Time to look at the preview show one more time. Or several more times for that matter, I know your MO, people. (The video has well over 5 million views on YouTube already, while the first trailer is nearing on 18 million.) Our Oz the Unsullied will provide his own valuable perspective soon, but before that I will step on the soapbox myself and roar a few thoughts at you. Contains 0% spoilers and 100% excitement.
Okay, I know, it is easy to be analytical and play it cool once some time has passed and you have become somewhat desensitised. For the sake of fairness, then, here is my gut reaction I left in the comments right after I saw Ice and Fire: A Foreshadowing for the first time on a European Monday morning, some five hours after it aired.
Holy crap, this will be more epic than ever, an awesome season is coming, based on this (and I say that as a seasoned veteran of WiC.net and someone who knows the plot). Just wow! A really effective ending with Drogon, but the shot that really got to me in its epic scale was Meereen! They did it justice. This is just getting better and better.
I still stand by those words. The consensus seems to be that the production managed to add yet another layer of polish and epic shine this year, on top of an already majestic third season. I did not think this was possible, and yet that is what the preview suggests.
Let us talk about the promotion strategy for this season, as I think HBO has actually done something different and new with this latest video. There were fewer smaller items this year, no posters or voice-only teasers, but the first trailer dropped reliably in January as expected, and the latest 15-minute preview was a real treat. What is new, then? For the first time, plot points of the new season were spoiled. No cagey commentaries on how things get bigger, better, more exciting, and more complex, but open talk about two events that have not yet been set up. The first one is Tyrion’s predicament, leaving viewers intrigued how he ended all chained up. The second one is the revelation that Daenerys is losing control of both her dragons and the political situation. These are both juicy dramatic crises for the characters to face, and I can say that bringing them up in a preview like that is no cheap teaser – they are plot points that will really deliver, and I am looking forward to them.
Why this different approach? My speculation is that the production wanted to try really hard to demonstrate that the shocker of a season ending from last year did not use up all the ammunition the show had in store, and far from it. I do not believe anyone would stop watching because of the Red Wedding (passionate protestations notwithstanding), yet just in case they offered some intrigues to look forward to for those that were most devastated by it. This was reinforced by including the lines from Maisie Williams where she says that the good guys are making a stand and coming back this season.
A lot of talk was dedicated to the pacing of the season as well. More precisely, to the fact that not everything is building up to one big finale this time around. Based on the events as we know them from the books, that is definitely the case. The best thing about it is that this does not mean spreading the content thin, but pretty much replicating the episode-nine effect a couple of times throughout the season with real badass moments and gamechangers. So many reasons why we are looking forward to April! And of course, as David Benioff put it, what other show has dragons?
Oh yes, Drogon GoT big.