HBO released a batch of photos from Game of Thrones season 7 today, which are cause for more excitement than the teaser trailer as, while the trailer was conceptual and featured footage that won't be used in the show, the photos come straight from scenes in the new episodes.
We look at them one-by-one and extrapolate what we can in the gallery below.
After months of waiting, HBO finally confirmed that Game of Thrones will return for in the US on 16 July. Sky Atlantic and NOW TV will simulcast every episode weekly at 2 am from 17 July, followed by a repeat at 9 pm the same day.
Rather than simply announcing the release date, HBO decided to milk fan hysteria with a Facebook Live video that saw a vast block of ice melt when triggered by viewer comments, eventually revealing when the show would return. Unfortunately, things didn't exactly go to plan.
Game of Thrones season 7 photos
Game of Thrones season 7 photos
First up is The Hound, who has a rough round the edges look that suggests he has taken up the Brotherhood without banners on their offer to join them. Excitingly, it looks as though he's headed into snowier territory with them to fight "the cold winds rising in the North".
Daeanerys and entourage arrive in Westeros. Is she looking up at Dragonstone, Targaryen stronghold and her new home?
Jon looks to be in a crypt and slightly sad (even for him). Is he learning about his true parentage at Winterfell?
Despite it involving the annually boring Sam and Gilly, this image is the most telling of them all. Reddit has, of course, already decoded what she is reading - a passage from The World of Ice and Fire. Specifically, it says: "and the followers of The Lord of Light claim that this hero was named Azor Ahai, and prophesy his return." This regards a very popular fan theory that Jon Snow is Azor Ahai, the chosen one.
Lyanna Mormont speaks at Winterfell. Being incredibly level-headed for her age, is she supporting Jon's assessment that the real battle is with the White Walkers? Littlefinger conspires in the background.
Meera looks tired from dragging Bran's ass through the snow. But, looking up, have they finally reached The Wall?
Arya is back but why is she in a tavern? Your guess is as good as mine here.
Littlefinger talks to Sansa in Winterfell, no doubt trying to turn her against one of her siblings.
Tormund and Brienne. Get a room already!
Ser Davos remains at Jon's side, which is nice. He's gotten himself a nice winter fur too!
Cersei and (a dispirited?) Jaime listen in the Throne room. Possibly to a Stark or Targaryen emissary explaining the White Walker threat?
Daenerys in her new Targ outfit in the Dragonstone throne room.
New threads for Varys
Little to read on Tyrion.
Same goes for Missandei, who faithfully remains at Daenerys' side in Westeros.
Every other season has debuted around April, yet season seven won't start until July. Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss explained: “We're starting a bit later because at the end of this season, 'Winter is here' – and that means that sunny weather doesn't really serve our purposes anymore.
“So we kind of pushed everything down the line, so we could get some grim grey weather even in the sunnier places that we shoot.”
While other seasons have been made up of 10 episodes, season seven will contain just seven. However, thanks to the show’s huge ambitions for the upcoming episodes, they’re spending just as much time filming this season as previous ones.
“Season seven has much more ambition,” Kit Harrington - who plays Jon Snow - previously said. “There are less episodes this year, so they spent more money on those episodes. So, the whole scale of it is up.”Reuse content