An Overly In-Depth Look At The New ‘Game Of Thrones’ Trailer

“The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives”

Today might be the longest day of the year, but HBO is pretty clearly invested in reminding us that dark times are ahead. That's right, on the first day of summer, winter has also arrived in the form of a brand-new trailer for season seven of Game of Thrones.

The trailer opens with Sansa Stark, eyes as icy blue as the frosty air through which she walks, with a look of determination on her face as the haunting sounds of a piano rain down; over it all, the voice of Littlefinger intones: "Don't fight in the north or in the south. Fight every battle. Everywhere. Always—in your mind."

From there, every character from Cersei to Daenerys to Jaime to Tormund to Tyrion to Theon to Bran to the Hound to Davos to Asha to Arya to Grey Worm to Jon Snow to the Night King himself can be seen in states ranging from contemplation to all-out warfare. Notably, though, they almost all stand alone. (The lone exception being Brienne, who is seen with faithful sidekick Podrick, which is as it should be, because Pod should never be left alone! He's too good for that world and wouldn't survive a day.)

It's this solitude that is striking, particularly at a time when so many alliances had just been formed between the various houses, with the prior Game of Thrones season ending with an impressive demonstration of the ways in which the Targaryens, Greyjoys, Martells, and Tyrells had joined forces. But it seems like there is dissension in the ranks; the trailer's visual display of the characters' loneliness is evocative of the fact that even when there appear to be bonds between houses—or even individual people, like Jaime and Cersei or Sansa and Jon—everyone is in it for themselves.

And yet, there is an effort to overturn this sorry situation, so that the Westerosi can band together and fight the common enemy: death itself—in the form of the White Walkers. Jon is more aware than anyone that the threat of winter personified is an existential one. His voice is the next one heard in the trailer as he says, "For centuries our families fought together against our common enemy. Despite their differences, together. We need to do the same if we're going to survive because the enemy is real. It's always been real."

It's hard to know who will answer Jon's call to arms, though. Certainly not Cersei, whose literal scorched earth policy means she is left with no one, not even her beloved brother. But will Daenerys understand the need of joining forces? It's hard to know; she has risen to power on her own, and though she trusts others and has entered alliances, it's hard to know the degree to which she will want to commit to a new fight.

But it's undoubtedly the only hope for survival; George R.R. Martin's books aren't called A Song of Ice and Fire for nothing, after all. The White Walkers are on a clear collision course with Dany's dragons, who are, in fact, fire personified.

Before that climactic battle occurs, however, the fate of so many other GoT characters is clearly dependent upon whom they choose to trust in the coming storm. And as the trailer ends, and we see Sansa again hurrying through the snowy woods saying, "When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives," we can only hope that she and those other remaining lone wolves, Arya and Bran, band together once more, and use the power of their pack to defeat the darkness.

Game of Thrones is back on July 16 on HBO.