2:15 pm EDT, January 17, 2014

‘Game of Thrones’ season 4 trailer: 12 shots that prove it’s going to be an epic season

Have you been anxiously stocking up on your finest Dornish wine in preparation for April? Here’s a spoiler-free account of what has us most excited about the first Game of Thrones season 4 trailer.

Only a powerhouse cultural phenomenon like Game of Thrones can get away with putting out a trailer for the trailer, but when we switched on our television Sunday night, HBO didn’t disappoint. A minute and forty-four seconds later, and the upcoming glory of April 6 only felt farther away.

Podcast analysis: Listen to our Game of Owns podcast to hear our hosts discuss the trailer

Judging from the glimpses we got in the trailer, there’s a lot going down in Game of Thrones season 4 that those of us with unspoilt, untarnished souls still don’t know about. But it left us with a lot of clues to sift through the season 4 rubble. With that being said, here’s what has us excitedly refreshing the trailer until the spring debut.

1) Jaime got a haircut


First things first: we’re not sure what this says about our priorities, but the biggest concern we had after watching the season 4 trailer for the first time was that someone had the audacity to cut off Jaime Lannister’s luscious long locks and manly battle scruff. The look seems to be working for him though, because what he’s lost in his hair, he seems to have gained in a hand, and in this trailer it looks like someone is fitting our favorite Kingslayer with a metallic/gold/bronze/metal fist of some sort. And while we are slightly disappointed he won’t be opting for a hook instead (he is, of course, a dashing knight, not a swashbuckling pirate), it was nice to get that shot of him embracing the use of his left to hold a sword.

Jaime got quite a bit of screentime in this trailer, most of it dishing out real talk to his nephew/lovechild, Joffrey. “The war’s not won,” Jaime reminds a gloating Joff. Duh. But, who knows, maybe Jaime’s attempts at father/son bonding will help reform the king’s wicked, wicked ways. The Lannisters as a whole are a pretty cuddly family. Speaking of which…

2) The Lannister Family Reunion


The Lannisters are pretty much the highlight of this trailer, and that bodes well for this season because, with Jaime finally back in King’s Landing, for the first time in the series’ history all of the Lannisters will probably (hopefully?) be under the same roof. Dramz.

Will Jaime’s views on courtly life have changed now that he’s been through hell and back, and come out without his fighting hand to show for it? Will his return force everyone to be nicer to Tyrion? Will everyone just continue trying to ignore Tyrion? Will Tywin even care about Jaime now that he’s a cripple (and broken thing) too? Will Cersei and Jaime’s naughty activities finally be discovered by the Big Daddy? Will all the family secrets and continuous backstabbing finally be the Lannisters’ undoing? And why is Cersei still so mad as hell? It looks like she’s not going to take it anymore. We get it, gurl: weddings are stressful — even when they aren’t being planned for a teenage psychopath.

3) Joffrey’s Wedding

Joffrey's wedding season 4

If A Storm of Swords was a Friends episode, it would be called ‘The One with all the Terrible Weddings.’ Westeros weddings are super fun right? If we’re going by last season’s record, at worst you end up killed by the father-in-law, and at best you end up married to a fourteen-year-old who hates your stinkin’ guts. Surely everything will go down smoothly this time around, right? At the very least, thanks to the Dornish, the wine should be delicious.

4) The Dornish

Red Viper

The Dornish are known for their special Reds, both in their wine, and in their princely Viper. And besides the fact that the Martells are pretty much singlehandedly responsible for the raging alcoholism that runs rampant in King’s Landing, we don’t really know all that much about Dany’s sort-of-brother-in-law. From what we glean from the trailer though, this Red Viper seems to like things a little feisty: not only does he clearly get his own one-on-one fight scene, but he also seems to have an ax to grind with Tyrion’s Daddy, Tywin. “The Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts…” Which brings us to:

5) Tyrion in shackles

tyrion season 4

So, Tyrion is in trouble. Again. And for once, it doesn’t look like he’s going to be able to talk his way out. Probably the biggest mystery of the trailer is why Tyrion has been taken prisoner, and by whom. The obvious suspect is Lysa Arryn, who besides trying to blame Tyrion for Jon Arryn’s death in the first season, is probably also pretty pissed with the way the Lannisters crashed her brother’s wedding and, you know, killed everyone. There’s also the wildcard Dornish. Tyrion is seen chatting up an obviously vengeful Red Viper in the trailer, and with Myrcella promised to Dorne in the second season Tyrion has very good reason to go traveling down south to pay their spicy neighbors a visit. Did he drink one fine wine too many and finally put a foot in his sassy mouth?

