Get set for The Long Night
The Long Night is here, everyone. Game of Thrones Season 7 bowed out with an epic final episode in which we learned of Jon’s true parentage and saw The Night King and its Ice Dragon break down The Wall and move on Westeros.
As Season 8 approaches, here’s absolutely everything you need to know about the show’s final episodes, including release date, trailers, posters, photos and fan theories.
- Littlefinger is definitely dead, Aidan Gillen has confirmed.
- New posters and trailers
- Leaked cast list hints at surprising character returns
- Jason Momoa speaks about return rumours
- Runtimes of all episodes confirmed
- Isaac Hempstead Wright responds to Bran-Night King theory
- Is a battle between Jon Snow and The Night King on the way?
Possible spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8 below…
What is the release date for Game of Thrones Season 8?
Game of Thrones Season 8 has made fans wait a bit longer than usual, with Season 7 concluding in August 2017. We finally had a firm premiere date now though, with the show returning on April 14, 2019.
Where can I watch Game of Thrones Season 8?
As per previous seasons, Game of Thrones Season 8 will originally air on HBO, and then on Sky Atlantic the following day in the UK.
Are there any trailers for Game of Thrones Season 8?
Yes. The first official trailer was released on March 5 (watch below), providing the most in-depth look at the new season yet. “I know death. He’s got many faces. I look forward to seeing this one,” Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) says at the beginning, before preparations are made for the Winter War. Elsewhere, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) pledges to “fight for the living”.
In a teaser, we see Arya Stark as she looks up at a dragon who appears to be flying over the Unsullied and Dothraki. The moment then heads to a scene that shows armies arriving into Winterfell, which goes some way in explaining why Arya looks so happy to have them on board.
Another shot sees The Wall falling down from a seemingly different angle than the season seven finale, which suggests it could be the other side of Viserion’s unbridled destruction.
In another trailer (above), Bran Stark is somewhat conspicuous in his absence. Some fans have deemed this as proof that Bran will transform into the Night King after becoming stuck in time at the end of the series. However, there’s also the possibility that he might not be here because he’s become the Three-Eyed Raven and therefore never a true Stark again.
In a brief clip released during the Golden Globes, we see Daenerys Targaryen as she enters Winterfell with Jon Snow. She is greeted by Sansa Stark at the gates who tells her, “Winterfell is yours, your grace”, although there’s some clear animosity.
A teaser trailer released in December showed ice and fire sweeping over Westeros. The ice covers the Starks’ dire wolf and a Targaryen dragon but then fire rages up and sweeps up over a lion – representing the Lannister’s suggesting one epic battle is to come. HBO led on the words “fire and ice” to introduce the teaser.
Have photos been released from Game Of Thrones Season 8?
Yes! You can see them all below. Although giving little away, things look suitably dramatic.
A campaign was rolled out on Twitter on February 28, placing a whole host of characters on the Iron Throne. The images range from likely contenders such as Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) to current occupant Cersei (Lena Headey) and her brothers Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage).
The Stark siblings also take their turn: Sansa (Sophie Turner), Arya (Maisie Williams), and Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright). More surprisingly, characters including Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) appear in the individual posters too.
For Entertainment Weekly‘s special issue previewing the final season (published March 16), the magazine boasts 16 different covers featuring dramatic new images of Westeros’ surviving characters. Take a look at them all in the Twitter thread below.
What’s the plot of Game of Thrones Season 8?
Well, it’s going to be The Great War, isn’t it? The show and book have teased at lengths that the ultimate battle in the show is between the living and the dead – and now that The Night King is through the wall, that showdown is going to come sooner rather than later.
Obviously, there will be other smaller plotlines, but as the show moves towards its conclusion, every storyline sits within the lingering chill of The Night King’s assault on Westeros.
In a recent interview with Time, Kit Harington teased that this season the show is “bigger than it’s ever been”.
It also seems that a battle between Jon Snow and The Night King could be on the way. “People will see he has a target he wants to kill, and you will find out who that is,” Night King actor Vladimir Furdik teased in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“There’s also that moment [in season 5, episode 8 ‘Hardhome’] when Jon Snow was on the boat and the Night King looked at him and raised his arms – there’s a similar and even stronger moment between Jon and the Night King this time.”
One person who doesn’t seem to give a damn is Cersei Lannister, who is already manoeuvring to defeat Daenerys and Jon’s armies once the battle is ‘over’. This was despite her promise to pledge her Lannister men to the cause. Basically, she’s going to screw over whoever she can to keep her hands on the Iron Throne. Photos taken in Dubrovnik in February suggest a meeting is set to take place between Cersei and Jon Snow in King’s Landing, in a scene believed to be from the fourth episode of the season. It’s not clear whether the former enemies will eventually become part of the same team or whether Cersei is somehow tricking Jon.
Jon and Dany, meanwhile, got it on in the final episode as they started their journey from Dragonstone to Winterfell – with Tyrion lingering outside with a concerned look on his face. His concerns are likely different to ours, as Bran and Sam Tarly exposed Westeros’ best kept secret – that Jon is actually a Targaryen, that his real name is Aegon, and that he’s actually the rightful heir to the throne. Oh, and that means Dany is his Aunt. That will obviously play a big role in what comes next for the happy couple – but let’s quickly go through the big questions that remain.
Judging by a sneaky pic taken at Titanic Studios, Belfast, the Dothraki could play a huge role in the new episodes. The pictured hut was like many we saw in earlier Seasons in Essos – where the Dothraki were based.
