Game of Thrones season 8 trailer reveals little of Tyrion Lannister; why that has us perplexed

Rohini Nair

Mar 06, 2019 14:50:11 IST

After many a tease, the Game of Thrones season 8 trailer finally released on 5 March 2019, a one-and-half minute extravaganza that sent fans worldwide into a (predictable) frenzy.

We have a breakdown on the visuals from the season 8 trailer here, and for the most part, there were few surprises. Everything that you see in this trailer follows events as we left them at the end of season 7.

Jon and Daenerys have reached Winterfell, along with the dragons, Grey Worm's Unsullied and all of their trusted advisors and allies (Ser Jorah, Brienne, Missandei, Ser Davos, the Hound et al). Jamie has also made his way to them — and is heard reaffirming his promise of fighting for the living. He'll have to reassure Jon and Dany that after Cersei's backtracking (she did, after all, swear to align her armies with theirs after the parlay at the Dragonpit), he still is intent on fulfilling his promise.

Game of Thrones season 8 trailer reveals little of Tyrion Lannister; why that has us perplexed

Peter Dinklage in a still from the Game of Thrones season 8 trailer. HBO

Cersei herself is lording it over King's Landing — in a somewhat empty Throne Room no doubt, but one in which she peaceably sits atop the Iron Throne. The army of sellswords she asked Euron Greyjoy to bring her, have also reached the capital. She has free rein to stake her claim over all of the lower half of Westeros while the battle between the living and the dead rages up North.

So far, so expected.

We've also seen other vignettes that fit in with the natural progression of events set rolling in season 7: Winterfell preparing for a long, difficult, and perhaps unwinnable war; furious battlefield sequences. Jon being told of his true Targaryen identity and probably riding the dragon Rhaegal (named fittingly enough after his father Rhaegar Targaryen; just like Rhaego, Danny's son with Khal Drogo).

Doom — if the glimpses of the usually cool, unflappable Arya running panicked through the hallways is any indication — has come to Winterfell.

All of this is no surprise.

What is surprising, is the near absence of Tyrion. Now we do see a glimpse of him at the very end, looking up with some inexplicable emotion — fear? guilt? sorrow? — only to have the screen turn to flame when one of the dragons lets loose a fiery roar.

Tyrion is also among the characters whose season 8 arc is almost entirely a mystery. When we last saw him, Tyrion was standing in the shadows, again with an inexplicable expression on his face — hurt? watchfulness? betrayal? — as he saw Jon enter Danny's stateroom on the ship bearing them North. Before this, when the negotiations at the Dragonpit broke down, he persuaded Dany to let him speak to Cersei in private — and seemingly succeeded in bringing her over to their side. But at what cost? There is quite some conjecture over what deal, if any, did Tyrion strike with Cersei — and if he knew her acquiescence to the proposed plan (call a truce with the Starks and Daenerys, while they battled the army of the dead) was fake.

Tyrion's return to Winterfell, while not the most important development, could not be without its emotional heft.

He will face Sansa — once his wife — for the first time after she went missing during the chaos of Joffrey's death. A death that Tyrion was blamed for, imprisoned for, and nearly executed for. A fate he escaped by killing his own father (and his lover Shae). There are few things considered worse in Westeros than to be a Kingslayer or a kinslayer. Not that he would hold Sansa accountable for what befell him; she was as much a victim as he of Cersei's machinations and rage. But that confrontation is bound to be charged. To not see even a passing glimpse of it in the trailer is odd. We see Sansa's reaction to the dragons soaring over Winterfell, but not on meeting Tyrion?

Even leaving aside emotional elements of the plot — Tyrion is still the Hand of the Queen. One assumes that if there was time spent on showing Gendry working in the foundry and Ser Davos manning the Winterfell ramparts, and Lord Varys seeking refuge in the crypts, there would be at least some allusion to Tyrion's role in strategising the attack against the army of the dead.

Tyrion Lannister. Game of Thrones. HBO

Tyrion Lannister. Game of Thrones. HBO

Tyrion has had firsthand experience of battle — both on the field and in the war room. From his ill-fated part in the skirmish at Green Fork, to his expert handling of the rout at Blackwater Bay, to the attacks (by the Sons of the Harpy) Daenerys' people were subjected to in Meereen, and most recently, the Battle of the Goldroad/Tumbleton, Tyrion has always led from the front.

So his relative absence or the lack of these visuals in the trailer seems...odd.

The reason for this lack could be that Tyrion's storyline, among all the others, will offer up so many shocks this final season that showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss simply could not give away any hints as to his fate.

At one time, a pet theory among fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire verse was that Tyrion was a Targaryen too (born of the Mad King Aerys' possible rape of Joanna Lannister). There was circumstantial evidence enough for this possibility — the way Tyrion approaches Rhaegal and Viseryon under the pyramids at Meereen; his fascination with dragons even as a child; the talk of the "three heads of the dragon"; the many malformed babies born into the Targaryen family in days of yore (not counting Danny's own, with Drogo). With Viseryon now the Night King's mount, the possibility of Tyrion being the dragon's "third head" seems distant.

This still leaves the other theory fans of ASOIAF are wont to discuss at length: that of Tyrion being the "valonqar" (little brother) who would cause Cersei's end. The prophecy that Cersei receives as a child from a fortuneteller she visits ("And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you") is said to be the reason for her hatred of Tyrion, apart from the fact that she blames him for their mother's death. But Jamie is also technically Cersei's little brother, having been born a few seconds after his twin — a 'valonqar'. Which puts this fan theory about Tyrion in some doubt too.

So just how will Tyrion's character arc play out over Game of Thrones season 8? Like his limited presence in the trailer, that will remain a mystery until 14 April.

Updated Date: Mar 06, 2019 15:06:50 IST