Season 8, but nothing in the production of this show is done by mistake, and there are plenty of conclusions we can draw.
The scene opens in the crypts of Winterfell. As Jon, Sansa, and Arya walk past the different tombs, we hear the echoes of their dead relatives. First, there is Lyanna Stark who pleads from her death bed for the protection of her son, Jon. Then, Catelyn Stark ponders whether doom has befallen her family because she had always mistreated Jon. And last, we hear Ned Stark’s cryptic allusion to Jon’s half-Stark, half-Targaryen heritage. The three living Starks then converge at a single spot in the crypts and stand face-to-face with their own tombs. Their torchlight is blown out and an icy fog approaches before the scene cuts to black.
So much of what’s in this trailer is about Jon, so it’s likely that the fate of Westeros will fall into his hands. But the fact that these beloved characters are facing images of their own deaths should worry us all; the show’s writers have made it clear that they’re not afraid to kill off major players.
Show watchers and book readers are on equal footing now, so it’s anyone’s guess what will happen, but there are a few things I am fairly sure of.
1. Cersei will pay her debts. Joffrey Lannister and Ramsey Snow have performed acts of senseless cruelty in past seasons, and while it seems like the Night King is a shoo-in for the evilest ruler this side of the Narrow Sea, my money is on Cersei Lannister as the true villain of Season 8. She has shown herself to be capable of incredible violence, and now that she and her twin brother/lover have split, she may become entirely unhinged and prove to be as dangerous as the threat in the North. Mark my words. Cersei will have her comeuppance, and Jamie, the valonqar she never saw coming, will be the one to give it to her.
2. There will be major reunions. For most of the series, we’ve watched characters being ripped away from the people they love, but Season 8 promises a few highly-anticipated reunions. First, there is Jamie and Brienne whose “will they won’t they” situation may become a little less complicated without Cersei in the picture. Gendry, who we last saw north of the Wall, will be glad to call Arya m’lady again. And finally, there’s the showdown between the Mountain and the Hound (or “Cleganebowl” as the internet calls this sibling rivalry) which will undoubtedly be a gut-wrenching fight to the death. I’m calling the Hound for the win.
3. Everyone will die. We all know it’s coming. As much as we have come to care for the characters on this show, there really is no neat and tidy way to wrap this story up without cheapening the drama we’ve grown to love. Therefore, brace yourselves. We’ve been hearing it from the beginning: valar morghulis (all men must die). And now, we’re only months away from finding out who—if anyone—will win the Iron Throne. But let’s not forget the words of Ramsay Snow: “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”
The final season premieres on HBO April 14 (at 9/8c).
A girl will be watching. How about you? Let us know on social media, and tell us some of your predictions for Season 8!