In the end though, it doesn’t really matter, right? It’s not like good ole’ George R. R. Martin would ever kill off the most popular character in his franchise. That just doesn’t sound like him at all.

6) Yara Greyjoy: aka Theon’s bamf sister

yara greyjoy season 4

A season 2 standout supporting character, Yara Greyjoy hasn’t gotten a lot of play yet in the show, but hopefully that’s about to change. She’s proved herself to be quite the badass from the very beginning, and judging by last season’s finale, this pirate princess seems to be the only one with any cojones left in the family. According to Yara, Theon may be a little turd, but he’s her little turd of a brother, dammit. Her sense of familial loyalty, despite everything that’s happened in Westeros, added a degree of humanity to last season’s finale episode, just when the characters we love most seem to be becoming less and less attached to their sense of humanity.

7) Bran north of the Wall

Bran season 4

For the most part, this trailer is pretty Stark-light, but we do definitely get a glimpse of our boy Bran falling onto a tree. He’s got his crazy-eyes going on, so obviously now that he’s mastered wolves and giant one-word men, Bran’s going to try his hand at warging into trees. Cool. Is this how he’s going to find that creepy three-eyed crow? Maybe it’s up in the tree? Anyway, he’s at the edge of the map now: here there be monsters.

8) Jon back on the Wall

Jon Snow season 4

Now that Jon’s wildling romance is pretty much kaput, we’re pretty excited for his bromance with Sam to start a brewin’ again. Sam does have his lady friend’s problems to think about though… Oh well. Two men and a baby? For realz though, from the way Jon Snow’s hair is emoting in this trailer, it looks like life on the Wall is about to get way harsh.

9) Wildings at war

ygritte season 4

The wildlings be cray-cray. They might be nice, and they might be pretty, but at the end of the day what we’ve learned from the show so far is that they are still very, very wild, and their sense of duty and honor is very different from what we’ve been taught is the good ole’ Stark way.

As the only people in Westeros who seem to actually understand that WINTER IS COMING, the wildlings are willing to do anything to get south of the wall and escape the roaming White Walkers. So, how far south will the wildlings actually make it, and will anyone be willing to stop fighting over the throne long enough to pay attention? Fighting for their very survival, the wildlings definitely have the advantage of desperation. Also, our girl Ygritte still looks seriously pissed, so if she just imagines all of the southerners are (you-know-nothing) Jon Snow, she’ll definitely be able to hack her way towards freedom.

10) Sansa in the snow

Sansa season 4

Why is Sansa in the snow? It doesn’t snow in King’s Landing. Unless winter-is-coming is here. So, is winter here, or is Sansa there? Either way, this is about to get interesting…

11) Dany’s throne room.

Dany throne room

Guys, Dany’s sitting on a real throne that’s like, not in a tent. This is super exciting. Is she in Westeros yet? Does it really matter? Because either way, she looks like a total boss. Also, she has dragons, so trump card.

There is that whole little sequence with the white horse running toward Dany, though. Is that a friend? A foe? Are they bringing good news? Are they trying to trample her indiscreetly? Is our favorite Khaleesi going to steal their white horse and dub it a gift from the grave from her sun-and-stars?

12) Zombies

slavers game of thrones

Okay, so they’re probably not zombies. But they still look pretty damn creepy spilling out of the walls and stampeding through the alley like that, right? If zombies aren’t a sign of the apocalypse, I don’t know what is. Get ready everyone: winter is coming.

Game of Thrones returns to HBO for season 4 on April 6, 2014.

What are you most excited to see this season on Game of Thrones?

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