The fighters were rarely used in Season 7, but this leaked photo could suggest that the Dothraki’s motives, and maybe even Essos will feature more heavily in Season 8.
As for the fan theories, it seems that Littlefinger definitely is dead after having his throat slit by Arya Stark.
Despite fan theories that say Littlefinger is in fact one of the Faceless Men in disguise, actor Aiden Gillen isn’t buying it.
“I’ve heard a lot of that recently, but no,” he told Metro.
“What can you say other than no? To kind of utilise that as I might be able to would be a lie. I’d had enough of that guy.
“I loved doing it but when it’s done, it’s done.”
Do we know how Season 8 will begin?
Although details remain pretty scant on the ground as a whole, we’ve been provided with a few telling glimpses of how Season 8 will start. As revealed by Entertainment Weekly, things will get rather cyclical. It’s said to hark back to the first ever episode, and we’ll see the Starks awaiting the arrival of a royal visitor in Winterfell. But instead of King Robert, the episode will see the arrival of Daenerys Targaryen.
During the first episode, we can also expect some pretty terse showdowns between major characters – Sansa is expected to become angry at Jon Snow for bending the knee. We are told that the confrontations between characters, some of whom have never met before, will be tense. One example is that Sansa expresses her displeasure over Jon Snow bending the knee.
What do we know about the ending?
Emilia Clarke has teased her final scene, saying of the experience: “It fucked me up. Knowing that is going to be a lasting flavour in someone’s mouth of what Daenerys is…”
Clarke confirmed some widely theorised directions for her character as she spoke of “shooting for the first time with several of the show’s top stars, including Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark)”, as well as mysteriously teasing Daenerys “doing all this weird shit – you’ll know what I mean when you see it.”
Kit Harington has also hinted at an “emotional” finale. Speaking to BBC Radio 2, he said he was glad that the pressure is now off his shoulders but that he has “always enjoyed” the massive success of the show.
“I’ve actually just wrapped on Thursday last week,” he continued. “And it’s just been this amazing journey. I kinda said to them on my wrap speech that it’s always been more than a job. They were a family and it was my life. I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve been quite emotional all last week thinking about having finished it.”
On July 18, Natalie Dormer revealed that she knows how Game of Thrones will end. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Dormer – who played Margaery Tyrell on the show – said: “I’m excited to see the next season. I’m on the edge of my seat like everybody else.
“I know A to B,” she said about her knowledge of how the show will finally end. “I know what B is, but I don’t know how they get B. But I do know B.”
Meanwhile, Sophie Turner’s new tattoo could also hint at what lies in store for her character’s future. Turner recently got a new tattoo of a dire wolf and the words: “The pack survives.” Tattoo artist Lauren Winzer shared an image of her handiwork on the star’s body on Instagram, which you can see below.
While we don’t know the firm details yet, some of the show’s stars have hinted at how the final episode might leave fans feeling. Sophie Turner is the latest, suggesting it could be a divisive finale.
“To be able to act out the way that it all ends, it was really satisfying for us,” she told IGN. “Who knows if it will be satisfying for the fans? I think a lot of fans will be disappointed and a lot of fans will be over the moon, I think.”
She continued: “It will be really interesting to see people’s reactions, but for me reading the script, it was just heartbreaking to read. At the very final page of the script, it just says, ‘End of Game of Thrones‘ [and] that was really emotional.”
Speaking to EntertainmentWeekly, Turner also discussed the emotional toll of concluding filming on the show. “I still don’t accept that it’s done,” she said. “It’s basically been the majority of my life. I’m still very much processing it.”
Turner also said she was joined by fellow cast members on her final day, while showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss provided a handwritten note for her alongside a storyboard of their favourite Sansa Stark moment.
Unsurprisingly, filming proved a very secretive process. “We have a whole different name for it when we’re shooting it. I think this season it was like The Tree of Life or something”, Turner explained to Vulture.
They also use a specialised device that kills any drones flying over the set. “I don’t know how it does it. It creates like this field around and the drones just drop,” she said. “Also, we shoot fake scenes. We got into costume in Croatia because we know the paparazzi lurk around there, so we would spend like half a day doing nothing.”
Executive producer Bryan Cogman has teased what will happen in the final episodes of Game of Thrones, saying that they will honour George R.R Martin’s original intentions. He said: “[Season 8] is all about all of these disparate characters coming together to face a common enemy, dealing with their own past, and defining the person they want to be in the face of certain death. It’s an incredibly emotional, haunting, bittersweet final season, and I think it honours very much what George set out to do – which is flipping this kind of story on its head.”
Meanwhile, Martin has delivered a new clue about the ending via his new book and an interview with news.com.au., seemingly suggesting that Daenerys might not end up on the throne. He said: “I have tried to make it explicit in the novels that the dragons are destructive forces, and Dany (Daenerys Targaryen) has found that out as she tried to rule the city of Meereen and be queen there.”
“She has the power to destroy, she can wipe out entire cities, and we certainly see that in ‘Fire and Blood,’ we see the dragons wiping out entire armies, wiping out towns and cities, destroying them, but that doesn’t necessarily enable you to rule — it just enables you to destroy.”
The author also hinted that his latest book might foreshadow some of the events in Game of Thrones.
David Nutter, Game of Thrones director who has worked on three of the final season eight episodes has spoken to The Huffington Post about the level of security required to keep the ending a secret from fans.
