"When you play the game of thrones, you either win or you die."
So says Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Heady) in the latest and by far the best trailer for HBO's upcoming "Game of Thrones," and truer words have never been spoken. If all of the previous videos promoting the series have been teasing just how great the adaptation of the first "A Song of Ice and Fire" novel is going to be as a television series, then this one finally, finally gives it all away.
The Wall. The Red Keep. Varys. The White Walkers. Old Nan. Syrio teaching Arya Stark her "needlework." It's all here after the jump.
Yes, we saw The Wall -- the giant wall of ice that protects the land of Westeros from the dangers of the icy north -- in the last teaser trailer for the series, but this one really gives all the goods away. Speaking as a huge fan of the books, it is exactly how it's supposed to look.
Another reason this trailer is great: it actually sets the stage for the more fantastical and larger dangers looming over the central political plot of the show. Considering that a large part of the pilot episode will deal with the long winter coming and the danger of the White Walkers, it's about time one of the teasers addressed this threat. Plus, look how terrifyingly awesome the above shot of the corpses destroyed by the White Walkers looks. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, HBO.
Then there's the Red Keep and the rest of King's Landing. As the name of the city suggests, this is where the king of Westeros lives, and as important a location as Winterfell to the story. The King's Landing scenes were shot in Malta to get a Mediterranean vibe, and the full shot of the city looks absolutely breathtaking.
Varys makes his long-awaited appearance in this teaser as well, warning Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), "The king is a fool, and doomed unless you save him." The Spider, aka Varys's nickname, is bound to be one of the most intricate and complicated characters on the show -- he definitely is in the books, at least -- and it's nice to see him appearing so early on.
Last but not least, there's Daenerys Targaryen and her husband, Khal Drogo. Be warned now, Dany could easily become your favorite character in this series before long. It's nice to watch her come into her own in this trailer, instead of just looking young and miserable.
Other things to look out for? Check out Syrio teaching young Arya Stark how to use a sword at 1:06 and Cersei Lannister teaching her son Joffrey that "anyone who isn't with us is an enemy." And if you still aren't convinced that this show is going to be freaking amazing, check out the history of the Stark family in the featurette below.
Are you looking forward to "Game of Thrones"? Can April 17 possibly come quickly enough? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter!