The chamber of secrets has been opened.
Sure, Harry Potter is not a character on “Game of Thrones,” but what else can you say when, after having been starved for content for months, the HBO gods have finally answered our prayers and released a slew of new photos?
Up until now, the network has only shared a few seconds of footage from Season 8. But while we’re still waiting on the ever-elusive final season trailer, recently released photos of the upcoming episodes could hold more secrets than Varys’ little birds.
Last we saw from Season 7, Jaime Lannister was heading north, a pregnant Cersei Lannister was double-crossing everyone in King’s Landing, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen were getting intimate on their journey to Winterfell, and Tyrion Lannister was looking worried as heck on a boat. By the looks of the Season 8 photos, not much has changed: Jaime is possibly in the North, Jon and Dany are still together, and a whole lot of people look like they’ve been listening to emo music all day.
We’re also feeling plenty of emotions after seeing the images, so HuffPost reporters Bill Bradley and Leigh Blickley got together to speculate on what they might tell fans about the inevitable end of “Game of Thrones.”
Leigh Blickley: With about nine weeks left until the premiere, HBO has released new promo photos of “Game of Thrones” Season 8 ― and boy, Bill, are there hints left and right. Most of the images are character headshots, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the opportunity to speculate about what’s to come for our favorite northerners (and one southerner).
Bill Bradley: And how about that southerner? From the photos, it looks like everyone has perhaps made it north except for Cersei, who’s still in King’s Landing and sporting a sad look, like no one came to her birthday party. Interestingly, while most of the characters have closeup shots, Cersei, who we found out was pregnant in Season 7, is shown in wide shot.
Leigh: Yes, despite looking a tad lonely, I must say, she’s glowing. But this is Cersei Lannister, so there’s something that makes me think she could be lying about the baby she’s apparently carrying. Is it all a scheme?
Bill: Leigh, I don’t think Cersei is having that baby. After reviewing the Season 7 scripts, Joanna Robinson of Vanity Fair seemed to confirm that Cersei is pregnant. But various Reddit leaks from last season, most of which were confirmed, also suggested that Cersei would have a miscarriage. That obviously didn’t happen in Season 7, but there’s a chance Cersei will face more loss in Season 8.
What are your thoughts on Cersei’s baby daddy/brother from the same mother, Jaime?
Leigh: As we remember, Jaime left Cersei in King’s Landing after she threatened to kill him for betraying her trust. He finally stood up to her and presumably headed north to join his brother Tyrion in the battle against the army of the dead. And from the photo released of him, he looks pretty darn happy to be free of his Cersei chains. He also has a beard and seems to be wearing northern armor.
When I spoke to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime on the show, last year, he told me his character’s been “on the road for a while.” “Wherever he is going it takes some time,” he added. So, yeah, Jaime’s totally in the north, right?
Bill: Jaime’s got his groove back. He’s done pushing little kids out of windows. He’s left his ex, he’s upgraded his beard and he’s got new, possibly northern armor to show off to Brienne of Tarth. (Though his outfit does seem similar to the one he left King’s Landing in.) Noteworthy: Jaime’s one of the only characters who’s actually smiling in these photos. Almost everybody else looks pissed.
Leigh: Pissed and sad, Bill. Very sad. Let’s start with the Stark sisters. It appears both Sansa and Arya are not necessarily thrilled about Jon’s new romance with the Mother of Dragons. I guess I would be skeptical too if my brother ― or cousin, little do they know ― was canoodling with the enemy. Tyrion also doesn’t seem too thrilled about Jon and Dany’s shared “boat” experience either, as he’s still sporting the same concerned face we saw during the Season 7 finale.
Bill: My mom said if you make pouty faces, it could freeze that way. This is possibly what’s happened to Tyrion. It’s very cold in the north. He also seems to be in the same location where Jon discussed the letter Tyrion sent from Dragonstone in Season 7. We knew Sansa wasn’t happy from the little Season 8 footage HBO has released, but could Arya be looking up at a dragon right there? She’s not impressed because teens, right?
Leigh: Arya is a moody player in the game of thrones, that we know. You know who else is moody? Bran. But that’s understandable ― the guy has a plethora of knowledge taking over his brain capacity. And one very important piece of that knowledge could, and probably will, destroy Jon’s life. At the end of Season 7, Bran and our beloved Sam uncovered that Jon’s parents, Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, were legally married. That means Jon is the real heir to the Iron Throne and that his “boat” experience with Daenerys is not so ideal in the grand scheme of things. Chilly stuff right there!
Bill: Dany and Jon seem a little too cozy for people who know they’re aunt and nephew, in this photo especially:
So it seems likely these images are from the early episodes before Bran and Sam drop the Mother-of-Dragons-Truth-Bomb. Winter is going to hit them pretty hard, Leigh.
“Game of Thrones” returns April 14. See more promo photos below.
Dany (Emilia Clarke)Helen Sloane/HBO
Jon (Kit Harington) and Dany (Emilia Clarke)Helen Sloane/HBO
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage)Helen Sloane/HBO
Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright)Helen Sloane/HBO
Brienne (Gwendoline Christie)Helen Sloane/HBO
Cersei (Lena Headey)Helen Sloane/HBO
Sam (John Bradley)Helen Sloane/HBO
Cersei (Lena Headey)Helen Sloane/HBO
Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau)Helen Sloane/HBO
Sansa (Sophie Turner)Helen Sloane/HBO
Varys (Conleth Hill)Helen Sloane/HBO
Jon (Kit Harington)Helen Sloane/HBO
Davos (Liam Cunningham)Helen Sloane/HBO