HBO aired a new teaser for Season 2 entitled Shadow immediately before the premier of Luck yesterday:
I thought I'd break down the shots we see and the voiceover we hear. Spoilers for season 2 and the book it is based upon, A Clash of Kings, herein. I posted a straight forward breakdown of the trailer without the commentary about the source material on the Game of Thrones Wiki so TV only viewers should think twice before reading on. The straight breakdown is here. That said the spoiler below are really quite mild and do not relate to anything not seen in the trailer or give away any of the endings to character arcs in the second book.
The music in the trailer is Vengeance by Zack Hemsey. The video below is the full version of the song. Its a great bit of music and I highly recommend putting it on in the background as you read onwards.
We open on a black screen with Varys giving a speech about power being a trick played on the masses in voiceover. This speech is adapted from the riddle that Varys tells Tyrion in A Clash of Kings chapter 4, Tyrion I, page 49. In the book the riddle goes:
"In a room sit three great men, a king, a priest, and a rich man with his gold. Between them stands a sellsword, a little man of common birth and no great mind. Each of the great ones bids him slay the other two. 'Do it', says the king, 'for I am your lawful ruler.' 'Do it', says the priest, 'for I command you in the names of the gods.' 'Do it', says the rich man, 'and all this gold shall be yours.' So tell me - who lives and who dies?"
They discuss the riddle again in A Clash of Kings chapter 9, Tyrion II, page 97. In the book Varys says that the riddle means that:
Varys: "Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less."
Tyrion: "So power is a mummer's trick?"
Varys: "A shadow on the wall, yet shadows can kill. And oftimes a very small man can cast a very large shadow."
"Three great men, a king, a priest, and a rich man. Between them stands a common sellsword. Each great man bids the sellsword kill the other two. Who lives, who dies? Power resides where men believe it resides; it's a trick, a shadow on the wall, and a very small man can cast a very large shadow."
I think its a great bit of dialogue well distilled from the source material. The writers have done a grand job with Varys and his talent for obfuscation and wordplay so far. I look forward to seeing more of him in season 2.
The fourth shot is a close-up of Varys speaking establishing beyond a doubt that is him providing the opening voiceover.
Next we get a title card "Based on the Best-Selling Novels". Indisputable, congratulations to George R. R. Martin on recently joining the million sellers club via kindle.
Voiceover: "You're fighting to overthrow a king". I'm unsure who delivered this line. There are so many kings and so many fights in this part of the story that the suspects are numerous. Can anyone with a better ear enlighten me?
A title card "The Most Acclaimed Series of the Year". Now this one I take issue with. Which year? It is 2012 now but the series garnered most of its acclaim when it was last on the air in 2011. How do we measure the acclaim of a television series? This is the sort of unsupported (unsupportable?) hyperbole that does an advertising campaign no favours to my mind.
A title card reading "Returns".
Daenerys in voiceover completing the line "with fire and blood" as we see the thirty first shot; a rider on barren ground, the sun low and bright in the sky above them. The terrain fits with the ground we saw Daenerys surveying in her riding gear earlier. I cannot identify the rider here given that we don't see their face. I'd guess at Rakharo.
Thirty fourth is a mother and babe being accosted by armoured men. I thought this was likely to be Allar Deem of the Goldcloaks being sent after Mhaegen and Barra. Barra is one of Robert's bastards and Mhaegen is her mother; we met both briefly when Ned was investigating Jon Arryn's death in the first season and uncovered several of Robert's bastards. Tyrion questions Deems' commander Janos Slynt about this in A Clash of Kings Chapter 9 Tyrion II page 91.
Thirty sixth; the hound leads a charge of Lannister guardsmen against men with square shields next to a stone wall at night. This seemed likely to be the Battle of the Blackwater to me; a fight between Joffrey and Stannis for control of King's Landing. It would be odd for this to be in a trailer as the battle happens near the end of the book (chapter 59 Davos III page 599) and has been confirmed as being the focus of the ninth episode of the season entitled "Blackwater".
Title card: "Game of Thrones: Season 2" surrounded by a ring of flames
Close-up of Varys, taken aback by Tyrion barring his way. Tyrion says "...this game is played."
Title card: "April 1" surrounded by a ring of flames.
Looking forward to that date. Please leave a comment if you disagree with any of my guesses.