After a constant stream of prayers to the Old Gods, the New Gods, the Many-Faced God, the Drowned God, the Lord of Light, and perhaps many more that I’m not thinking of right now, we finally have a new Game of Thrones teaser! In the brand-new footage, Jon Snow and the Stark sisters wander in the crypts below Winterfell. They light upon three statues that look exactly like them, signifying grave danger, perhaps even death in their near future. Jon’s torch blows out, and a familiar blanket of ice creeps down the corridor. It’s not hard to put two and two together: the Night King and his army have arrived at Winterfell.
Obviously, there’s a lot to read into when you simply take the teaser at face value: the Winterfell crypts have been a staple throughout the entire series, popping up here and there to give us clues about what’s to come. Then there’s the mysterious feather that falls on the ground at the beginning, a throwback that stretches all the way to episode one. And don’t even get us started on all the poignant, echo-y quotes that have been sprinkled in from throughout the series. But let’s cast aside the literal, physical clues and look at this at a much more macro level: what if this is one of Bran’s mysterious Greensight visions?
Now, truth be told, a lot of Bran’s visions involve visits to the past. This is especially true when it comes to his time with the Three-Eyed Raven; he sees the dearly departed Lyanna Stark in her youth, in her betrothal to the legendary Rhaegar Targaryen, and on her deathbed. He sees how the White Walkers were first created, the truth about his beloved Hodor, and so much more. But there have been other moments that suggest he’s witnessing concurrent time and perhaps even the future. Consider, for instance, the moment the Night King catches him “spying” or his cryptic words to Littlefinger that eventually foreshadow his death. With that in mind, let’s go back to the teaser!
There’s one big callback to Bran in the teaser, another aspect of the scene that feels like a pretty big “wink” to diehard fans: it’s clear that Arya is still holding onto that Valerian steel dagger (previously Littlefinger’s), which Bran gives to her in season seven. This, in itself, is a pretty big signifier that Bran at least has an inkling about what the future may hold. He likely knows the Night King will make it past the wall with his undead army. He knows Arya may well have to face the White Walkers at some point. The fact that the dagger is at her hip, in plain view, speaks to this tenuous connection.
With that in mind, the whole “doppelgänger statues” situation seems a lot less overt and instead may be a dire clue about the Stark family. But before you blurt out something about how the Starks are dying, consider the very nature of prophecies. Here’s what George R. R. Martin had to say about it way back in 2015:
“Prophecy is a staple element in fantasy, but it’s tricky. You want to play with the notion of prophecies coming true but in an unexpected way. You want to be unpredictable about it. Shakespeare is the ultimate example of that – when the forest of Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane Castle, MacBeth will fall. Everybody laughs – how can the forest come to the castle? [Malcolm] came camouflaged with branches and so on. Also, during the War of the Roses, one of the lords was prophesized that he would die at a certain castle. So he always took pains to avoid that castle. But then in the first The Battle of St. Albans, he was wounded and died outside a pub that had that castle on its pub sign. You have to look at prophecies carefully and look at the weasel-wording. Maggy the Frog tells Cersei a prophecy, but could Cersei make it happen through her efforts to avoid it?”
So basically, reading this teaser as a dream or a prophecy means you can have way more fun with it. When you think of it this way, the Stark statues could mean something else. Here’s one way to look at it: at the end of season seven, we find out Jon Snow is a Targaryen, meaning there is no longer a Stark heir in this world. Without a male heir, Sansa and Arya will be the last Starks. Could this be a sign that the Stark family will die and a newly united Targaryen House will rise in its place?
Sure, maybe I’m spinning out a little bit, but that’s part of the fun with Game of Thrones theories! Go wild; we only have a few precious months left until we (hopefully) get all the answers.