Game of Thrones: S7 Trailer Review

I was forced to take a break from here for a while and during that time a lot has occurred regarding season 7. I’m sure there have been countless posts breaking down the first official Game of Thrones trailer, but I hope you can stand one more. With that said, I’m going to approach it a little different by listing things I found most exciting or interesting in the trailer and the photos that have been released, while offering some insight and predictions along the way.

OVERVIEW

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To begin with I thought the trailer was exceptional. It didn’t give too much away and the things that were divulged only served to cause me more anticipation and excitement… if that’s even possible. I’ll touch on those things later. I also liked how it expanded on the concept of our three rulers: Cersei, Dany and Jon, splitting the first half of the trailer into three parts representing each one complete with their own musical accompaniment. We have three seats of power remaining (The Red Keep, Dragonstone, and Winterfell) and it does a good job of illustrating that.

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Also, these three seats seem to be where the majority of our characters will eventually end up. For example, if you look closely at both the trailer and newly released pics, you can see Brienne, Pod, and Bronze Yohn Royce inside Winterfell. And if Royce is there that leads me to believe Sweet Robin is too. Let the Littlefinger scheming begin. But I’ll get a bit more into this later.

MELISANDRE AND DRAGONSTONE

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This one surprised me because I never expected Mel to make it that far south. In retrospect, it does make sense that she’d attempt to ally herself with Dany who is of course our symbolic fire incarnate. And of course this will make things very interesting when she comes face to face with Jon and Davos again, which I find likely since we know both characters will also be at Dragonstone. Varys also has a deep hatred towards the religion of R’hillor which he’s talked about since season 2. Will his storyline clash with Mel?

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We’ve never really gotten any good views of the exterior of Dragonstone so I really enjoyed the little we did get. I also have to admit I was pumped to see Dany finally setting foot on Westerosi soil and entering the castle of her ancestors.

THE IRONBORN ATTACK

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I thought there was a high likelihood that Dany’s fleet would come under attack by Euron and The Ironborn and I believe this trailer confirmed that. Shots of a burning boat, people falling beneath water with what appears to be flames above them, and Theon looking typically terrified while ashes fall around him, all seem to be likely indicators of this event.

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I’m hoping this event occurs for two major reasons: first, we’ve yet to get a true battle at sea since I think Blackwater was much more a siege than anything. The other reason is that Dany has lived a relatively charmed life in recent seasons. Even when she finds herself in trouble, there never seems to be any real threat to her safety. I believe the show has to remedy this and this would be a good start. Not to mention we need to see Euron step up his game and become the villain book readers know him to be.

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This attack will strike a blow to Dany as I believe Euron will take important captives including Yara and a sandsnake or two. Theon’s look of fear I believe will come from him debating on whether to jump into the fray and fight or stand aside doing nothing while his sister is taken hostage.

CERSEI AND JAIME

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Of course the trailer begins with Cersei sporting some heavy garb indicating it’s getting cold down in King’s Landing. Her voice over states the obvious: she is completely surrounded by enemies. However, in typical Cersei fashion she declares they’ll defeat everyone and anyone if need be, although Jaime doesn’t look entirely convinced. Her angry glare as seen above I believe to be directed at Euron Greyjoy. These two are essentially without any allies so it only makes sense they’d team up. And her angry glare might be a reaction to Euron informing her of Dany’s arrival in Westeros.

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I believe Euron will offer Cersei the hostages he captured attacking Dany’s fleet as a token of good will. As far as Jaime we don’t get much. The one thing that stands out is he’s wearing Widow’s Wail as seen above. This of course was Joffrey’s sword and one of the only Valerian steel swords in existence. It might be sweet irony if Jaime were to kill Cersei using that sword, although I don’t see that happening this season. One other detail is the seven pointed star that had always been above the Iron Throne has been replaced with the Lannister lion. Cersei is always so subtle.

THE ROCK

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So I doubt it’s much of a revelation at this point that the location being attacked by The Unsullied seems to be none other than the infamous Casterly Rock. Earlier in the trailer we see what seems to be a significantly large Lannister army marching somewhere. My guess is either to or from Highgarden to finish off House Tyrell. I think this fits perfectly with Cersei’s thinking, or lack there of. And I think this plays a major part of how the Unsullied were able to attack Casterly Rock. Stick with me.