“Well, sometimes there were paparazzi in amazing places ― on construction cranes and all kinds of crazy places, to try to get a point of view of things… They were all over, everywhere, trying to get in on what was happening. But it was definitely a situation where there was no paper on the set…
“[The production team] wanted to make sure nobody knew what was happening, and they went to the nth degree, like they do on the show in general. They basically take it to the point where it’s like the Gestapo. It’s tough to get answers.”
Speaking about the last episode, Nutter gave little away but did say that he thinks most fans will enjoy the ending. “All I know is that David and Dan spent a lot of time to tell the story in a proper fashion, and the audience will be completely satisfied. Not everybody will be satisfied, but I feel the audience will be satisfied with the direction the series goes. It lives up to all the building it’s coming to, I promise you that.”
Meanwhile, Kit Harington has said he is “fearful” that the “awful”Game of Thrones pilot will be released once the show comes to an end next year. Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Harington said “I didn’t know what I was doing” when asked about the pilot, adding: “I was like, ‘Oh, this is fun. I’m in a TV show.’ I had no idea whether it was going to be big a success or anything…And apparently it was a disaster.”
Whilst Harington hasn’t seen the pilot, he added: “They blackmail me every now and then threatening they’ll release bits on YouTube because apparently, it was terrible, and I had this awful wig.”
Harington also spoke about filming his final scene on Game of Thrones, revealing that he “burst into tears” when it ended. He added: “You know, it’s a weird thing. I’m not sad about it ending. I just feel very joyous about it ending and having completed it…but it doesn’t make it any less emotional.”
Meanwhile, Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie has said that fans will “need therapy” after watching the finale of the show in 2019. Christie told E! News: “I think just the show ending is going to send all of the world into professional help.”
Christie also added that cast members – as well as herself – are feeling emotional as the show comes to an end. She said: “I think it’s going to make me incredibly emotional…We’re all emotional about the fact that this is the end, and this is the end of something incredibly significant for all of us, and it’s been a truly incredible thing to be a part of.”
Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden has meanwhile offered up his own thoughts on how he thinks the next season will end. As reported on Winter is Coming, Madden told The Hollywood Reporter: “I kind of think it’s just going to be three dragons flying around and everyone else is dead…it’s a possibility!”
Meanwhile, Iain Glen who played Ser Jorah Mormon tin the show has revealed how security measures put in place to protect the final scenes being leaked by “paranoid” producers caused “problems” for the actors.
In a new interview with Radio 5 live, Glen said: “They’re absolutely paranoid now about anyone finding out anything about the series and spoiling it…We weren’t allowed a written word on a page.”
He added: “Everything was accessed through iPads with different security you had to get through to access it. Which caused a problem for the actors, I have to say.”
Glen also described the final season as “absolutely phenomenal”. “This season was the first ever that we sat and read the entire arc of the story from beginning to end right through over the course of a day,” he said.
“Kit [Harington – who plays Jon Snow], if he wasn’t lying, had not read it, so he was reading it on that day for the first time.”
He continued: “Honestly, these six episodes are absolutely phenomenal. The writers really, really came up trumps. The way they pulled it all together was a real writing task.
“There were a lot of tears that day… and it’s been a season of that because it’s been a season of farewells and finishes.”
Meanwhile, Harington has told The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show that he’s “maybe not happy, but very satisfied” with how things end in Game of Thrones. He said: “I’m so excited for people to see it…I think it’s going to be extraordinary, hopefully it’ll change TV again like it did originally, and break boundaries. I think it might.”
A leaked cast list has hinted at some surprising character returns in the final season. According to Watchers on the Wall, both Kristofer Hivju and Richard Dormer are reprising their roles as Tormund and Beric Dondarrion who were last seen during the season 7 finale; it was not clear if the two had survived.
Tobias Menzies (Edmure Tully) and Lino Facioli (Robyn Arryn) were also listed suggesting House Tully may also see a resurgence in the final season to support the Starks. The two were last seen in Season 6.
But in a surprising twist, there’s no mention of the Night King, played by Vladimir Furdik.
As fans will recall, season seven concluded with the Night King and his pet dragon destroying the Wall that kept that them out of Westeros, which hints that trouble is ahead.
Describing potential battles, he told Hungarian website Sorozat Wiki: “In the third part of the last season, there is a battle that the creators intend to be the biggest in television history.
“Almost the full episode will be about the battle, it will take about an hour.”
Who’s going to die in Game of Thrones season 8?
As Entertainment Weekly reports, a data scientist has done loads of maths with 2,000 characters from GoT and figured out the likelihood of various character deaths. You can see them below – with Daenerys at the most risk:
- Daenerys Targaryen – 83.77%
- Jaime Lannister – 72.91%
- Tyrion Lannister – 70.76%
- Bran Stark – 66.02%
- Cersei Lannister – 60.39%
- Jon Snow – 58.99%
- Euron Greyjoy – 54.95%
- Sansa Stark – 50.28%
- Arya Stark – 49.04%
- Gendry – 39.87%
Meanwhile, a separate Game of Thrones study has revealed which personality types are likely to survive Season 8 as reported in Digital Spy. Titled “‘Death is certain, the time is not’: mortality and survival in Game of Thrones”, the study found that over half of the characters it studied (186) died over the first seven seasons. It also found that all Game of Thrones characters have a 14% chance of dying during the first hour on screen. Oh dear.
The study then uses this information to determine that characters most likely to survive are high-born, female and less loyal characters who appear more sporadically.
This implies that Season 8 might not be good news for Varys and Tormund who are both high-born and male; Sansa and Arya Stark meanwhile, have a better chance of survival based on their birth and gender. Ceresi Lannister is the most likely to survive using the study’s findings.
Actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has hinted that his character Jaime Lannister won’t be in the final scene of the final season, leading to speculation whether he will have died before the show’s very end.
“I had a great last scene. It was absolutely beautiful. It was the perfect way to end,” Coster-Waldau told Star 2. “Obviously I can’t tell you what the scene was. It wasn’t the final scene [of the series], but it was close to the end, and it was shot at a beautiful location. At this point, I had seen quite a lot of colleagues wrap, so I had seen a lot of tears, beautiful speeches, and I knew what to expect.”
Sean Bean, meanwhile, believes that only one from House Stark will be standing at the end of the show. After meeting recently with the entire cast, Sean suggested that only one will survive. “Who’s left?” Sean told Mashable. “Jon Snow is left, isn’t he? But Arya would have to be it. Yeah Arya will last—maybe she’ll be on the throne.”
Additionally, Liam Cunningham, who plays Ser Davos Seaworth, told RTÉ One’s The Late Late Show on Friday (January 18) that “we’re all going to die”.
When he was asked if Seawort will survive until the end of season 8, he responded: “So far, so far,” and added, “That doesn’t mean anything. We’re all going to die. Don’t forget ‘valar morghulis’ which is one of the phrases on the show which means ‘all men must die'”.
What do we know about the battles?
Unsurprisingly, the battles are going to get a whole lot bigger too – with one taking a staggering 55 days to film. According to ever-reliable fan site WatchersOnTheWall, the cast and crew recently wrapped a massive battle which was filmed over 55 consecutive night shoots.
The length of time is more than what it took to film some of the the previous large-scale action scenes. A since deleted Instagram post features a thank you note from assistant director Jonathan Quinlan, who recognises the hard work of the team. “When tens of millions of people around the world watch this episode a year from now, they won’t know how hard you worked,” the letter reads. “They won’t care how tired you were or how tough it was to do your job in sub-freezing temperatures.”
Peter Dinklage teased the epic showdown as he promoted new movie I Think We’re Alone Now. When asked if anything can top the Battle of the Bastards, he replied: “Oh my god, and then some. You are in for it. Truly.”
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Maisie Williams, the actress who plays Arya Stark in the show, also discussed how gruelling it was to film the epic battle scene for the upcoming season.
“Nothing can prepare you for how physically draining it is. It’s night after night, and again and again, and it just doesn’t stop. You can’t get sick, and you have to look out for yourself because there’s so much to do that nobody else can do… there are moments you’re just broken as a human and just want to cry,” she said.
Executive producer Bryan Cogman also teased the final battle, describing it as “completely unprecedented”.
He said: “This final face-off between the Army of the Dead and the army of the living is completely unprecedented and relentless and a mixture of genres even within the battle.
“There are sequences built within sequences built within sequences. David and Dan [wrote] an amazing puzzle and Miguel came in and took it apart and put it together again. It’s been exhausting but I think it will blow everybody away.”
Is it going to include plot from the books?
Since its inception, the show and the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin have existed on an uneven time schedule. This means that parts of the book appear in the show further down the line, and that the show does not incorporate every storyline in the book.
Since the end of Season 6, the show has been running on completely fresh material – as its storylines went beyond that of A Dance With Dragons, Martin’s last finished work.
One specific scene had everybody in tears, says Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister). “We had a giant read-through with all the cast in October,” she told Mashable, “and I think pretty much everybody cried at one point. And it was… pretty surprising.” HBO’s Francesca Orsi has also told the Hollywood Reporter that the read-through of the final script ended with 15 minutes of applause by those in attendance.
Will George R. R. Martin write the ending?
It’s hard to say just how involved he is with the show’s finale. Just weeks ago Martin said that he hadn’t caught up with Season 7 of the show, but in previous series he had several writing credits for episodes.
In 2014, however, Benioff and Weiss said that they had sat down with Martin and learnt how the book’s were going to end. So whether they decide to follow Martin’s blueprint, or continue to take the show in their own direction is up for debate.
But considering that the show has taken a distinctly different path from the books in its later series, and Martin’s currently slow writing pace – Game of Thrones Season 8 could provide the definitive ending for the saga.
According to HBO’s President of Programming Casey Bloys, the show will shoot several different endings in a way to combat hackers and keep the finale secret. “I know in Game of Thrones, the ending, they’re going to shoot multiple versions so that nobody really knows what happens,” he said .
How many episodes will there be in Game of Thrones Season 8?
As confirmed by show runners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, Game of Thrones Season 8 will feature just six episodes. Though it is likely that each episode will be a feature-length, so anything from 60 mins to 120 minutes.
Speaking about the end of the show, Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark) has said: “It won’t go the way some people want. It will be too happy for some people, or too sad, or too whatever. That’s the nature of an ending… Nothing more is coming, and the certainty of it being over will definitely bother people.”
Talking about shooting the final season, Maisie Williams told NME: “It’s the end of an era. Everyone’s playing it cool, at the moment I’m focused on absolutely nailing it – I have an expectation in my head of how I want it to be, how I want this to go. I just really hope I achieve that. Because sometimes, looking back you can tell ‘yeah, I wasn’t concentrating enough’. I just want to live and breathe every minute of this season because once it’s gone, it’s gone.”
Addressing concerns that six episodes were not enough to complete the show’s storyline, Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei) told Metro: “It definitely will not be a rushed conclusion. They’ve taken the exact number of hours to tell the story they want to tell and it will be brilliant. [Show bosses] will never leave the fans unsatisfied, they won’t leave the fans left short, it will go over and above the fans expectations as they do every season.”
