Features and Columns · TV

Game of Thrones Season 6 Trailer: An In-Depth Spoiler Analysis

By  · Published on March 8th, 2016

“I choose violence.”

Today is a big day for Game of Thrones fans. It’s going to be a dividing line between committed book readers and HBO show loyalists. For today is the day in which we got to see the first actual footage from Game of Thrones season 6 via this explosive new trailer. At one minute and forty-one seconds, this trailer delivers the message of season 6 with resounding effect: this season is choosing violence.

And it’s convinced that Jon Snow is dead and gone, which is something I’ll address below in the spoiler section. First, let’s watch this trailer and enjoy the frenetic visuals of Game of Thrones set to a chilling version of “Wicked Game,” performed by James Vincent McMorrow.

In the section below, you’ll find my spoiler analysis. This will incorporate things we know from the books, photos leaked from the set and plenty of heavy speculation. Bring your tinfoil hats, as we’re headed to the Citadel of Crazytown with some thoughts, questions and predictions. But first, a visit from Walter White Walker, Lord of Spoilers.

The tone of this trailer is an excellent tease of what is to come. The major themes at play here include “How far the mighty have fallen” combined with “the power of the little guy,” particularly in the juxtaposition of a fallen Daenerys Targaryen, being led by the Dothrakis that have abducted her into Vaes Dothrak, their home base of sorts. In an impressive, albeit problematic (thanks to being the pearly whitest queen amidst a sea of people of color), shot, we Dany making her way toward what we believe to be the area of Vaes Dothrak where the Dothraki keep their widows. It’s not expected that she’ll stay long, but this will be an interesting journey to a new location, far deeper into Dothraki culture than we’ve been before. Look for Dany, the breaker of chains that she is, to not only escape but perhaps emerge with a Dothraki army at her back.

Which brings us to this shot of what is clearly Dany’s penthouse in Meereen. Things don’t appear to be going well for her former stronghold.

Especially if Tyrion is lurking around in a dungeon. Perhaps he’s freeing some captive dragons in an attempt to retake (or simply escape) the Sons of the Harpy, who will be undoubtedly bold now that Daenerys is missing.

We also get a shot at Ser Jorah, aka Greyscale Gary, who is still on the hunt with Daario.

And some Dothraki charging at something. Maybe a dragon. Probably not.

Back in Westeros, a Lannister returns home in a ship with a gorgeous Dornish sail.

After which he convinces Cersei that the loss of now two of their children shouldn’t dissuade them from trying to “take back everything and more” from those who have wronged them.

Cousin Lancel is one of those people from whom Jaime and Cersei will like to take things back. His offer: you can cooperate, or there will be violence.

Cersei chooses violence. Classic Cersei.

The good news is that she’s brought along her personal bodyguard, Frankenmountain.

Elsewhere in King’s Landing, we see Maergary Tyrell being lifted up by the High Sparrow. One of S6’s reported storylines is the freeing of Maergary, though not entirely by force. She turns herself over to The Faith and allows the light of The Seven into her heart, emerging a more humble, pious version of the ambitious queen we once knew. This appears to be her accepting her fate.

And this appears to be a bunch of House Tyrell soldiers (perhaps led by Randyll Tarly) outside the Great Sept of Baelor, asking nicely if their beloved lady can come out and play.

Elsewhere in Westeros, along a salty shore, the Ironborn have returned to the story. Note the Kraken banners of House Greyjoy and the white-haired priest (Aeron Damphair?) about to perform some kind of ceremony.

The ceremony involves what appears to be Euron (newcomer Pilou Asbaek) being baptized by that same long-haired Priest of the Drowned God. Welcome to the party, Euron Crow’s Eye. Perhaps he’s come back to take the seat of power in the Iron Islands. Perhaps he has bigger plans (he’s definitely got bigger plans).

More on the next page, including checking in with all the Stark children, alive, dead and otherwise.

Before we get to the real money shots of this trailer, let’s check in on a few characters who are still milling about. Sansa Stark is looking rather alive and unbroken (she survived one hell of a fall) and is comfortably inside some other Northern Lords holding.

Arya Stark, still blind.

But also (probably) doing some parkour as part of her summer internship at the House of Black and White.

Brienne is still doing fierce things in the woods, perhaps making her way south toward the Riverlands for a late-season rendezvous with a war-hardened priest, a previously dead character and a silent lady.

And Littlefinger is still kicking around. Who has he found in the woods? Sansa Stark?

But finally, we move to the storyline that everyone cares about most: everything happening in the North of Westeros, both inside the protection of The Wall and beyond. The trailer goes to great and immediate lengths to tell us that Jon Snow is dead and gone. Really gone. Never coming back.

Except for the fact that he just keeps showing up in this trailer.

All the way to the end. Everyone seems to be standing over him having all kinds of important conversations. Maybe Kit Harington was telling the truth. Maybe he does spend most of the season lying around as an ever-freezing corpse.

But then, why would Ser Davos appear to be trying to break his body out of Castle black with the help of Jon’s friends and his trusty dog ghost.

Why is Davos standing next to the remains of a funeral pyre where there is no body?

Why would we see a flashback that involved a Targaryen King’s Guard soldier fighting off a long brown-haired man outside what could very well be the Tower of Joy, where Jon Snow is alleged to have been born as the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark?

And why is Melisandre, a woman who is clearly distraught about her failed predictions, about to get busy and take some kind of sex-magic from someone.

Beyond that, why are the Boltons mustering a huge army and burning what appears to be the remains of a Thenn (or maybe just a badly flayed man)?

And what is Tormund Giantsbane, a good friend of Jon Snow, doing fighting an army carrying the Flayed Man shields of the Boltons?

Also, as Joanna Robinson points out via the Storm of Spoilers Twitter account, doesn’t the guy riding through this big battle (in the middle of this GIF) look a lot like the floppy-haired hero Jon Snow?

I suppose it’s possible that everyone has moved on to other things and there’s another man with copious locks running around The North, fighting off Boltons. But Jon Snow was really important. He’s the kind of person who, if he were an instrument of destiny, might rise again and lead someone like Tormund into battle against the evil forces that are literally peeling the skin off of his homeland. None of this adds up to “Jon Snow is dead and never coming back.”

But you knew that already. One thing you didn’t know: that Bran’s visions would take us here:

There’s your money shot. Guess who’s back? Ice Zombie Boogieman, The Night’s King. When Bran told the Three-eyed Raven “they don’t know what’s coming” in the first season 6 teaser, perhaps this is what he’s talking about. We know, as the audience, that the army of the undead is growing in numbers and heading south for a long winter. But the people of Westeros proper haven’t seen the devastation first hand just yet. It’s going to take a son of Stark child (or five) to bring balance to the forces of Ice and Fire.

What did you think of the trailer? Let’s discuss every nook and crannie in the comments below.

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)