If you're anything like me, you've been salivating for any scrap of news about Game of Thrones' highly anticipated final season since well, the end of last season. For those who haven't been Googling "GoT release date" for months, that special day is April 14th. And now that it feels just within reach, HBO is rewarding fans with 14 gorgeous, surprising new images of our favorite characters ahead of the premiere date.
If you look closely, the images give away some small clues (check out Davos' wrinkled brow and the romantic shot of Jon and Daenarys!) that might give us some insight into the season's plot. But my biggest takeaway from these images is how far we have come with these characters and how much they have changed since we met them in April of 2011. Take a look at the shocking differences between Season 1 and the upcoming Season 8. And let us know in the comments if you think these images give away any spoilers!
Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth
This image from the new season shows Ser Davos' age, wisdom, and cautious attitude towards people of great power.
via: HBOHe famously said, "If we don't put aside our enmities and band together, we will die. And then it doesn't matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne."
Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth
When we left Brienne at the end of Season 7, she had begged Jamie to convince Cersei to put aside their differences and fight on the same side against the wights. Finally, we see her with Jon's group, apparently showing that she has chosen to help the North in their quest.
via: HBO"All my life men like you've sneered at me, and all my life I've been knocking men like you into the dust." ―Brienne to Jaime Lannister
Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark
Now, Bran is a warg who has become the newest Three-Eyed Raven. This season, he will need to use his talents in the war against the Night King.
via: HBO"I need to learn to see better. When the Long Night comes again...I need to be ready." ―Bran Stark
Conleth Hill as Lord Varys
He's an avid gossip and a talented manipulator who trades on information. His network of "little birds" give him information from across two continents.
via: HBO"Storms come and go, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling." ―Varys
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lanister
And now? Well, Jaime still has his wry, handsome smile... even if he is missing a hand and some of his pride at this point.
via: HBO"There are no men like me. Only me." ―Jaime Lannister to Catelyn Stark
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
When we left Daenerys at the end of Season 7, she was... ahem, getting it on with Jon Snow, who, unbeknownst to her, is actually her nephew. This show has no problem with incestuous love affairs, but this one made me pull at my collar a little bit like "yikes."
via: HBO"I spent my life in foreign lands. So many men have tried to kill me, I don't remember all their names. I have been sold like a broodmare. I've been chained and betrayed, raped and defiled. Do you know what kept me standing through all those years in exile? Faith. Not in any gods. Not in myths and legends. In myself. In Daenerys Targaryen. The world hadn't seen a dragon in centuries until my children were born. The Dothraki hadn't crossed the sea. Any sea. They did for me. I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms, and I will." ―Daenerys Targaryen to Jon Snow
John Bradley as Sam Tarly
Sam has been through a lot since Season 1, but on the upside, he now has Gilly and baby Sam. When we left him at the end of Season 7, he made the shocking discovery of Jon Snow's true parentage.
via: HBO"I saw it with my own eyes on our way down to Castle Black. He drove a dagger into the walker’s heart. He risked his own life to save mine more than once. He’s a greater warrior than either of you will ever be." ―Gilly to Randyll Tarly and Dickon Tarly
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
You can see in her eyes that immense tragedy has taken the wind out of her sails. Will Cersei join Jon and his crew to fight the Night King? Or turn her back on them entirely?
via: HBO"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground." ―Cersei Lannister
Cersei Lannister in the Red Keep
via: HBOYou may remember that at the end of Season 7, Jaime visited Cersei at the Red Keep. While there, Cersei asks Jaime if Daenerys will negotiate a surrender, but after discovering she seeks an armistice because of the larger threat at play from the Night King and his army, she begins to consider an alliance.
Kit Harington as Jon Snow (or should we start calling him Aegon Targaryen now?)
Now, Jon has weathered untold storms, risen from the dead (no biggie), and his true royal parentage has been uncovered.
via: HBOBran Stark: "And Jon's real name..." Lyanna Stark: "His name is Aegon Targaryen. You have to protect him. Promise me, Ned." Bran Stark: "He's never been a bastard. He's the heir to the Iron Throne." — Bran and Lyanna Stark
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark
In the years that passed, Arya has become a hardened, seasoned, stealthy warrior. She's checking names off her list, and her enemies never see her coming.
via: HBO"A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I'm going home." ―Arya Stark
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
Now, Tyrion is the trusted advisor to Daenerys. He must unite the Lannister family with Jon and Daenerys if they want any hope of surviving The Night King's army. But can he pull it off? Only time will tell.
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark
This portrait of Sansa really highlights her hardened, disillusioned outlook on life. The look in her eyes seems to say, "I've seen it all, and I won't back down now."
via: HBO"I did what I had to do to survive, my lady. But I am a Stark, I will always be a Stark." ―Sansa to Lyanna Mormont
Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke as Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, respectively.
via: HBOThey might be related but dang, they do look good together. What are you most excited to see in Season 8? Let us know in the comments!