Director David Nutter has also seemingly confirmed that each episode will be longer than 60 minutes. “Season eight episodes will all I think be longer than 60 minutes”, he admitted during a Reddit AMA. “They’ll be dancing around the bigger numbers, I know that for sure.”
When asked why fans had to wait almost two years for new episodes, he replied: Things take time my friends — they take a lot of time to create and GoT is the last place you’re going to find half baked work so it’s all about making sure they fill the frame with as much capacity as possible and making it as real and right as possible.
“Small price to pay for the amazing quality that comes out of that show.”
How long will the episodes be?
Then there’s the small matter of the runtime, which has now been confirmed for all episode. As the below shows, episodes one and two will clock in at 54 and 58 minutes respectively. Meanwhile, episode three has been confirmed at 60 minutes, episode four is 78 minutes, and the final two episodes are a huge 80 minutes each.
That’s largely in keeping with the rest of the show, but we strongly suspect that the episodes of cinema-esque lengths are on the way.
Which cast members are returning for Game of Thrones Season 8?
All the main characters will be returning for the show, so Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) will all feature in the epic finale. It was also confirmed in March that Headey’s body double Rebecca Van Cleave, who stepped in for Lannister’s walk of shame in the season five finale, will return in season 8.
Littlefinger (Aidan Gillian) came to grisly end at the end of Season 7 at the hand’s of The Stark sisters – so he’s well and truly out.
The director’s commentary on the season 7 DVD and Blu-ray has confirmed that Benjen Stark – aka Coldhands – died in the final episode of season 7. Describing the scene when Benjen saves Jon from the army of the dead and heads into battle the wights, director Alan Taylor says: “He meets his end here.” However, some are speculating about whether or not Benjen could return as a wight.
There was a big question about the fate of Tormund and Beric Dondarrion – two of the heroes who went beyond The Wall to capture a White Walker. At the end of Season 7 finale, The Dragon and The Wolf, we saw The Night King make his offensive on The Wall – and Eastwatch, where both characters were based. Neither character were killed on screen, leaving fans speculating about whether they survived.
In a now-deleted post to Instagram, Kristofer Hivju – who plays Tormund – was recently spotted in Belfast, Northern Ireland recently alongside with the cast members we know to be starring. Now, it has been confirmed that they made it through the season finale alive, after the episode’s script was made available online following it being submitted by HBO for consideration for the 2018 Emmy Awards.
“Tormund and Beric lead their wildling comrades to the stairs carved in the ice — Eastwatch has a massive zig-zag stairway, not an elevator like Castle Black,” the script read. “They run for their lives and disappear from view.”
The same mystery hangs over Gendry, who returned midway through Season 7 after a lengthy absence. He too went beyond The Wall, and was last seen making his way back to Eastwatch to have a raven sent to Daenerys for reinforcements. He wasn’t spotted at all in the finale, so his location is also a mystery.
We know that The Night’s Watch will be returning though. Ben Crompton, (Lord Commander Eddison Tollett) confirmed to Chronicle Live that he will return and that he was at the table read for the script with Kit Harrington – aka Jon Snow.
We also know that Alys Karstark – whom Jon asked to swear fealty to him in season 7 – will be back for season 8, thanks to a listing on the website of actor Megan Parkinson’s agent. Next to Alys Karstark in the ‘fealty’ scene was Ned Umber (Harry Grasby), who has been spotted in Belfast, suggesting he will also appear in season 8.
Rumours went into overdrive when court documents appeared to suggest that Jaime Lannister wouldn’t appear in all episodes of the last season. It stemmed from the release of documents following a legal dispute between Jaime Lannister actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and his former agent, according to Deadline.
The last two pages of the official documents gave details of Coster-Waldau’s earnings per episode. At first, it only looked like the actor would be appearing in four episodes of the final season, leading fans to speculate that the character may be being killed off.
However, further details that he would in fact be appearing in all six episodes appeared in the final part of the document, according to Harper’s Bazaar. Could this suggest that Jaime Lannister will survive until the end?
Meanwhile, Lena Headey aka Cersei Lannister has shared some behind the scene photos and video on her Instagram of some silly on set footage of her character alongside videos of brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk).
Will Jason Momoa return as Khal Drogo?
Jason Momoa, who played Khal Drogo in the show, has confirmed that he won’t be returning for the final season, despite fan rumours suggesting otherwise.
Speaking about his time on the show, Momoa said: “I’m actually really, really happy with how it all turned out because, you know, you just can’t keep that character alive…even when I watch it, it just wouldn’t fit.
He said even now, people still comment about how much they liked his character. He added: “Even now, people just can’t stop [talking about the Khal] they love Khal Drogo.
“It’s unbelievable. Like, one season…I don’t know any other character that’s done one season out of eight or nine that people just go [wild]. I didn’t know it was going to be that big.”
Will we see Ghost again?
Jon’s direwolf, Ghost, has not been seen in the show since season 6 – a fact that’s in part down to the show’s CGI budget. In 2016 director Miguel Sapochnik explained: “It’s an incredibly time consuming and expensive character to bring to life,” adding that in the episode Battle of the Bastards he chose to include scenes with the CGI giant Wun-Wun rather than those with Ghost.
In December 2017 a group of fans started a campaign to raise £500,000 to contribute to the show’s CGI budget and ‘guarantee’ Ghost’s return. HBO have not yet commented on the campaign.
Will there be any new characters in Game of Thrones Season 8?
