HBO releases trailer for final season of Game of Thrones

Winter is, at long last, here.

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in the final season of Game of Thrones.Credit:HBO

The trailer glimpses a fleet of ships bearing kraken masts, the Greyjoy sigil, indicating that Euron (Pilou Asbaek) is still around, still making trouble, and probably not helping much in the fight against the White Walkers. Since the final battle will likely take place in the second-to-last episode of the season (a popular storytelling pattern for this series over the years), it seems like Euron will be the proverbial roadblock that keeps our heroes busy for the first few.

Down in King's Landing, Cersei (Lena Headey) appears untroubled by the undead army, confident on the Iron Throne, with Qyburn (Anton Lesser) still whispering in her ear. Cersei is even still drinking wine, a likely throwback to Season 2's Battle of the Blackwater, where Cersei got drunk with Sansa (Sophie Turner) during Stannis Baratheon's (Stephen Dillane) attack on King's Landing, spawning thousands of memes.

Her brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is not amused by her blase attitude. "I promised to fight for the living," he tells her in one sequence. "I intend to keep that promise." He's also seen in a fiery battle, suggesting that he abandoned his sister and lover to take up arms in the North.

But perhaps the most telling moment from the trailer is Dany (Emilia Clarke) and Jon (Kit Harington) walking toward the two remaining dragons, as if to mount and ride them. This is significant because in the story of the Targaryens conquering Westeros the first time around, three Targaryens rode three dragons. Dany has special abilities related to fire and her dragons, including the moment in the Season 1 finale when she walked into fire with their eggs and came out unscathed. No one has been able to ride the dragons thus far besides her.

Book fans have long theorised that Dany, Jon and a third Targaryen (there are many theories about who that might be) would ride the three dragons in the final battle. In the series, one of the dragons was killed last season and resurrected as an ice dragon by the White Walkers, so the two remaining Targaryens will seemingly ride the two remaining dragons.

This, plus flashes of Dany and Jon looking meaningfully at each other – and one of Sam (John Bradley) looking concerned – also raises questions about whether the couple, who consummated their affair last season, knows that they are aunt and nephew, or whether they care.

But the romances, political squabbles and dragons mean nothing once the White Walkers come. The monsters don't appear in the trailer, save for creepy dead horse legs in the final shot, but they loom large over every second. If we know one thing for sure about Season 8, it's that the Night King (Vladimir Furdik) is not going to mess around.

The final season of Thrones debuts in Australia on Monday, April 15.

USA Today, with staff writers

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