Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Game of Thrones Season 8 trailer analysis

This post comes out of a new series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to mini-podcasts I'm doing with Sean T. Collins answering questions by listeners of the podcast. Give the Patreon a look!  
 
The first trailer for Game of Thrones Season 8 dropped! It's THE FINAL SEASON (all in caps). So, naturally, it wants to be examined. Given the time-sensititive nature of this release, I'll do it today instead of in a week, so the next installment of these mini-essays (and, for only 1$ more, the audio version!) will come end of the month, before you're confused about the release schedule.
With that out of the way, into medias res! 
 
.00-0.07 - We start of with a close-up of Arya's upper face. She's dirty and bloody, panting and obviously dangerously afraid. Given the confident "I'm a ninja assassin" state we left her in, that's a stark (heh) contrast.
0.07-0.09 - And with a little jump scare, she starts running through what seems to be Winterfell. The crypts even, maybe.
0.10-0.20 - Arya running is now doubly intercut. We see the state of things with other characters: Davos walking the walls of Winterfell, keeping watch. Varys and a horde of civilians in some cavern, listening intently to whatever is happening outside. Getting a strong vibe of Helm's Deep here. At the same time, we get a monologue by Arya as a voice-over, juxtaposed to her running: "I've seen death. It's got many faces."
0.20-0.25 - Now a final shot of her holding an obsidian blade. She's condifent again, stating the end of the voice-over, now diegetic: "I look forward to seeing this one." It's a nice idea to connect her new ideology of the many-faced god with the direct incorporation of death (the White Walkers); this should for some compelling character work and reaction. Arya might even look upon them as competition, from one professional killer to another. I'm excited to see what they're going to do this. That she's holding an obsidian blade also speaks volumes. The question the trailer now poses is this: does the monologue come before the running or after? My money's on the former.
0.25-0.27 - "On April 14". Always good to be reminded.
0.27-0.30 - Three Greyjoy ships, with a guy in white armor and a scimitar around the belt in front of some troops. I can't really make out the details. Is this Jaime? Who are the soldiers? It looks more like Dany's army crossing, to be honest, but I'm really lost at this image.
0.31-0.35 - "Everything you did brought you to where you are now", Bran gravely intones. Well, no shit, you brat, that's true of everyone, everytime, ever. It's intercut with images of Tormund, Beric and Ed (theremnants of the Night's Watch, basically) walking through some tunnel with a torch, and Sam (with Bran) looking ominously aside from the camera. Portents of doom! I'll keep my caps for now.
0.35-0.40 - "Where you belong", finishes Bran, intercut with images of the Red Keep, where Cersei is looking at...something, having that "I just bit down hard on a lemon"-look on her face that Lena Heady does so well, with Qyburn looking worried in the background. Are the Others here? Somehow I doubt it.
0.40-0.51 - Now we're getting our money shot! Que for goosepimples! The Unsullied, in lockstep, are marching out of Winterfell. This suggests their previous arrival, so at least, the forces of humanity not in league with Cersei managed to get together at Winterfell. We cut to Sansa, watching the two remaining dragons (the trailer makes REALLY sure you notice it's only two) flying over the wall, in a low angle shot for maximum affect, and then switches to a helicopter camera of the dragons soaring in the air, over Winterfell and the marching army. Fuck yeah!
0.52-0.56 "They're coming", says Jon Snow, because he's Gandalf now. Really drawing heavily on the "Lord of the Rings" imagery here. He meets Dany in some hallway. We're getting a lot of hallway scenes this season. Then Kit Harrington does his best emo look while Emilia Clarke looks at him in what seems to be intended as compassion. Perhaps the scene becomes better with context; Jon in voice-over, meanwhile, declares: "Our enemy doesn't tire." Very, very blunt, HBO.
0.56-0.59 - "Doesn't stop", Jon goes on, while Gendry forges a sword. Maybe it's the sword of a king, from the shards? Really, this couldn't be more "Lord of the Rings" if Elrond showed up. I'm not complaining, by the way. Steal from the best.
0.59-1.03 - "Doesn't feel", says Jon in a nice bit of irony as Jorah Mormont reigns in his horse in the courtyard (I'm projecting, but surely he's seeing Jon and Dany make out) and, in the next frame, Missandei and Grey Worm kissing hard before Grey Worm joins the troops to march out. This all feels like it comes from bascially the same ten minutes of the same episode, so HBO is keeping a lot of cards to their chest. Smart game.
1.03-1.05 - Jaime screaming during some fight, with lots of fire in the background. We'll get many night scenes if the trailer is any guide, and that's appropriate. Second Long Night and stuff.
1.06-1.10 - Cersei, in tears, in a very dark throne room, with a glass of wine. Things are not looking good for her. I'd go out on a limb here and speculate that this is taken out of context, deliberately cut to seem like the White Walkers are coming from her. But I doubt this is the correct context here.
1.11-1.14 - Soaring music, and dragons swooping in over snowy forests like gunships, then going through a gorge.
1.14-1.16 - Arya, with civilians in what may be the same gorge, her face going from astonishment to wonder to joy. Again, very Helm's Deep, but of course, this might just be clever editing to fool us.
1.17-1.24 "I promised to fight for the living, and I intend to keep that promise!" Jaime intones over an image of Grey Worm getting ready for battle and then finishing off with him delivering the line. It's intercut with Jon standing in front of the Winterfell weirwood and running towards some enemy in that night battle illuminated by fire. There are also other people running, horses riding, maybe in the same battle and scene, maybe not. Lots of fighting, is the jist of it.
1.24-1.26 This must be the most important shot of the trailer. Jon and Dany walk towards the two dragons, clearly intent on mounting them. DRAGONRIDERS! There, that's what I saved my caps for. This is going to be fucking epic.
1.26 - In the next frame, Sansa agrees, looking amazed.
1.27-1.28 - More people fighting in the night while stuff burns. Too fast to make out. Again, lots of fighting.
1.28-1.31 - Tyrion looking upwards (low angle shot), our first look at him. He's conspiciously absent from the trailer. Then a dragon spitting flame, from the same angle, hinting that this is what he sees, but the lighting is all different. This seems to be another editing trick. No clue yet what's up with Tyrion.
1.31-1.42 - A good look at the army, assembled for the final battle, and then...ominously...the Night King's horse enters the frame. Cut to black.
1.42-1.48 - Game of Thrones. The Final Season. Implying heavily that, as always, anyone can die, and a lot of people will. This is by now the main marketing ploy of the series, so they're going to milk it for all it's worth.
1.48-1.52 - April 14. Just as a friendly reminder.
1.53 - HBO. Just in case you forgot.




4 comments:

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  4. Game of Thrones. season eight has begun, and the level of fan theorycrafting is higher than ever. ... The Frog's prediction that every one of Cersei's kids will die has come authentic. ... 5. Tyrion Lannister is absolutely a Targaryen. A picture of Game of Thrones.

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