The gigantic cast list for the show has been expanding season-on-season since its inception – and yet more are being added for season 8. According to fansite Watchers on the Wall, the first major casting for season 8 has been made for a character called Harry Strickland – who, in the books, is the leader of a mercenary group called The Golden Company.
You may remember in season 7 we learned that Cersei had sent Euron to fetch the Golden Company from over the sea in the eastern land of Essos, to help her conquer Westeros. Fans initially theorised that Daenerys’ old friend Daario Naharis might be leading this group, which might have challenged his allegiances to Cersei – but it looks as though this
theory has been scuppered, and Strickland will be a brand-new villain. Strickland is reported to be played by Marc Rissmann (The Last Kingdom, Into The Badlands) after his Thrones character’s name was added to (then deleted from) his CV and his agent’s website. He is expected to appear in two episodes.
Another actor has also been cast, according to Lisa Richards Agency. Seamus O’Hara will play Fergus, according to his Spotlight page. Fergus is not a name from the books, so there’s no knowing what his character will do yet. See a picture of him below.
According to Watchers, more castings are due soon: they are for characters currently referred to as ‘Northern farmer, 25-35’, ‘Sassy and attractive girl, 18-25’, ‘Northern sentry, 18-25’, ‘Sailor, 35-50’ and a couple of guards, in their 20s and 30s. See the full descriptions here.
Watchers has also reported that a new character from the Frey clan may appear. Danielle Galligan has been cast as character named Sarra, and Watchers have noted that the only Sarra to appear in the A Song Of Ice and Fire book series is Sarra Frey – one of Walder Frey’s granddaughters. Game of Thrones has been known to recycle common names for small characters – but this one seems to close to just be a coincidence.
Also joining the cast is EastEnders star Alice Nokes, who Watchers report will be playing a non-book character called Willa. Though the credit now appears to be deleted from her agency CV, ‘Willa’ is thought to be appearing in episode one, two or four of Game of Thrones season 8.
Fans also think that the new Season 8 teaser trailer from HBO may hint at the return of Catelyn Stark. In the books, Catelyn famously returns from the dead. Now, theories are emerging that the ice which covers the dire wolf in the teaser trailer – the famous symbol of the Stark family – could hint at the White Walkers making their way into the Stark crypt (they keep their dead in the crypt’s beneath Winterfell) and bringing their dead to life.
The Night King holds the power to raise the fallen and could therefore bring her back in line with Martin’s novels. However, there was no clue on whether Catelyn’s body made it back to Winterfell following her brutal death in Season 3.
Not characters as such…but,
George R R Martin has revealed a picture of what the “giant ice spiders” look like – a creature that was mentioned all the way back in Season 1 when Old Nan is telling Bran a story. The timing of Martin’s tweet has led many to speculate that we might see the creatures appear in the final season of the show. The picture Martin revealed was from a 2020 calendar too – after the show’s finale – leaving people wondering if the spiders may appear in next year’s final season. You can see a picture of the spiders here:
Who’s directing Season 8?
It’s been revealed in Collider that David Nutter (who directed Red Wedding episode, The Rains of Castamere) will be directing episodes 1, 2 and 4. Miguel Sapochnik, who’s become known for action-heavy episodes like Hardhome and Battle of the Bastards, will be directing episodes 3 and 5. Showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff will be co-directing the sixth and final ever episode of the show.
What else has been said about Game Of Thrones Season 8?
Unsurprisingly, it seems things will be suitably epic. HBO boss Richard Plepler has likened the show’s final season to being like “six movies.” “It’s a spectacle. The guys have done six movies,” Plepler told Variety.
“The reaction I had while watching them was, ‘I’m watching a movie.’ They knew the bar was high. They’ve exceeded the bar. I’ve watched them twice without any CGI and I’m in awe. Everybody’s in for an extraordinary treat of storytelling and of magical, magical production.”
Meanwhile, in January 2018 Emilia Clarke told Access that the series is worth the wait. “Oh my god, it’s gonna be worth it,” she said, adding: “I don’t know if anyone’s ready. I don’t know if TVs are ready.” She continued: “I read the scripts this season and I, in some kind of a daze, walked out of my house… and about three hours later I came home and I still hadn’t taken it all in”.
However, speaking to The Times in January 2018 Maisie Williams has said viewers might not be shocked by the show’s denouement. “I don’t know if it’s gonna surprise people,” she said, “but it’s just different to what you think it’s gonna be.”
Producer Bryan Cogman also believes that the show will flip the vision of George RR Martin on its head. “[Season 8] is about all of these disparate characters coming together to face a common enemy, dealing with their own past, and defining the person they want to be in the face of certain death,” Cogman said.
“It’s an incredibly emotional, haunting, bittersweet final season, and I think it honours very much what George set out to do – which is flipping this kind of story on its head.”
A synopsis from HBO reads:
“The epic fantasy series Game of Thrones will return for its six-episode, eighth and final season in 2019.
David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik will be the directors for the new season. Writers for the new season are David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill.
The executive producers of the series are David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Carolyn Strauss, Frank Doelger and Bernadette Caulfield. Co-executive producers are Bryan Cogman, Guymon Casady, Vince Gerardis and George R.R. Martin.”
What was behind the delay for Season 8?
In January 2018, HBO boss Casey Bloys spoke to Entertainment Weekly to explain the long wait. “Here’s what I’ll tell you,” he said. “They take the time they need to do the show at its highest level of quality. As the show has gone on, it’s gotten bigger — big battle scenes, big special effects.”
