Fear is for the winter.
HBO has revealed the final character posters for Game of Thrones Season 8, and as well as serving as a handy reminder of which players are still alive, it also features a couple of notable omissions that may or may not offer a hint about how the final season will play out.
Check out the new posters below:
The usual suspects are there – it’s no surprise to see Cersei Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, and Jon Snow (aka Aegon Targaryen) lounging on the Iron Throne – but HBO certainly wants us to entertain the possibility that the White Walkers could triumph with the inclusion of the Night King in the lineup.
The new posters also give characters who have no interest in ruling (like Arya and Ser Davos) a chance to test out that cold and pointy perch, and, let’s face it, a promotional poster is probably as close as Samwell Tarly or Jorah Mormont are likely to get to the seat of power in Westeros.
But there are a couple of intriguing tidbits here – first, the confirmation that Melisandre will be back, having left for Volantis in Season 7 after delivering a cryptic warning to Varys: “I have to die in this strange country, just like you.” Will she die at the hands of Davos or Jon, who exiled her after finding out that she was responsible for Shireen’s death? Or will she sacrifice herself in an attempt to redeem herself and carry out the “Lord of Light’s” will in the final battle with the Night King?
It’s also notable that Jon Snow’s position on the throne is purposefully reminiscent of his adoptive father/uncle Ned Stark’s pose in the Season 1 poster – we’ve already seen Jon donning Ned’s armor, but could this be a hint that the lost Targaryen heir could share Ned’s fate, too?
Sansa also appears to have given up her fur-lined aesthetic for a dress that looks more like dragon scales, perhaps signaling that she’s coming around to the Stark alliance with the Targaryens.
There are also a few recurring players who are conspicuously absent from the posters (maybe just because they’re guest stars in the final season and not series regulars, if we’re looking for a mundane explanation). There’s no sign of Gendry, or Theon’s sister Yara, who is still a captive of their uncle Euron.
The posters also don’t offer confirmation whether Beric Dondarrion and Tormund Giantsbane are dead or alive, since they were last seen on the Wall when the Night King and Viserion blasted a hole through it – although the Season 7 finale script seemed to confirm they survived. Perhaps they’ll make it to Winterfell in time to warn Jon and Dany about the White Walkers’ approach (or get there to find it a smoking ruin).
What stands out to you about the new Game of Thrones Season 8 posters? Share your theories in the comments, and for more on Game of Thrones, see what HBO’s boss and Liam Cunningham had to say about the ending, find out who won’t be returning in Season 8, and read why George R. R. Martin turned down a cameo in the final season.