Fans finally got their first real look at the next season of Game of Thrones, and the series looks like it plans on outdoing itself. (Which is astounding, considering how Cersei basically blew up part of King’s Landing last year.) The events of the past few seasons have been littered with shocking deaths and over-the-top battles. But the seventh season raises the stakes beyond the petty wars between different kingdoms. Dragons are coming across the Narrow Sea, and White Walkers threaten to lay waste to the entire continent.
There’s still so much we don’t know about the upcoming season of Thrones, but the latest trailer provides a number of big clues for what we can expect.
Minor spoilers ahead.
Danaerys lands in Westeros
It’s taken seven seasons to get here, but Daenerys has finally made it to Westeros, and she’s got her dragons, Tyrion Lannister, and a massive army made up of Unsullied, Dothraki, and troops from Dorne, Highgarden, and the Greyjoys behind her.
As we saw in the earlier teaser, she’s setting up shop on the island of Dragonstone (Stannis’ former castle), but it’s clear that the Mother of Dragons has her eyes on a bigger prize. “I was born to the rule the Seven Kingdoms. And I will,” Daenerys intones in a voiceover, as Unsullied battle Lannister troops in what looks to be Casterly Rock.
And if the closing scenes of the trailer, with Drogon flying over a charging army of Dothraki, is anything to go by, the fight between Daenerys and Cersei for the Iron Throne is coming to a head.
Jon and Sansa’s rivalry
After the Battle for Winterfell at the end of last season, Jon Snow was crowned King of the North. Now, the North stands behind him as it prepares for the arrival of the White Walkers and their army of the dead. As Jon told his bannermen during last season’s finale, “The war is not over.”
But Jon’s new position would not have been possible without Sansa calling in the help of Littlefinger and the Knights of the Vale to turn the tide against Ramsay Bolton. Sansa has grown to be as cunning and ruthless as any of Jon’s enemies, thanks in no small part to Littlefinger. And Littlefinger has plans to rule all of Westeros, even if it means seeing it all burn down.
Jon and Sansa are the last Starks in Winterfell (Bran, now the Three-Eyed Raven, is still beyond the Wall) and they need each other to survive. But with Littlefinger in Sansa’s ear, there’s almost certainly going to be conflict that distracts from the Great War to come.
Arya will meet her next target
After killing Walder Frey and avenging her mother and brother’s murders, Arya Stark is now alone to wander the Riverlands and mull over the people on her list she still needs to kill. While many people on that list have died over the years, like King Joffrey and Tywin Lannister, several are still alive.
One person on her list is newly at large: Melisandre. Melisandre met Arya after a run-in with the Brotherhood Without Banners, and said, with an ominous tone, that they’d meet again.
After Ser Davos Seaworth discovered that Melisandre had ordered Shireen Baratheon be burned at the stake, Jon Snow banished her from Winterfell. Now, she’s riding south, right in Arya’s direction. It’s almost inevitable that these two meet — but don’t count on Arya killing Melisandre too quickly. There’s probably a lot the pair can learn about each other before the series is done.
The Second War for the Dawn
House Stark has been warning us from the very beginning that “Winter is Coming” and it is finally, finally here. We’ve seen the Night King and his massive army over the course of the past two seasons, and given that they’re reanimated corpses, we can only assume that said army has continued to accrue members. While the White Walkers and wights remain offscreen in the trailer, the threat of them bringing eternal winter to all of Westeros is realer than ever.
There have been hints of the Wall coming down in previous seasons, which would let the Walkers roam freely into Westeros. So far, we know that White Walkers can be defeated using Dragonglass and Valyrian steel, both of which are in very limited supply in Westeros. So while Cersei and Dany are battling for the Iron Throne down south, the real threat remains in the North — but for how much longer?
As Ser Davos warns an unseen listener, “If we don’t put aside our enmities and band together, we will die. And then it doesn’t matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne.”
There’s so much more to consider that we haven’t seen yet. What about Sam and Gilly in Oldtown? Will Bran escape the Night King? Whatever happened to Euron Greyjoy? Will we ever actually see Rhaegar Targaryen? But this new trailer lays the groundwork in the best way possible, getting us hyped for the series’s return this summer.
Game of Thrones returns on July 16th.