The Game of Thrones debut date trailer didn't contain a single instance of footage from the upcoming final season. Instead, it was a "purpose-made" trailer, directed by David Nutter (who will helm three of the six episodes). It was also full of portentous images, with statues of the current Stark clan as well as those already deceased. But the detail that caught most fans' eyes was the feather, which flew out of the hand of the Lyanna statue as Jon Snow walked by. What does the feather mean in the Game Of Thrones Season 8 trailer?
One of the few things Game of Thrones has been willing to confirm about Season 8 is the opening episode will harken back to Season 1 episode 1, "Winter Is Coming." This episode will also be directed by Nutter, so it shouldn't surprise anyone his debut date teaser here also calls back to the very first episode of the season.
After Robert Baratheon's entourage arrives at Winterfell, he and Ned head off to the crypts so Robert can pay his respects at Lyanna's grave. This is the first time the show begins to spell out the mythos of Lyanna Stark, kidnapped and raped by the evil Targaryen, Rhaegar. As Robert pays his tribute to Lyanna, he places a feather in her hand.
The feather represents the open sky and the clouds Robert believes Lyanna should be buried under. As fans know now, it's a symbol of how little he ever knew or understood Lyanna. She wanted to be buried in the crypts. If he did know her, he would have brought blue winter roses.
But this is actually the third time fans have seen the feather. The first is when Robert leaves it in the crypt. The second is in Season 5 after Sansa returns home. She goes down to visit the tombs before her wedding to Ramsay Bolton, only to run into Littlefinger.
But just before Littlefinger turns up, she notices the feather on the floor and picks it up, wondering where it came from.
This clip is as vital as the one with Robert. Littlefinger tells the story of the Tourney at Harrenhal, where viewers now know Rhaegar and Lyanna met and fell in love so deeply, they decided to run away together.
But before Littlefinger can suggest what really happened, Sansa cuts him off. She recites the ending to the story that reflects the version of history Robert insisted on as accurate. It's the mythos embedded in the feather.
So what is the symbolism of the feather in the new trailer? As Jon walks by, it flutters from Lyanna's hand falling to the floor. Lyanna's voice whispers, "You must protect him."
The feather flitting out of the statue's hand, lost and forgotten, embodies Robert's fantasy of Lyanna blowing away, the cover story Ned agreed to for all those years, tumbling to the floor. Lyanna never wanted feathers from Robert, or to lie on a high hill. These were the lies that protected Jon Snow from learning who he was. But these lies are no longer necessary, as they only hold him back from his true path.
Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres Sunday, April 14, 2019.