In the short clip we see Jon Snow striding through the crypt at Winterfell, as a mysterious exotic feather drops from the stone statue of Jon’s mother Lyanna Stark. He is soon joined by his half-sisters Arya and Sansa Stark who pass sculptures of Catelyn and Ned, hearing the voices of their dead parents before a misty chill creeps behind them – and freezes the feather.
So what significance does the feather have? Potentially, a huge amount. And that’s because we’ve seen it before. Twice.
The first time? In the show’s debut episode we see King Robert Baratheon placing it in the hand of Lyanna’s statue as he tells the pre-beheaded Ned he still dreams of killing Rhaegar Targaryen (secretly Jon Snow’s dad) every night.
After Ned responds “the Targaryens are gone”, Robert replies: “Not all of them.”
At this point the episode cuts to Daenerys, but Thrones fans now know there was a secret Targaryen – Jon Snow – at Winterfell, even if Robert only unintentionally referred to Jon, a character he thought of as Ned Stark’s bastard and not the child of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark.
The second time the feather appeared in the show? In another scene that hints at Jon Snow’s parentage. In season five Sansa visits the crypts where she discusses Rhaegar and Lyanna with Littlefinger, claiming Lyanna was kidnapped and raped by Rhaegar.
However, after that flashback, courtesy of Bran in season six, Thrones viewers know that Rhaegar and Lyanna were actually in love, with Lyanna carrying his child – Jon Snow – as the two wed.
So, with the feather featuring in both of those scenes we can treat it as a symbol of Jon’s true parentage, that he is a Targaryen, the true ruler of Westeros and Daenerys’ nephew.
And if the teaser is anything to go by, it looks like this revelation could finally become public in Westeros. After all, before the mist freezes the feather we see it’s finally escaped the stony clutches of Lyanna’s statue and in the eyeline of Jon Snow.
Will Jon finally learn the truth about his parents? Or does that ominous freeze indicate that the conquest of the white walker army and the Night King will make this reveal insignificant, shattering hopes of Jon taking the Iron Throne?
At the moment we’re not sure, but we’re guessing it’s not going to finish well. As a wise (and downright sadistic) man once said: “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”
Game of Thrones season 8 returns on Sunday 14 April 2019
This article was originally published on 14 January 2019