After brief teases, we finally have our first full look at Game of Thrones’ seventh season. The official trailer feels especially doom-and-gloomy (yes, even for this show), as the HBO epic approaches its long-awaited climax. Season 7 will consist of an abbreviated seven episodes, before the eighth and final installment premieres next year.
It’s all about preparation for the final battle to come: Cersei (Lena Headey) gathering her army for the coming challengers, Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) hitching his wagon to Sansa (Sophie Turner) as his “last hope,” and Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) surprisingly returning to action after having been banished. Then there’s Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), ready to assume the throne she has sought since the series’ beginning: “I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms,” she asserts. “And I will.” As the trailer fades to black, we hear an ominous official declaration: “The Great War is here.”
Theories are already spreading with this short glimpse of what lies ahead—there’s a Littlefinger–Jon Snow (Kit Harington) interaction here, which is piquing interest, as well as the fact that Arya appears to have made it north to reunite with her siblings—but we’ll be obsessing over these new episodes and their many intricate details before long. Until then, let this trailer serve as a reminder that no matter how things shake out, exactly, it’s unlikely that they will end well for most of these characters. (Then again, depending on how much HBO cashes in, we may not be saying a final goodbye to a number of them.)
Game of Thrones returns for Season 7 on July 16.