THE CHARGE

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The final shot of the trailer is a truly amazing one as a seemingly endless sea of men on horseback charge at us with Drogon soaring above them. These are obviously Dany’s Dothraki and possibly some Second Sons attacking someone, and I believe that someone to be the Lannister army I mentioned earlier. This could be part of well coordinated attacks where the Dothraki attack the Lannister soldiers on the march, while the Unsullied, knowing Casterly Rock to be poorly guarded at the time, are able to seize the opportunity and sack it. It’s also possible what they’re sacking is Lannisport but I’m hoping we finally get to see The Rock and in such dramatic fashion.

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This raises an interesting scenario. Back in season 3 Tywin explains to Cersei that the gold mines beneath Casterly Rock have been exhausted and the Lannisters are essentially broke. If Dany discovers this it could strike quite a blow to Cersei who’s able to continuously maintain a strong army due to their suspected wealth.

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There’s one other thing I’d like to touch on here. If you look closely at one of the shots you’ll see Tarly men getting slaughtered during this attack. That leads me to wonder about who’s leading this Lannister force. My first thought is of course Jaime, but it’s possible Cersei will want to keep him in the capital. So I think father of the year, Randyll Tarly will be there in some sort of leadership position even if Jaime does go. This will be cool since we constantly hear about what an amazing soldier he is.

THE GREAT WAR

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Once we hit the halfway mark in the trailer we’re reminded of the threat beyond on The Wall… for now. Although the trailer doesn’t show us much I think combined with many of the released photos we can start to form some theories.

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We’ve seen photos of Beric Dondarrion and Sandor in some serious winter conditions; seemingly more severe than the conditions we see Arya in during the trailer. This leads me to believe the Brotherhood and Sandor have made it North as they said they would, intent on fighting the White Walkers. If they stop at Winterfell, which seems highly likely, this would make things quite interesting for The Hound who will have two reunions of different types. The first with Sansa, which could be interesting for a variety of reasons. The other with Brienne who nearly killed him last they met. If Sandor gets out of hand will Tormund jump in to defend his lady’s honor?

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While all that’s fun to speculate on it’s this group of men here that I believe is truly exciting. Now they could just be random people facing off against The Walkers but I don’t think so. Since we see Jon and Tormund running for dear life later in the trailer, I believe this ring of men includes Jon, Tormund, Beric, Thoros and Sandor. Others could include Edd, Gendry, Brienne and my Uncle Benjen. What’s so cool about this you ask? It’s a super team of fan favorites uniting to fight together. This is a rare occurrence on GOT. It’s like the Avengers assembling for battle. Unfortunately, chances are they won’t all make it out alive.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS 

Sam and Jorah

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I don’t think there’s any doubt this hand belongs to Jorah Mormont. I’m fairly certain he’ll wind up at the Citadel searching for a cure for his greyscale¬†and cross paths with Sam. It may be Sam’s discovery of dragon glass at Dragonstone that lead the two to Dany.

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Jon and Littlefinger

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The shot of Jon slamming Littlefinger against the wall by his neck is interesting for two reasons: first it occurs right by the statue of Jon’s mother, Lyanna, causing me to wonder if it’s Littlefinger who ends up revealing Jon’s true parentage to him. Think about it. Bailish wants Jon out of the picture and revealing he’s not Ned’s son and part Targaryen would go a long way to achieving that. Secondly, it almost mirrors exactly what Ned did to Petyr early in season one.

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As I said before I was thoroughly impressed with this trailer and am counting down the days until the premiere. The final two episodes will run 71 minutes and 81 minutes respectively. I think it’s safe to say it’s going to be “LENGEN …wait for it… DARY”.

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As always, thanks for reading my gibberish and feedback is always welcome. 

Subversive TV Goes Mainstream

American television has never exactly been a beacon of divergent thinking or creativity, at least not in a mainstream way. I remember the hit prime time shows that aired when I was young. Shows like “Dallas”, “L.A. Law” and “Miami Vice” were all the rage in the 80s.

