'Game Of Thrones' Season 7 Trailer: 'The Great War Is Here'

You may recall that the first season of Game of Thrones featured a lead character being awkwardly knocked unconscious as he led his troops into battle because the show's budget simply couldn't pay for an action scene larger than a small skirmish.

The Game of Thrones season 7 trailer laughs at that scene.

Six years later, the trailer for the show's seventh season features giant dragons soaring over battlefields filled with thousands of soldiers on horseback. It's a testament to the show's ongoing popularity that HBO would cough up the cash to make this happen, but it's also a testament to every single person who works on the show that the series has been good enough for long enough to earn this level of trust from the network. As Game of Thrones has gotten bigger and bigger, offering more intense and dramatic battle sequences each season, no one has lost sight of what makes this show so incredible – we actually care about the characters whose fates rest on the outcome of these battles.

While Game of Thrones has never been bigger, it's ensemble has never been smaller. Season 6 really did a number on the cast, with a significant portion of the major characters hacked to pieces or blown to smithereens or splattered on the grounds of the Red Keep when the final credits rolled. But that smaller cast means that everyone has more power to their name, which means that Westeros is suddenly looking way too small to accommodate all of them. Something has to give. War is here.

This feels appropriately climactic, right? Daenerys Targaryen has finally landed at Westeros and she's set up shop at Dragonstone. Meanwhile, the few surviving Lannisters plot from King's Landing and the Stark family regroups up north at Winterfell. All three sides are preparing for war and, to make matters all the more painful, it's hard to know who to root for. Daenerys, who has fought tooth and nail to rise above abuse and slavery, deserves to reclaim to her birthright. The Starks, who have endured so much at the hands of less noble enemies, deserve a happy ending. The Lannisters...well, they're still a bunch of jerks, but they're jerks that we love to watch.

Yeah, I'm excited for the big battles, but I'm a bundle of nerves when it comes to thinking about what's going to happen to the dwindling circle of characters I truly love. Especially since winter is here. Oh, and we haven't even gotten to the army of the undead knocking on the Wall. That's going to be a thing to worry about. Eventually

Game of Thrones season 7 premieres on July 16, 2017.