Updated: 23rd April 2018

What the heck is happening in that ‘Game of Thrones’ promo?

Any questions?
Image: hbo

At first glance, the new promo trailer for Game of Thrones Season 7 is just a badass montage of pretty people walking slowly through hallways while James’ “Sit Down” plays atmospherically in the background.

But this is Thrones, damnit, where every sight, sound and sigh has meaning. So let’s break down all the potential clues about Season 7 hidden in this chilling new teaser and speculate wildly!

First, give the teaser another watch, because it’s pretty awesome:

The Song

On the most basic level, the promo borrows heavily from the imagery of the original music video for “Sit Down” which begins with three very different chairs, including an obvious throne. (We get deep about the song and its meaning here, if you want to fall down the rabbit hole.)

Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) was crowned queen of Westeros at the end of Season 6 after the suicide of her son, Tommen, so she’s sitting pretty on the Iron Throne in King’s Landing in the promo.

Jon Snow (Kit Harington) was named King in the North following the defeat of Ramsay Bolton (which he mostly owed to Sansa and Littlefinger, let’s be honest), so he’s back home in the Great Hall of Winterfell.

At the end of Season 6, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) set sail to Westeros with her army, and the promo sees her taking a seat on a throne seemingly made of rock. While there’s a chance she’s walking through the secret passages below the Red Keep at King’s Landing which were built by her ancestor, King Maegor I Targaryen smart money is that she’s in the previously unseen Throne Room at Dragonstone, former home of Stannis Baratheon (RIP) and the ancestral seat of House Targaryen in Westeros.

The placement of the lyrics is also telling.

The words, “Those who feel the breath of sadness, sit down next to me,” are sung over shots of Jon and Dany walking; both characters have arguably lost more than anyone else in the show their lovers and family members, in addition to their true identities and claims to the Iron Throne, which would make anyone pretty sad.

Could this shared line also be a hint at an alliance between the two, fulfilling the promise of George R. R. Martin’s title for his series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire? Let’s hope so!

Cersei, meanwhile, gets the line “Those who find they’re touched by madness, sit down next to me.” The woman just blew up half her city and and a hefty swath of her political enemies with wildfire eerily reminiscent of the Mad King and she also doesn’t seem too bothered about the fact that her son just threw himself off a balcony because of it, so madness seems like a fair description.

The song then repeats “In love, in fear, in hate, in tears,” which is a spot-on description of Game of Thrones if ever I’ve heard one, before the chorus of “oh, sit down” kicks in.

The Visuals

Cersei and Jon are seen where we left them, so that’s not particularly groundbreaking news, but the fact that Dany is on land is telling hopefully that means we’ll pick up Season 7 with her getting to her destination, without any further seafaring shenanigans.

Long live the queen!

Image: hbo

If she is indeed chilling at Dragonstone, that means she’s reclaiming her family’s traditional seat of power in Westeros, and using that as a home base to organize her forces. While there, she’ll hopefully be able to pick up a few more followers from the surrounding islands who are willing to join her cause since some other houses in the area are also of Valyrian descent and probably weren’t wild about the Baratheons.

But it’s also worth noting that Dragonstone is located on an island, not mainland Westeros, which still keeps Dany separated from the action although we can’t imagine we’ll have to wait long before she launches her first attack on the Lannisters.

It seems more logical for her to land on Dragonstone than to make straight for King’s Landing (although she’ll undoubtedly make use of the Red Keep’s secret passages at some point), especially since Stannis’ forces were wiped out by the Boltons and he murdered his only heir, leaving the castle ripe for the taking.

Dany and Jon’s thrones also demand further inspection: Dany’s seat is made of stone fitting, for a place called Dragonstone which just so happens to be a material that can withstand intense heat (like, say, dragon fire) far better than iron can.

Our favorite khaleesi has already vowed to make some changes when she reclaims Westeros (“I’m not going to stop the wheel, I’m going to break the wheel”), and her choice of throne is a perfect example of that. She looks confident and regal, but not particularly happy, as she takes her seat, while Cersei smirks slightly, foolishly secure in her position now that she has the power she’s always craved.

Jon, on the other hand, clearly doesn’t feel like a king and he’s always been a fairly reluctant leader, much like his uncle father Ned Stark which explains his slightly resigned expression as he walks the halls of Winterfell.

Jon’s got bigger problems than the Iron Throne.

Image: hbo

He’s always felt like an imposter in the Stark family, so he sits uneasily in Ned’s seat, wearing the cloak that Sansa made him that’s designed to look like their father’s.

But Jon has another reason to feel uneasy he’s faced the Night King and he knows that the White Walkers are right on his doorstep.

He’s been named King in the North (we all know how well that worked out for Robb), but how long will he stay there? As he looks at the Great Hall and the corridors he grew up in, perhaps he’s preparing to say goodbye to the only home he’s ever known and march out against the White Walkers? Maybe his subdued expression is because he plans to give Sansa stewardship of Winterfell and responsibility over the North while he goes to war the gods know she’s earned it.

The promo then cuts to Jon, Dany and Cersei closing their eyes as the candles blow out is that an ominous hint that one of them will die this season? (Sorry, Cersei.) Or perhaps it’s a way of teasing that the White Walkers are coming, their chill snuffing out the light, just like winter is taking over Westeros?

The next shot of Cersei certainly seems to imply that she blows out an icy breath that’s visible in the air. King’s Landing is pretty drafty, but we’re probably supposed to make the connection between her and the Night King, since we fade to black on Cersei before zooming out to reveal the frosty blue eye of the villain.

Some men just want to watch the world freeze.

Image: hbo

Could Cersei be hoping to make an alliance with the Night King? She definitely doesn’t look too bothered by the drop in temperature. The White Walkers don’t seem like the type to make bargains with humans, but that probably wouldn’t stop Cersei trying.

The shot might be a clue that Cersei will die first, before the Night King tries conquering the rest of Westeros, but since the White Walkers are currently up North and have a lot of ground to cover before they get to King’s Landing, she’s probably in less danger from them than she is everyone else on the continent that currently wants her dead.

Most likely, the shot is just designed as a reminder that winter is here and that all of our would-be rulers have far bigger things to worry about than who’s on the Iron Throne.

As Jon says in a new piece of dialogue from the first Season 7 teaser, “There is only one war that matters: the great war, and it is here.”

Or it will be on July 16, which is still much too far away.

Kayla Bazile, Proma Khosla, Chris Taylor and Kate Sommers-Dawes contributed to this story.

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