It must be difficult for the people behind Game of Thrones to put together previews of upcoming episodes that provide a glimpse of what’s to come without (A) spoiling anything, or (B) devolving into a mere quick-cut compilation of half-second shots. The teaser for next week’s installment falls into the latter category, but there are at least a couple of segments that strongly hint at what we can expect.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the premiere of Game of Thrones’ seventh season. And if you don’t want to know anything about what might be in the second episode, even what was shown in its brief teaser, stop reading here!]
“Stormborn” — another name by which Daenerys Targaryen is known — is the title for season seven’s second episode. HBO’s synopsis doesn’t say much, and the trailer is only 20 seconds long (and there are maybe 13 seconds of actual footage from the episode in it). But two juxtaposed shots that last for less than a second tell us enough:
In the season premiere, Arya assumes the face of Lord Walder Frey — whose throat she had cut in the season six finale — and poisons every soldier of House Frey, making a wintry massacre out of her efforts to avenge the deaths of her mother, her oldest brother and his wife at the Red Wedding. As Arya leaves the Twins, she comes across a band of Lannister soldiers (one of whom is played by singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran). She tells them she’s heading to King’s Landing because she’s “going to kill the queen” — Queen Cersei Lannister, that is, who is one of the remaining names on her list.
But Arya may end up heading north toward her home, Winterfell, instead of south to the capital of the Seven Kingdoms. This glimpse of episode two appears to show her in a snowy forest, perhaps the same one in the Riverlands in which she ran into the party of Lannisters this week.
More importantly, it looks like Arya comes face to face with a direwolf. We’ll forgive you if you’ve forgotten the status of the Stark children’s pets, since it’s been a long time since the beasts have been brought up on Game of Thrones. In the very first episode of the show, the Stark family adopted six orphaned direwolf pups. But four are now dead, and only one is alive for sure — Ghost, the runt of the litter, which is currently hanging out at Winterfell with his master, Jon Snow.
The remaining one is Nymeria, which was Arya’s direwolf. Arya had to send Nymeria away in the second episode, after it defended her from an attacking Joffrey Baratheon by biting the then-prince’s hand. We’ve seen neither hide nor hair of Nymeria since.
As you can see in the clip below, the season-one version of Nymeria looks decidedly more like a big ol’ dog than the fierce wolflike beast seen in the teaser for next week’s episode. But direwolf sightings south of the Wall are exceedingly rare, and as far as we know, Nymeria is likely to be roaming around the Riverlands somewhere. Now seems like the perfect time and place for Arya to run into her long-lost furry friend.
In non-Nymeria news, the teaser indicates that Jon Snow and the North have heard tell of Queen Daenerys Targaryen’s arrival at Dragonstone. Presumably, they’ve also received the raven from Samwell Tarly informing them of the mountain of dragonglass beneath the castle. It seems that Jon Snow will have a tough time convincing his fellow lords of the North — Team Ice, let’s call them — to trust the Mother of Dragons.
Meanwhile, in the southern part of Westeros, it appears that Queen Cersei Lannister is trying to rally her bannermen to the cause of warding off the intruders from Essos. And those forces may be coming soon — Yara Greyjoy of the Iron Islands and Ellaria Sand of Dorne are part of Team Fire’s leadership group, and the fearsome ironborn leader is imploring her queen to strike at King’s Landing while the, er, iron is hot.
The first episode of season seven was a typical premiere in that it set the table for the season, outlining the main conflicts and sketching out the path forward. With just six chapters left in the penultimate season of Game of Thrones, it seems like the action will get going very quickly, starting next week.
“Stormborn,” the second episode of Game of Thrones’ seventh season, premieres on HBO at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Sunday, July 23.