Several people have complained that the Grimm, despite being described as the ultimate threat to humanity, have been little more than just featureless canon fodder animals for the cast to mow down whenever they leave the school building, with human criminal activity being the only actual threat needing answering, but remember: the opening narration explicitly described the Grimm as already being effectively conquered long ago when humans mastered the use of Dust and Aura, which has only gotten more refined as history continued. Ozpin repeatedly describes the present day as a "time of peace" that he is trying desperately to preserve from destabilization, and when the first episode exposition elaborates on the "coming reemergence of the dark age" the camera focuses on Torchwick and his goons. The Grimm are representative of nature (possibly, but not necessarily, literally as Gaia's Vengeance) in the old "man vs nature" of the early civilization, and with the degree of technology present, nature is clearly brought to heel, so as long as the remaining Wildlands are kept closely monitored, nature doesn't pose a major threat without some freak disaster. The key danger to a civilization of Remnants level is internal "man vs man" conflicts that might destabilize and break down society enough to regress technology or allow nature to regrow unchecked enough to once again oppose mankind, thus the true big picture of why the White Fang and Torchwick is so potentially devastating.
Team RWBY and fairy tale motifs:
Yang and Blake become partners in Episode 6 (later becoming a full team when they join with Ruby and Weiss). Going by the lyrics of 'Red Like Roses', that makes them the Beauty and the Beast.
Making another fairy tale duo, Weiss and Ruby's names and partnership make them Snow-White and Rose-Red. This lets Team RWBY allude to five different fairy tales with only four members.
The girls are inspired by seemingly unrelated tales. However, each tale involves a girl, a house, and a potentially dangerous creature within. Red Riding Hood has her grandma's house and the Big Bad Wolf, Snow White has the Seven Dwarves' cottage, Belle has the Beast's mansion, and Goldilocks has the house with the Three Bears.
In episode 11, Ruby eats cookies while Weiss eats an apple. Rather appropriate, given their respective Fairytale Motifs.
The academies that train people to fight the monsters threatening civilization are called "Signal", "Beacon," and "Sanctum", which reference the "points of light" idea of an Adventure-Friendly World where isolated cities fight against the darkness.
A further connection between Weiss and her inspiration, Snow White: Mines. Dust is implied to be harvested from the earth (see the crystals it's sold as in Episode 1), and Weiss's family own Dust mines/process the substance. Snow White traveled to a mine and helped the workers there.
Ruby's weapon of choice is a Sinister Scythe, which is often associated with the Grim Reaper. The monsters are collectively known as the Grimm. Overall, many characters and creatures hail from stories written by The Brothers Grimm.
Pyrrha didn't use any recoil from her weapon to slow her descent, and just smashed through everything until she stopped. While this in itself is a viable strategy, it makes more sense given that she was intending to help Jaune all along. Since he was just falling, with nothing stopping him, she couldn't slow herself down and still land in time.
The lyric "And victory is in a simple soul" takes on an additionally optimistic tone after having learned that the Grimm are The Soulless, lacking even the simplest of souls and, consequently, victory. And given Episode 1's narration which ends with Ozpin commenting that perhaps the answer lies with a simpler, more innocent soul. Aura, used in combat, draws power from your soul. Victory is LITERALLY dependent on your soul, not just metaphorically.
The white flash whenever a human character is struck by one of the powerful blows being thrown around in the Yellow trailer is, in retrospect, clearly their aura defending them from lethal damage.
The By the Lights of Their Eyes sequence in episode seven was just a funny gag, right? Well, eyes are generally considered windows to the soul, and the soul is the source of Aura...
The girls' eye colours seem to reflect the next member of the team colour-wise. the only exception being Weiss, cause black eyes would just look weird. Yang would also be an exception, except her eyes turn red in her super form, making it all come full circle...sort of.
In the Yellow Trailer, Yang fights two girls who likely represent Snow-White and Rose-Red; fitting as, in their fairy tale, their ally was a bear.
Cardin's meaningful name explained by darkstarsabre on reddit:
"People have picked up on the Winchester part and the firearms being used in colonial activities - largely alluding to his treatment of faunus. But something much more interesting for you to consider. Henry Beaufort. The Cardinal of Winchester who presided at the trial of Joan of Arc."
Jaune faked his way into Beacon, explaining his initial incompetence, his Boring, but Practical sword and shield as opposed to the Crazy mix-and-match weapons of the rest of Beacon's student body (and his surprise at Ruby's Crescent Rose being custom-made), his extremely casual clothing (underneath his armor, he's just wearing a sweatshirt, jeans, and sneakers), and the fact that he didn't recognize Pyrrha except by a cereal box advertisement.
In Forever Fall Part 2, Pyrrha explains that she can control magnetism. This explains her absurd accuracy with a thrown spear, and her shield (there's a Freeze-Frame Bonus in Players and Pieces where her spear hovers up to her hand with the magnetic sound effect when she gets launched over the Death Stalker). Magnetism would give her a large advantage over most opponents. Most of the characters we've seen so far use metallic weapons. Magnetism is one of the most versatile powers in fiction, reinforcing Pyrrha's position as the "strongest fighter" in Beacon.