He continued: “These things take time. Here’s the one thing I can assure you: Dan and Dave were not sitting around on a beach waiting to go back to work. They’re perfectionists and this is the soonest it can come back at a level of quality that they are comfortable with.”
Is Game of Thrones 8 the final season?
Alas, yes. The showrunners have opted to split the final seasons into a smaller runs, but will make lengthier episodes. But basically, it’s endgame for these characters and maybe Westeros.
In an interview with Metro Williams has explained the difficulties of shooting the final season. On seeing the script she said she thought it would be “an impossible challenge” to shoot. “For the final season as a whole it was just so impressive,” she said. “My first real thought was, ‘Oh god, we have to shoot this now. And it is kind of an impossible challenge. It will be really difficult’. I am currently on my way to a night shoot, which is week four of 12 weeks of night shoots. It’s just huge. The task is huge. But, there’s no better way to leave the show, to be honest.”
Sophie Turner recently revealed what each cast member was presented with once they finished filming. “I wrapped shooting in Spain – like, the whole of Game of Thrones,” Turner told Digital Spy. “But I remember the first time, when I wrapped in Belfast with the crew that we worked with so often, it was in the Winterfell courtyard.)
“I wasn’t even shooting there, but the director, David Nutter, called me into the courtyard, because he knew it was my last day on set. He said to the whole crew, ‘Sansa Stark is leaving Winterfell for the last time.’
“As you can imagine, I bawled my eyes out,” she added. “Then David and Dan presented each actor with their favourite scene of their character in a storyboard, with a little note on the back. That set me off as well. As soon as they brought that out… And the documentary crew saw me. It was just a nightmare, to be honest – I was just bawling.”
In an interview with GQ Australia on January 8, Kit Harington reflected on the draining process of filming season eight – remarking that “the final season of Thrones seemed designed to break us”.
“Everyone was broken at the end,” he recalled. “I don’t know if we were crying because we were sad it was ending or if we were crying because it was so fucking tiring. We were sleep deprived. It was like it was designed to make you think, Right, I’m fucking sick of this. I remember everyone walking around towards the end going, ‘I’ve had enough now. I love this, it’s been the best thing in my life, I’ll miss it one day – but I’m done.’”
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What’s happened behind the scenes during filming?
Filming began in Belfast late last year, and in January it was revealed that the show would be returning to Dubrovnik in Croatia to film part of the King’s Landing scenes for the final season, as reported by The Dubrovnik Times. Cast members including Gwendoline Christie, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Kristofer Hijvu, John Bradley and Iain Glen arrived in Iceland in late January 2018 for filming, and in February it was reported that filming had begun in Dubrovnik, though it’s currently unknown which actors are involved in these scenes.
In June, a fan posted a video that appeared to suggest filming for the King’s Landing scenes in Belfast is still ongoing – and the new footage hints that much of the city could be destroyed in a fire, with its iconic dome being shown completely ablaze.
At the SAG Awards in January 2018, Peter Dinklage revealed to Variety that the crew were “about halfway” through filming season 8, adding: “It’s the final season, and it’s a long one so we’re taking our time.”
In a post to Instagram last year, cinematographer Fabian Wagner posted a picture of himself alongside some of his colleagues, including director Miguel Sapochnik – with the caption “Back on Game of Thrones for prep of the final season and the team is back together”. The team behind some of the show’s greatest episodes – ‘Hardhome’, ‘Battle of The Bastards’ and ‘The Winds of Winter’ – are back for Season 8.
In September 2017, Variety reported that each episode of the new series is budgeted to cost at least $15 million, far surpassing Netflix’s The Crown as the most expensive TV show ever ($10m per episode).
Speaking to TV Guide, Liam Cunningham (Davos) revealed that the show will be filming until summer 2018. “When you think about it, up until last season we’d have six months to do ten episodes, so we’re [doing] way more than that for six episodes. So that obviously will translate into longer episodes.”
Emilia Clarke has revealed to the Telegraph that her and the cast will be on a social media ban as the show films. ”We have a very strict social media ban this year because people need to stop spoiling it for everyone. It’s really frustrating.”
Earlier in 2017, HBO president Casey Bloys said, “I know in Game of Thrones, the ending, they’re going to shoot multiple versions so that nobody really know what happens. 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.”
The cast are clearly having a lovely time filming, if this tweet from Belfast pub Kelly’s Cellars – including Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson – is anything to go by:
On March 9, new photos emerged of a potential filming location in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. HBO have reportedly spent £1 million on the building of a new makeshift castle in the city, and it is reportedly now nearing completion, with images of the structure being released in March.
In an interview during March 2019, Kit Harington explained how relations became “frayed” during the filming of the final season.
“I was there the whole time this year,” he told Variety. “I felt a bit like people were coming in and out, and Jon Snow was just fucking there the whole time. You have these in-jokes, and these relationships that thrive for eight years. That’s a long time for those jokes to be going, and they never felt old or tired. “
He added: “In the last season, I was like, these are getting tired now. And I think they got tired because we could see the end coming. That’s a way of emotionally detaching from something – relationships very slightly starting to strain, just on the edges, just frayed. Now everyone loves each other again.”
What are the big questions that need to be answered in Game Of Thrones Season 8?
What’s going to happen with Jon and Daenerys?
Either way – it can’t end well. Bran Stark is adamant that the pair need to know the truth about their ancestry, and you best believe he’ll find a creepy way of telling them. In the final episode, we also learn that Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark married before giving birth to Jon (Aegon), meaning that due to the line of succession (Rhaegar’s dad, Aerys II was killed by Jamie Lannister), Jon is actually the rightful heir.
