“I know death. He’s got many faces. I look forward to seeing this one.”
With just over a month to go until the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones debuts, the show has delivered yet another shocking twist: There’s actually a trailer. Months passed with scant seconds of real footage—plus a teaser from the crypts of Winterfell laying out the final season’s key themes—a strategy that implied we wouldn’t get a proper look at Thrones Season 8. If their version of a Super Bowl spot was enlisting Drogon to roast the Bud Knight in peak crossover content, why would HBO do anything more with only two months remaining until the premiere?
And yet here we are, with around 90 seconds of new footage to obsess over. It’s all awesome, if only because it serves as a reminder of what made Thrones a cultural phenomenon.
As the trailer shows, our heroes—along with Westeros’s preeminent red wine enthusiast, Queen Cersei—have reached the endgame. (No, not that one.) The White Walkers have breached the Wall and are storming south, with thousands of wights and a goddamn ice dragon. Winter has finally arrived and the dead have come with it; you know the drill. The Thrones trailer is, primarily, here to serve as a reminder of the world-ending stakes; the fascinating alliances being formed to fight against the dead; the awkward pin waiting to drop when Jon Snow finds out he boned his biological aunt; and Cersei hanging out in King’s Landing with Zombie Mountain, Qyburn, and, perhaps somewhere off screen, Euron Greyjoy, the Adam Levine of Westeros.
Not gonna lie, Cersei looks like she’s having the best time of the bunch, even if her place on the Iron Throne feels like the sovereign equivalent of captain of the Titanic, just before it set off on its maiden voyage.
Plenty of action at Winterfell is being teased, with the hooves of a White Walker’s undead horse setting a foreboding tone at the end of the teaser. As Entertainment Weekly broke down on Monday, the actors went through a physical gantlet to film the battle against the White Walkers, with director Miguel Sapochnik likening the grand scale to the intense climactic battle in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. (No surprise, then, that the lone shot of Varys in the trailer has major Helm’s Deep vibes.)
If anyone needed reminding, Game of Thrones returns on April 14. To echo Arya Stark, I—along with millions of people, no doubt—look forward to seeing this one.
Disclaimer: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.