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This post contains potential spoilers for Game of Thrones season eight. Turn back now if you have said “not today” to the god of rumors and speculation.
The seventh season of Game of Thrones feels like it wrapped up a lifetime ago, and it’ll be another lifetime till season eight starts airing. In the meantime, enjoy this examination of every last minuscule detail that’s currently available.
1. It won’t premiere till April 2019. HBO confirmed in January 2018 that the final season of the show will not air until next year.
2. It will consist of six episodes. In 2016, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said the final two seasons would include 13 episodes; seven in season seven and six in season eight. However, these final six might be longer than the standard hour-long ones we’ve enjoyed thus far. Sound designer Paula Fairfield told a crowd at Con of Thrones that season eight’s episodes may end up being feature-length (the season-seven finale clocked in at 82 minutes).
3. The scripts are written and will likely begin filming in October. Casey Bloys, HBO’s president of programming, said that the scripts are finished, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) told Collider that the actors go back to work in October 2017.
4. The scale will continue to be huge. Season seven’s battles were bigger and crazier than any the show’s ever done before — the loot train, of course, but also the ice dragon — and it seems that season eight will continue in that vein. “They spent an increasing amount of money on less episodes, so it’s gonna be much bigger in scale,” Kit Harington told The Huffington Post of season seven. “We’re trying new things, experimenting with new camera techniques. I think we’re trying to break boundaries and push past boundaries in these final two seasons.”
5. Only four writers will be responsible for all six episodes. According to David Benioff, Dave Hill will write episode one, Bryan Cogman will do episode two, and Benioff and D.B. Weiss will handle the last four.
6. Tyrion’s probably not going to fall for Daenerys. After the season finale scene where Tyrion lurked outside Daenerys’s door while she and Jon Snow had sex, people immediately began to speculate that Tyrion’s actions may have been fueled by his growing romantic feelings for Daenerys. Not so, says finale director Jeremy Podeswa. “I think there’s jealousy, but it’s maybe not romantic jealousy, in the way that it is for Jorah, for example,” he told the Daily Beast. “I think that for Tyrion, it’s more complicated. I think he has a very special relationship with Dany and he really believes in her as a true leader and has invested a lot in her. I think for him, with Jon and Dany getting together, this represents a possible undermining of his position with her and also a monkey wrench thrown into what the master plan really is meant to be around this entire alliance.” So for now you can keep your Tyrion/Daenerys pairing relegated to fan fiction.
7. The final six episodes will be handled by four directors: David Nutter, Miguel Sapochnik, and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Nutter last directed GoT in season five; Sapochnik’s most recent work on the show was in season six (he also directed season five’s “Hardhome”).
8. They may be filming multiple endings to avoid spoilers. Casey Bloys said in September that the crew would do this to avoid leaks, but consider that Game of Thrones episodes are very, very expensive to make — if they are doing this, they’re probably not doing them to full scale. Also, during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live in February, Maisie Williams denied that this was happening. “I don’t think we’ve got the budget to shoot lots of different endings,” she said. “As we know, sometimes presidents don’t always tell the truth.”
9. The Dragonpit will make another appearance. Los Siete Reinos, a Spanish fan site, confirmed that the Seville authorities had approved permits for filming at the ruins of Itálica, where the Dragonpit scenes were shot for season seven.
10. The Unsullied might get to battle in the snow for the first time. The Unsullied are fierce warriors, yes, but weather-wise, Slaver’s Bay is basically the south Florida of Essos. Some of these dudes have never seen snow in their lives, which is why the rumor that the Unsullied cast have been seen shooting in front of a green screen surrounded by snow-like material is so fun.
11. There’s probably going to be a big battle at Winterfell. This could be the same one that the Unsullied are dealing with in number 10 or something different, but either way, preparations for battle scenes have been spotted at the Winterfell set in Northern Ireland. And as Watchers on the Wall has noted, it appears there will be a lot of casualties at this battle.
12. King’s Landing has a new domed building. This could mean nothing, or it could mean…something, but fan site Winter Is Coming has noted that there’s a new dome on the King’s Landing set in Belfast; it’s a replica of one on St. Blaise’s Church in Dubrovnik, Croatia, where other King’s Landing scenes are filmed. As you’ll recall, Cersei blew up the Great Sept of Baelor back in season six, so this could be the site of a new sept. Then again, it could also just be a brothel getting an upgrade.
13. The ending won’t feel rushed despite the smaller number of episodes. Many fans complained about season seven’s wildly accelerated pace, but according to Missandei actress Nathalie Emmanuel, they won’t have much to complain about in the show’s final season. “They’ve taken the exact number of hours to tell the story they want to tell and it will be brilliant,” she told Metro U.K. in March.
14. There are going to be a handful of new characters, though they’re probably minor. A guy named Frank Blake has been cast as “Northern Sentry,” and HBO is casting for a young mother and her child for scenes to be filmed later this year. There are also new roles for a “Northern Girl” and a “boy who has to fight to make his way in the world.” Slightly more major new faces include Marc Rissmann, who’ll be playing Golden Company commander Harry Strickland, and Danielle Galligan, who’ll be playing a character known only as Sarra.
15. Melisandre will probably be back. In season seven, Melisandre left Westeros and went to Volantis to do R’hllor knows what. Eagled-eyed fans did some sleuthing on Carice van Houten’s Instagram and found that she was driving in the U.K., more specifically on a route that would take her near the GoT set, so there’s a decent chance she’ll live to see another episode or two.
16. The actor who plays Euron Greyjoy thinks he’s going to die. As a perennial fan of the underrated Greyjoys, I’ll be sad to see this happen, but I understand that it probably needs to happen. After all, when you play the game of thrones you win or you die, and there’s no way Euron is going to win. “He knows his time is spare,” Pilou Asbæk told Variety last year. “He knows he’s going to die at one point. And if you ask me, it’s probably going to be spectacular. I hope so.”
17. Tormund Giantsbane probably survived the collapse of the Wall. When we last saw everyone’s favorite ginger Wilding, he was trying and failing to fight off Viserion the Undead, but his fate was left a mystery. He’s since been spotted in Belfast and at table reads for the show, though, so unless he’s coming back as a White Walker, you can rest easy that he’s still kicking.
18. There could be a battle at the gates of King’s Landing that spills over into the city. Watchers on the Wall has noticed that the crew first built a breached gate for the city, then covered the breached section up to make it look whole and new. This could be a sign that they’re eventually going to destroy the nice part during filming so that the ruined part is visible, and what would ruin a city gate but an attacking army?
19. There will be more flashbacks. This might have seemed like a given, but now there’s actual information to back it up. Wilf Scolding, who played Daenerys’s brother Rhaegar Targaryen in flashbacks last season, was spotted in Belfast, leading to speculation that he’ll be back for season eight. He also posted a photo of himself in front of a hotel there but deleted it, either because he knew it was potentially spoiler-y or because he just didn’t want to feed the GoT rumor mill.
This post will be updated as more Game of Thrones season eight details emerge.
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