That whole scenario begs a lot of questions – some we’ll never know the answer to. Does Jon want the throne? Probably not. Will Daenerys and Jon still feel the same way about each other when they find out? Hopefully not. And will it cause serious friction between the pair as they battle The Night King? Almost certainly.
Speaking to TV Insider in January, executive producer D.B. Weiss hinted at the possible impact that Jon discovering his true ancestry could have on events.
“From a dramatic standpoint, it makes things interesting, because the story is no longer about who Jon’s parents are. It’s about what happens when Jon finds out,” says Weiss.
“Jon is someone who plays by the book. He cannot lie,” Harington added about his character in season eight. “Finding out about Dany would be very hard for him.”
Emilia Clarke added: “Daenerys’s lifelong dream has been to avenge her family and claim her rightful seat on the Iron Throne. She truly loves Jon. Were she to find out about his title, it would cut deep.”
One fan on Reddit [reported via Daily Express] believes they’ve figured out exactly how Jon and Daenerys will find out about their relation. “Personally, I think in one of the major battles he’s going to get blasted with dragon fire and Daenerys will think he’s dead, only to see him emerge unburnt like herself.”
In season one, Daenerys emerged unscathed from a pyre since the Targaryens are seemingly immune to fire. Jon has not been attacked with fire so far in the show, but if he’s attacked with fire by the Night King’s undead dragon, then his true identity could be revealed.
But another fan challenged this theory, asking: “Why would he get blasted by dragon fire when [Jon and Daenerys] are on the same side?”
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What was Tyrion doing outside of their room? Will he die?
Perhaps the weirdest part of the whole scenario was Tyrion lurking outside of their room with a pretty confused look on his face. Throughout Season 7, Tyrion was adamant that Daenerys needed to begin thinking about a successor, much to her displeasure. Since her miscarriage early on in the show, Daenerys has repeated the prophecy that she cannot bear any more children. So Daenerys needs to start thinking about who will succeed her, Tyrion says, but Daenerys thinks its all a ploy for Tyrion to be named the successor.
Was Tyrion concerned about that whole situation because he’s worried a Dany child would be as obsessive, and potentially dangerous as she shows signs of being? Or did something happen between Cersei and Tyrion in that meeting room in King’s Landing? Tyrion was pretty shocked at the news at the news of Cersei’s ‘pregnancy’, and sounded distraught at the news of Tommen and Myrcella deaths. Could he be turning back to team Lannister? Surely not…
As for his final fate, it’s looking very foreboding. In a new interview with Vulture, he described his final day on set as “beautifully bittersweet”.
That in itself isn’t too telling – but he proceeded to give what appears to be a rather big hint. Or, perhaps, misdirection.
” “I feel very, very — I’m trying to find the right word,” the actor said of Tyrion’s ending.
“I think he was given a very good conclusion. No matter what that is — death can be a great way out.”
Is Cersei actually pregnant?
Well she says she is. But it’s been pretty conveniently timed. As Jaime’s loyalty appeared to wane, she revealed the news that she’s pregnant with their child. But during the Season 7 finale, Jaime abandoned Cersei and King’s Landing – and told her that “I don’t believe you” before he stormed out the room. This most likely refers to her order for The Mountain to kill him, which he didn’t, but nothing can be ruled out with Cersei.
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And, in a recent interview, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau appeared to confirm that this was the case.
He told Vanity Fair: “That’s, of course, said in a moment of passion. Who knows if it’s true? I’ve almost been married 20 years—June 6th will be our 20th anniversary—and I’m very, very lucky. I have a wonderful wife. But over 20 years, there are times where you have fights.
“You can be so angry that for a second in your passion and anger you can go, ‘Oh, fuck this.’ Of course, three seconds later, you go, ‘No, no, no. What am I doing? What am I thinking?’ . . . I think the fundamental emotions are the same in every relationship. As a setup for the season we’re shooting now, it was just amazing.”
Are we finally going to see Clegane Bowl?
The big throwdown we can all get behind. A fight between brothers Sandor Clegane, our beloved antihero The Hound, and his ghastly brother, Gregor Clegane, The Mountain, has been longed for by fans for a while now. In the Season 7 finale, we got a brief glimpse of what that could look like as the pair squared up at the Dragon Pit in King’s Landing.
Will some of the main characters turn into White Walkers?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime, certainly thinks it’ll happen. “You know some of the main characters are going to get turned. There are going to be some blue-eyed main characters running around, ” he told Esquire. “And, god, I hope it’s not me. That’s three hours of make-up in the morning.”
Is Bran Stark actually The Night King?
This popular theory picked up a bit of steam in the last few months, as we learned more about Bran’s powers and saw more of The Night King. The crux of this theory is, basically, that Bran Stark is actually The Night King. The theory suggests that Bran warged into The First Man as he is turned into a White Walker by the Children of the Forest and became trapped in that body. It’s pretty full on, but definitely plausible. Take a look here for the full lowdown.
However, in March 2019, Isaac Hempstead Wright (who plays Bran) appeared to dismiss the theory in an interview with Radio Times.
He said: “I suppose Bran is quite an interesting character to theorise over because of his whole link to time travel and whatnot. Because you can kind of get away with anything theory-wise and make it sound convincing if you’ve got time travel involved.
“I mean it’s quite an interesting theory, the Night King one. I just think it seems a bit obvious. A bit cheesy.”
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Keep checking NME.com for more Game of Thrones Season 8 information