HBO wasn't kidding around about 2019 being "The Year Game of Thrones Comes Back." The premium cable network tweeted this out on January 1, 2019, as a celebration of the turning calendars forward. But what seemed at first to be a cute, celebratory tweet was serious business. The first Sunday of the month featured a "First Look" trailer with a snippet of dialogue from Season 8. Now the second Sunday has arrived with a Game of Thrones debut date teaser and a big reveal. The Game of Thrones Season 8 date is here, arriving on Sunday, April 14, 2019.
Game of Thrones' final season is a massive deal to HBO. The series has broken more television records for the cable channel than anyone could have imagined when it was first commissioned back in the late aughts. It shattered Emmy records for both Most Wins In A Single Year for a Drama and Most Wins For A Drama for all time. But perhaps more impressively the viewer ratings have gone up every year for seven years straight, which is doubly impressive in an era where viewership across the board for television has gone down.
When HBO premieres the final episodes of Game of Thrones, it will be expected to continue both these trends, starting on April 14.
Here's the trailer.
Much like last year's "Walking Trailer" of Cersei, Daenerys, and Jon Snow, this is also a trailer created explicitly for the purpose, which means... no new footage. This is not surprising, as Game of Thrones Season 8 has so far followed the Game of Thrones Season 7 roll-out model, with a first teaser that was all representative images, then a glimpse in a trailer mixed with other things, and now a standalone trailer which gives fans both nothing and everything.
In fact, this trailer mimics the 2017 trailer so closely, it even starts with Jon walking underground passages. But where the setting for the 2017 trailer was not immediately identifiable, this time Jon is walking through the Winterfell crypts, passing the statue of Lyanna Stark, whispering: "You must protect him," and Ned, reminding Jon "You have my blood."
Since these are the Winterfell crypts, this time, Jon is walking with two different women, his sisters. Sansa passes Cat, lamenting her inability to love a motherless child, as Arya walks with her. The three meet in front of the tombs, the parallels are obvious. Arya to Lyanna, Sansa to Cat, Jon to Ned.
And then winter comes.
It's an odd moment as the ice smoke rolls in, the now-familiar calling card of the Night King and his army. Jon and Arya both draw swords, which almost feels futile, weapons against a creepy unseen enemy who can attack in any direction. But perhaps that's part of the point. The fight coming to the Stark family home this season is, on some level, one with impossible odds. After all, the dead keep coming, and the more they kill, the more their ranks grow.
How does one defeat such an enemy? Can one defeat such an enemy?
Fans will find out starting on Sunday, April 14, 2019, at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.