Everything we know about Game Of Thrones Season 8
HBO has just teased new footage from Game Of Thrones Season 8 in a roundup of the channel’s new programming for 2019. Look carefully at 1:10, and you’ll see Jon Snow (Kit Harington) hugging Sansa (Sophie Turner) at Winterfell. Sure, it’s short, but it suggests that the siblings will be reunited some time soon, despite Season 7 ending with Snow and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) on route to White Harbour.
This tiny clip also proves that the King Of The North will be returning to his ancestral home before long. Which is probably just as well, given that the wall has fallen and the Night King’s monstrous army is shuffling its way down south. Eagle-eyed fans (who, by the way, are running riot in the comments section, should you fancy a deep-dive into the internet wormhole that is multifarious GoT theories) have been quick to point out that no, this is not the hug from Season 7, but definitely brand-new footage, as well as the markedly different look in Sansa’s eyes this embrace around. And one thing’s for sure – she does not look happy. Perhaps Snow has brought an unwelcome visitor (or wife, dare we speculate) back to Winterfell...
Production is finished
Filming for the final season wrapped in early July, with trusty fan site Watchers On The Wall (read: mega-blog for total and utter GoT nerds, many of us here at GQ included) reporting that the last official day of filming was 6 July 2018. Masie Williams, aka Arya Stark, posted a photo of blood-stained Nike trainers with the caption “Goodbye Belfast. goodbye Arya. Goodbye Game Of Thrones. What a joy i’ve had. Here’s to the adventures to come #lastwomanstanding #barely”. As with everything in Westeros, it seems here that it's in the detail. What are those cryptic hashtags? Is Arya Stark really the last woman standing? Will every other major character die? The anticipation is real.
It will definitely air before May 2019
Season 8 will hit screens some time in the first half 2019. An exact premiere date has yet to be announced, but anxiety-riddled rumours that the season might be delayed have been put to bed after it was reported that HBO will run all six episodes before the 2019 Emmy cut-off date of 31 May 2019. This means that the premiere will have to be shown no later than 21 April, which mirrors all but one of the previous seven season premieres.
The episodes are fewer and longer
We’re expecting six feature-length episodes, anywhere between one or two hours each. This is both good news and bad. On the one hand, we get more of what we want, rammed into bigger budget film-style episodes, but on the other hand, it’ll be over before we know it.
But the budget is mighty
Specifically: £11.2 million per episode (compared to Game Of Thrones's average £5 million per episode) breezily topping The Crown’s budget of $100m for two seasons, which weighs in at about $5m or £3.7m per Netflix episode (previously the most expensive season budget in history).
We’re in safe hands
Showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss are still on board, steadily steering Game Of Thrones towards its grisly end. They’re even writing their own episodes – something we haven’t seen since season five. It seems like an age ago, but that was way back when we were thumping our seats in rage at Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free) getting poisoned; cheering loudly when Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) finally killed Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane); and smiling smugly when Cersei (Lena Headey) walked naked through King’s Landing. They’ll also be joined by past episode directors David Nutter ("Red Wedding") and Miguel Sapochnik (Emmy-winning finale "The Winds Of Winter").
And the best of the bunch is penning the script
Reassuringly, it’s been confirmed that some of our favourite writers have been at work: Dave Hill wrote the first, Bryan Cogman the second, and Benioff and Weiss the final four. Apparently, Hill started out as an assistant, and he had the idea that Olly (Brenock O’Connor) would end up killing Ygritte (Rose Leslie) – causing Jon Snow’s (Kit Harrington) broken heart, and his own promotion. Oh, and Cogman – he’s been around since the beginning, and even wrote an episode of season one.
Unfortunately, George RR Martin said in August that he still hadn't watched season seven yet. The real question is whether Martin will follow in the episodes footsteps, or whether we’ll get to see what he wants to happen when he finishes his epic book series.
The season is hack proof
To stop hackers from spoiling the end, a plan has been devised: HBO’s president of programming Casey Bloys announced several different endings will be shot in an effort to prevent hackers from ruining the finale. Bloys has said, “You have to do that on a long show. Because when you’re shooting something, people know. So, they’re going to shoot multiple versions so that there’s no real definitive answer until the end.”
Which means nobody has a clue how it will end
Prepare for an onslaught of whimsical fan theories. What if Brandon Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is actually the Night King because he went back in time to help stop the war between mankind and the Children of the Forest? And what if Jon Snow has to kill Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) to defeat the White Walkers? You didn’t think there was going to be a happy ending, did you?
What we do know is that Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) is definitely going to kick the bucket. Asbaek said it himself. And he’s not the only one. According to a prophecy in season seven, episode three, Melisandre (Carice van Houten) and Varys (Conleth Hill) are destined to return to Westeros to die before the show ends. And speaking of prophecies, do you remember that one from the beginning of season five? Cersei will die at the hands of her brother. Whether that’s Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) or Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) in disguise, nobody knows.