These are the only words we hear in the latest trailer for Season 7 of Game of Thrones:
- “Don’t fight in the North, or the South. Fight every battle everywhere, always in your mind.” — Petyr Baelish
- “For centuries our families fought together against their common enemy. Despite their differences, together. We need to do the same if we’re going to survive. Because the enemy is real — it’s always been real.” — Jon Snow
- “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” — Sansa Stark
We’ve long known — thanks mostly to Jon, but also to truthers like Ser Davos — that the tribal conflicts plaguing Westeros were just measly preamble. The real war — the one the White Walkers will wage on every house in the seven kingdoms, the one that will determine the history of Westerosi civilization — was a little further down the road. But despite the bigger concerns, the relatively petty aims of the characters in Game of Thrones haven’t been set aside. Even as both Jon and Sansa seem to be preaching about the necessity of uniting to face a common enemy in this trailer, their words are laid over an onslaught of scenes depicting the exact opposite.
The Greyjoys, who at the end of last season allied with Daenerys, are descending on King’s Landing:
The Unsullied are locked in battle with the Lannisters:
Jaime Lannister is caught in battle as well, possibly responding to the defeat of his people (look at all that fire, and ask yourself where it may have come from):
And that leaves Jon in a precarious situation — out of anyone in this trailer, he seems to be in the gravest danger. Not only because Sansa’s parable makes mention of a “lone wolf” dying, but also because he’s out there more or less on his own. Davos is still riding with him, and Beric Dondarrion may be as well, but it’s pretty much just Jon, fighting White Walkers and an endless sea of wights while the rest of humankind kills each other.
As we get closer to the end of this show, it feels more and more like a treatise on the debilitating effects of tribalism: how humans choose to ignore ills that affect civilization universally in favor of personal goals. Judging from this trailer, it’s hard to see anyone taking Jon’s calls for togetherness seriously in Season 7. And that leaves him and the few others who recognize the urgent danger posed by the White Walkers on the brink of death. Then again, Jon survived the last time we saw him in a position like this …
… so maybe Sansa was just being poetic. The second-to-last season of Thrones starts July 16.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.