HBO on Thursday released 20 photos of various characters who will appear in Season 8 of Game of Thrones, some of whom will almost certainly appear only briefly, Entertainment Weekly reports. And HBO may have given subtle, or not so subtle, clues about what will be happening in the show’s long-awaited final season. Or they may not. Regardless, HBO achieved its goal with the release of the photos: getting fans talking. And talk we shall.
Here are the top five takeaways from the Game of Thrones Season 8 posters, in no particular order.
Warning: the remainder of this article will contain open spoilers for previous seasons of Game of Thrones.
1. The Props Might Reveal Something. As noted in this companion Inquisitr report, of the 20 characters teased in the images, seven of them have weapons drawn. All seven of those characters, except one, are warriors, mercenaries, and/or bodyguards, and to get Biblical about it, all live by the sword and may yet die by the sword.
The one character shown bearing a weapon, though by rights he shouldn’t, is Theon Greyjoy. When last we left off, Theon was so beaten down by PTSD that he was barely functional. And even though he’s among his people, his peers regard him as unnecessary cargo at best. And yet here he is, holding a weapon. Does that indicate that redemption, death, or both are in store for Theon Greyjoy?
And one truism Game of Thrones fans have known since Season 1 is this: Any character, however major or minor, however beloved or hated, may die at any moment. So is HBO teasing that these characters are due for death in Season 8?
2. The Props Might Not Reveal Anything. There are also some characters presented in the images, who in the show are warriors or fighters, not bearing a weapon. For example, King’s Guard Captain Jaime Lannister is simply seated on the Iron Throne, no weapon to be seen.
So is HBO revealing that they’re safe in Season 8? Or perhaps Jaime Lannister is giving up a life of violence for one of diplomacy? There’s no knowing for certain unless and until HBO gives us more.
And speaking of sitting on the Iron Throne…
3. The Characters Are All Seated On The Iron Throne – What? As noted in this companion Inquisitr report, all 20 of the characters are seated in the Iron Throne in this promotional material. It is, of course, not possible that all of them, or even most of them, will occupy the Throne, temporarily or permanently. And indeed, HBO has, in the past, released promotional material showing characters seated on the Throne even though their characters don’t go anywhere near it in the show’s universe. It seems, from this angle anyway, to be simply set dressing, even though fans would love to see Daenerys Targaryen’s valet Missandei ultimately wind up on the Throne.
4. So What About The Costumes Then? The Inquisitr writer Patricia Grannum parsed Sansa Stark’s outfit in the below image, and she noticed some things.
Specifically, she noted that Sansa’s costume contains tributes to her mother’s house, House Tully, which could indicate… something. Sansa’s mother, Catelyn Stark, was a fierce protector of her family, perhaps signaling that Sansa will be called upon to protect her remaining family in some way. Similarly, the garment appears to be made to resemble fish scales, about which two things can be said. First, the sigil of House Tully is a fish, and other Tully-affiliated characters have gone into battle wearing fish-scale armor. Second, the fact that she’s wearing armor may itself be an indication that Sansa, once a shrieking victim, may soon be participating in battle.
5. What About The Characters That Aren’t Shown? A joke among Game of Thrones fans is that writer George R. R. Martin doesn’t use Twitter because he already killed off all 140 characters (that joke is now obsolete because Martin does use Twitter, and the character limit is now 280 characters, but you get the point). That speaks to the fact that the show at any one time has dozens of characters, major and minor, beloved and hated, all playing their part in the narrative. Yet many of them didn’t make the cut for Thursday’s promotion blitz.
For example, fan favorite Lyanna Mormont, the young and fierce head of House Mormont who is barely into adolescence, is nowhere to be seen. Her character will almost certainly play a role in the final denouement of the series.
Also missing is Bronn of the Blackwater, the mercenary/bodyguard whose allegiance largely depends on whatever benefits him most. Always good for comic relief, Bronn is suspiciously missing from HBO’s teaser material.
Of course, it could just simply be that releasing publicity photos of all of the characters who will be appearing in Season 8 would bankrupt HBO’s publicity budget. But make no mistake: There will be minor characters playing a role in the final season. It’s just not known, as of this writing, who they are or what they’ll be up to.
Season 8 of Game of Thrones arrives on HBO on April 14, 2019.