The first trailer for Season 5 of HBO’s epic fantasy (and fan torture device) Game of Thrones premiered last night during the first IMAX screenings of two Season 4 episodes. Of course it immediately leaked and proliferated on the Internet, giving viewers new fodder for the best part of watching Game of Thrones: fevered speculation about what might happen on Game of Thrones.
As emphasized by the lyrics to a stripped-down version of Bowie’s “Heroes,” the trailer seems to say, “We can be heroes ... but will we?” We see Lord Baelish urging Sansa Stark towards revenge, an awesomely bearded Tyrion plotting with Lord Varys about who could possibly control the iron throne (with a very suggestive cut to Daenerys), Arya Stark dramatically picking up a sword, and Jon Snow seemingly leading a charge into battle. Notably absent are any references to Lord Stannis (though the ever-disrobing Melisandre appears) or the Iron Islands, as well as references to a specific plot point from the book that some fans worry may be excised (here’s a spoiler).
But it may be a transitional moment in the Game of Thrones speculation game. The trailer leak coincides with George R.R. Martin's publisher’s announcement that we should not expect the next book in the series in 2015. The television series is rapidly catching up with the book series it draws from, and the narrative line of the show continues to deviate from the source material. Basically, speculation on what the show will cover, and when, based on the books seems increasingly futile, which might frankly be a relief to those of us tracking the show but not the books. Because this looks pretty exciting—that set piece of the statue on top of Meereen’s great pyramid getting pulled down looks particularly wild—and at this point getting disappointed by things before they even happen in the show feels tedious.