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The 90s brought us “Beverly Hills 90210”, “E.R.” and “Melrose Place”. These were the television staples since through much of this time the only game in town were the major networks: CBS, ABC, NBC and FOX.

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Let me take a step back here and say a couple things. First, before you call me unpatriotic while chanting “U.S.A!” for singling out American TV, the reason I do so is I’ve spent most of my life in the U.S. so it’s the only place I can speak fairly on. Secondly, I’m not saying I necessarily dislike the shows I mentioned or others like them. Some I did enjoy and have a nostalgic love for. Some I despise.

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Of course there have been plenty of shows that were both engaging and pushed different types of divergent thinking. “In The Heat of the Night” dealt with racial issues while “NYPD Blue” dealt with a slew of important issues and pushed the boundaries of what could be shown on network television. “Law & Order” did a fantastic job of tackling just about every hot button issue imaginable. “Twin Peaks” stretched the limits of creativity while shows like “Murphy Brown” fought against sexist stereotypes. And of course shows like “Ellen” opened up a much needed dialogue for homosexuality in the mainstream of culture.

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However, these shows were constantly shackled by restraints of network TV. Most of the shows I just mentioned experienced public backlash making them a liability. Since network TV is run by the sponsors, they’re forced to comply to the whims of said sponsors. This means don’t upset the apple cart, don’t poke the hornets nest, keep things nice and simple. Stay away from any show that’s too subversive.

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A change began in the mid 90s, one which I believe to be the most significant in television programming. The premium channel HBO had been around since 1972, however, it wasn’t until the 90s it began having success with its original programs. Shows like “Tales From the Crypt”, “Arliss”, and “The Larry Sanders Show” brought the network critical attention if not public attention. In 1997 it released its first hour long dramatic series “OZ”. It was here the network took full advantage of not having to adhere to any kind of rating system. Better yet, since the network was a premium based service, it didn’t have to answer to any sponsors.

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Not having any sponsors to placate meant HBO was free to make shows the way they wanted. This, combined with the lack of any content restrictions, brought about the single most groundbreaking show in television history: “The Sopranos”. For the first time television was competing with films in terms of quality. More importantly, it took a no-holds bar approach in tackling subversive issues and challenging the status quo. In 2002 HBO further cemented its prowess with “The Wire”, a show often referred to as the greatest ever.

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Other premium networks like Showtime quickly followed suit while HBO continued pushing and breaking boundaries. This trend eventually trickled into basic cable. The network AMC launched its first dramatic series, “Mad Men” in 2007, which just happened to be helmed by “Sopranos” alum, Matthew Weiner. It continued its success with “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead”.

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Other basic cable networks also caught on to this trend, most notably FX, which has three shows in contention for the Best Dramatic Series award at this years Emmys. It’s become clear to networks that people want smarter, more complex, and more divergent thinking in their television.

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There are two current shows that especially prove this point to me. The first is the critically acclaimed “Mr. Robot”. It airs on the USA network, a network that’s not necessarily well known for quality original dramas. Yet here’s one that’s smart, creative, and most surprisingly, subversive. The show deals with many topics, but at its heart it’s a show about the “evils” of large corporations. This seems like a fairly derisive topic for a network that relies on sponsors from large corporations. Yet it’s a show that’s struck a cord with people, and a challenging one at that.

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The other show is “Braindead” which airs on CBS. Yes…CBS. This is the network your parents are always watching when you go to visit. For sometime now it’s earned the reputation of being the safe and conservative choice in networks. Yet here’s an irreverent political satire that doesn’t pull any punches. It’s smart. It’s funny. And oh yeah, it has alien bugs that crawl into your ears and control your brain.

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So as HBO continues leading the way, there will still probably be two new shows this fall about hospitals filled with doctors hooking up with one another in between saving lives. Still, there seems to be a greater demand for thought provoking television, and it’s a demand the networks can’t ignore. I just hope it continues.

Thanks for reading my gibberish! Feedback is always welcome.