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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 March 2019

'Game of Thrones': The biggest takeaways from the final season trailer

Spoliers ahead: From where the action takes place to which characters feature, we unpack some clues from the new clip

Spoilers for previous seasons ahead, scroll down with caution.

Mark it in your diaries: this year, winter is coming on April 14.

The new – and final – season of Game of Thrones will premiere next month on HBO, with the broadcaster unveiling a trailer for the eighth series of the fantasy epic on Tuesday evening.

The footage may be just two minutes long, but provides plenty of insights into what the ultimate chapter of the smash-hit show, based on the George R.R. Martin novels, has in store for fans.

Characters such as Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) all make an appearance in the clip – though if we know anything about GoT, that doesn't mean they'll necessarily survive the entire season.

The final series, which is helmed by creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, will comprise of six 90-minute, movie-style episodes, rather than the usual eight 60-minute segments.

Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen in the trailer for the final season of 'Game of Thrones'. Screen grab / HBO
Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen in the trailer for the final season of 'Game of Thrones'. Screen grab / HBO

Watch the official trailer above, and then scroll down some of the things we learnt in the 120-second teaser.

Arya is spooked

The youngest daughter of the Stark clan has grown into a deadly assassin with a list chock-full of targets in recent seasons – however, the unflinching Arya appears extremely unsettled in the opening shots of the clip. With a terrified look on her face, a bleeding, fearful Arya runs through a series of tunnels (that could be the Winterfell crypts) trying to outrun an unseen threat. For something to force the the usual calm and collected character to such apparent panic signals some serious drama ahead.

But she's still on her mission

Fans know that Arya's been scratching names off her deadly list for a while (House Frey could attest to that, if there was anyone else), and she still seems intent on seeing her quest through. "I know death. He's got many faces. I look forward to seeing this one," she later mutters coolly, brandishing a dragonglass dagger.

The Golden Company makes an appearance

Is this the Golden Company sailing into Westeros? Screen grab / HBO
Is this the Golden Company sailing into Westeros? Screen grab / HBO

Towards the end of season seven, Cersei revealed she had enlisted these mercenary soldiers to help her reclaim Westeros and fight off Jon and Daenerys, if needed. And a fleet of gilded soldiers made a brief appearance in the trailer, signalling that they're headed for King's Landing. Will they end up fighting for Cersei, or will they join the battle against the White Walkers? That still remains to be seen.

Also still to be seen is the figure at the front of the boat, who does not turn around during the trailer, though this could be our first glimpse of Golden Company leader, Harry Strickland (or the back of his head, at least).

The soldiers appear to be sailing on Iron Island ships, leading fans to speculate that Euron Greyjoy did not disappear to Pyke to escape war, as he suggested in season seven, and is instead returning to help his ally, Cersei.

Some key players are still alive

The last we saw of Tormund Giantsbane and Beric Dondarrion was as the Wall fell under the Night King's zombie-dragon-led assault. However the duo can be glimpsed amid a dark tunnel, alongside Dolorous Edd, in the teaser. Jorah, Davos Seaworth, Varys, Gendry, Tyrion Lannister, Podrick, the Hound, Bran Stark and Samwell Tarly can all be glimpsed in the clip, proving they survive at least some of season eight.

There's plenty of action

It's hardly breaking news, but expect epic battlefield scenes, swordfights amid flaming backdrops and troops marching into action, according to the trailer.

The snow-covered North seems like the primary location for most of the war sequences, though King's Landing appears to be the secondary spot where most of the season's plot will unfold.

The Unsullied, led by Grey Worm, can be seen preparing for battle, while a voice-over from Jon Snow warms of the danger ahead (not from Cersei, but from the undead): "They're coming. Our enemy doesn't tire. Doesn't stop. Doesn't feel."

Jaime appears to switch sides

Cersei and Qyburn appear to be in King's Landing. Screen grab / HBO
Cersei and Qyburn appear to be in King's Landing. Screen grab / HBO

The talented swordsman has long been loyal to twin sister Cersei, but that looks set to change.

"I promised to fight for the living," he vows during the trailer. "I intend to keep that promise." And indeed, a weary, bloodied Jaime is glimpsed on the battlefield later. Who he's fighting alongside remains to be seen, but with Cersei previously focused on settling old scores rather than holding back the White Walkers, one could assume her brother is now allied with Jon, Daenerys et al.

There's definitely another showdown with the undead

The trailer, rather ominously, ends with a line-up of warriors in the distance – including Jorah and Brienne of Tarth - before two skeletal hooves pad into view. Only six more weeks to wait, and then we can see what the writers truly have in store...

Updated: March 6, 2019 03:36 PM

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