After giving the trailer a sneaky debut during last Thursday’s March Madness games, HBO made its latest look at its landmark series’ upcoming season available to online audiences on Saturday.
The trailer is 30 seconds of disconnected images underscored by deeply foreboding messages, first from Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) speaking of participating in the “great game,” then from the High Sparrow (Julian Glover) intoning how all deserve death, before finally hearing Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) assure us that “a face will be added to the hall.”
The teaser is great when it comes to stoking generalized excitement about Season 6 (which begins April 24), but does it tell us anything in particular?
(Spoilers for the “Game of Thrones” books to follow, as well as idle speculation about where the series may eventually end up. Be warned.)
Savvy “Game of Thrones” obsessives suspect that the teaser trailer includes footage from a deeply significant battle in the series’ history, set at the Tower of Joy.
This historic raid takes place in the novels only in memory, examined in the first book of the series during a Ned Stark fever dream. The fight is significant for a number of reasons but primarily because it was the place of Stark’s sister Lyanna’s death, during which her last words to her brother were “Promise me.”
Who, the uninitiated might ask, cares?
Lots of people, actually. The death of Lyanna Stark and “kidnapping” by Rhaegar Targaryen that precedes it lay at the center of one of the series' most central fan theories, in which (supposedly dead) Jon Snow is not the bastard son of Ned Stark but actually the child of Lyanna and Rhaegar. Digging into what happens at the Tower of Joy means another theoretical step toward determining the “Game of Thrones” endgame.
This is particularly true given that the depiction of the Tower of Joy battle means the inclusion of a character fans have been anxious to meet, both in the books and the series: Howland Reed.
Howland Reed, one of Ned Stark’s best friends and father of Meera and Jojen Reed, is the only surviving character (that we know of) who witnesses the aftermath of Lyanna Stark’s death and has the potential to know what, precisely, her brother promised her on her bloody deathbed.
Either way, visiting the Tower of Joy via flashback or, more likely, via a returned Bran Stark’s vision, is sure to provide plenty for fans to chew on, even as they continue to fret over Jon Snow’s fate.