So, A Day in Life - a documentary covering a day of shooting of Game of Thrones - has arrived, and besides giving some interesting looks into the process of actually producing the show, it also gives us some crucial new information about the storylines playing out. I will analyze them based on the information we're getting in the trailer.
While we still get nothing at all about the Northern storyline, we get plenty for the Wall. Apparantly, Jon will lead a ranging to Hardhome. Given how bad they bungled the Night's Watch plot last season, this makes me at least edgy. Why are they leading a ranging that the books agreed on was a really, really dumb idea? My feeling is that besides the name and the "dead things in the water", they didn't really take that much from the original Hardhome story and instead created something entirely new. It's not clear at all whether or not Jon is Lord Commander by the time this happens; it might very well be that they decided to send him up there first. However, that seems unlikely to me. The nature of the scene ("most complex of the season") shows me that it's likely episode 9 (with Dany's pit being 10), analogous to last season. Of course I could be mistaken and they regard Dany as episode 9 and put it an early climax like with the Purple Wedding, but somehow I doubt that. I'm at least very cautious about the nature of the Plot Beyond the Wall this season. Fingers crossed.
In King's Landing, we can see Cersei confronted with the poverty of the city, a theme that took its sweet time in arriving in the series. It's funny that the High Sparrow is actually called that in the series, but I don't think it's a bad decision. The office of High Septon wasn't introduced before, so it doesn't matter, and the title is really catchy. So good call. What's interesting is the obvious presence of Ser Meryn Trant, which likely sets him up for a kill this season. Steven Attewell suspects that he might take Raff the Sweetling's role in "Mercy", which would work really well, considering how he killed Syrio Forell. It also seems like Cersei is thrown shit at, which should be satisfying to watch.
The Harpy is definitely killing people, and Dany is discussing how to react with Ser Barristan (haven't spotted Daario). But the more important bit here is of course the great fighting pit that will feature another epic scene with Unsullied fighting guys from 300 or something. We see Ser Jorah fighting someone, which points to him being sold into slavery alongside Tyrion and then ending up in the pit. I'd wager that much of it will play out like in the books, only with Dany recognizing both of them, leading to a moment like in season 2 with Renly's alliance proposal - only for the triumph to be somewhat interrupted by Drogon's arrival. Generally, a much condensed but largely faithful storyline of ADWD seems to be expected.
The most intriguing setting is, of course, the completely new Dorne, realized in Sevilla, Spain. Not only does the location look beautiful, the effort going into it also shows that this will really be a central new spot. No way this only reserved for some scenes of Doran talking to Arianne (or whoever took her spot). Jaime and Bronn going down there is the only sensible solution, to tie the old cast to the new (a Sand Snake, capitalizing on the collective fanboner over Oberyn, Doran Martell and Areoh Hotah for sure). I am really excited to see how this will play out. My guess is that they will largely recreate the story beats from the Dornish storyline in AFFC, only with the added "what if Jaime was there" pitch, much like King's Landing was handled last season.
Anyone else noticed that no Martin was in this documentary? One expected him at least to explain the general setting once again, but it seems the show is now confident enough to emancipate from him. As already mentioned, the northern storyline is missing completely. We also didn't see anything of Tyrion, Varys or Illyrio. I still think that Varys' presence in the trailer is a red herring and that he will essentially take Illyrio's role in ADWD, abandoning Tyrion fairly quickly. We also didn't see anything of the Wall proper or of Braavos, where Arya will now undergo her training. But I guess that's left for future trailers.