When Blake gets tired of everyone bickering around her while she's trying to read, she gets everyone to shut up by blowing out her candle, seemingly surrendering her book for some peace and quiet. However, we later find out that she's a Faunus, and that means she can see in the dark, so she likely wasn't losing any reading time at all.
How do cats act towards new people? Cold, stand-offish...but once they realize you're family; they warm up to you. Exactly how Blake acted.
Weiss's refusal to acknowledge that not all Faunus are bad news and Blake's refusal to acknowledge that the White Fang really is show their black and white views of the issue, matching their color themes.
Why did Roman run from robbery at first when it's fully possible he could have taken Ruby in a straight fight? Because there was no point in doing so. The container full of dust was lost in the action, leaving him with no reason to do anything but simply book it.
After Blake explains the backstory of the White Fang, it becomes apparent that the song "From Shadows" isn't about Blake, but about the White Fang.
So we know that Ruby associates better with weapons than with people, and what's her gun's last name again? That's right, she named Crescent Rose like a family member.
The RWBY "White" trailer was released on February 14, 2013, otherwise known as Valentine's Day. The song featured in the trailer, "Mirror Mirror", makes constant references to being alone. February 14 is also known as Singles Awareness Day.
A meta example: the shipping name 'White Rose' is a reference to Weiss and Ruby, but also a literal description of Ruby's sigil.
The iconic pose Ruby makes against the moon in her trailer is subtly repeated in the other three. Weiss poses in front of a window's streaming light before delivering the finishing blow to the knight, Blake poses in front of the shattered moon after doing a launch attack with Gambol Shroud against the Spider Mecha, and Yang backflips after punching Junior, posing up against the disco ball at the club as she reaches the height of the flip.
The hilariously over-the-topFood Fight in "Best Day Ever", between Teams RWBY and JNPR, is clearly more than just that; look closely at how many of them used food (and other things) in ways that highly acted like their regular weapons. In other words, a what-if subtext of Team RWBY vs. Team JNPR.
Also from the Food Fight, why were Team RWBY and Team JNPR able to use leeks, sausages, turkeys, baguettes and watermelons as weapons? Back in Season One, Pyrrha mentions that Aura can be used to strengthen weapons, among other things, to Jaune. Apparently in the hands of a skilled Aura user, even a broom is as tough as a sword. Or a piece of bread. Or a swordfish.
There's a neat callback during the Food Fight when once again in a fight, Ruby does a Flash Step directly in front of Weiss. Only this time, instead of screwing up Weiss's attack, it was to take the shot from Nora that Weiss was trying to brace for.
If Cinder, Roman, Mercury, and Emerald were a Hunter team, they'd be team CRME (Crime).
The first actual exam for Beacon Academy involves catapulting several students several hundred feet in the air, into a forest infested with shadow-like beasts, and at least one cavern that is home to a gigantic scorpion. Most of the main cast is Made of Iron, with the exception of Jaune, who had no knowledge of how to use his Aura, the same power that makes the other characters superhuman. What would have happened to Jaune if Pyrrha hadn't gone out of her way to land quickly and save him? Assuming he did survive the fall, he wouldn't have lasted long in that forest. It hasn't been mentioned yet if there have been any students like Jaune who may have been killed during this exam in the past. Beacon does perform some manner of background check on their entrants, but Jaune got in, despite being obviously unprepared, through a so-far vague screening process. This makes even more sense when you find out Jaune faked his papers to get into Beacon. Is the reason Ozpin still accepted him because he knew If he was lying, he would likely die in the first test, anyway? This makes Ozpin's "I'm proud of you" moment sound a lot more sinister.
Weiss explains how her family have been at war with the White Fang for years. Both employees and family friends have died. Given Weiss' remark about wanting bunk beds as a kid, it's possible her parents might have avoided having more children so they'd have fewer targets to protect.
We know that the Schnee Dust Company has been fighting with the White Fang. The latter has committed, theft, kidnapping, and murder. All we know about the former is that they've mistreated Fauna and committed dubious practices. At this point, the Schnee might be the bigger victims, justifying Weiss' anger towards the White Fang.
Weiss says that her father would come home furious everyday, and that it made for a difficult childhood. The way she said this, pounding her fist on the table, and being the highest emotional peak in her rant as she aggressively reacts against discussing it any longer, it almost sounds like Weiss was abused by her father.
The original plan with White Fang was to blow up the train; hence Blake backing out and cutting the train tracks; leaving Adam with....a big shipment of Dust. This occurrence likely led to their current partnership with Roman.
Knowing about the Faunus makes you question the bear head the DJ wore in the "Yellow" trailer. It could be seen as the Faunus equivalent of blackface.
In the first episode of volume two, Cinder caresses Roman's face when telling him just to do what she tells him to do. ...her eyes start to glow; and you can hear a faint sizzling. She's using her Semblance of fire from her hands; just enough that Roman can feel it. IE, she was telling him she could burn his face off.