Get set for The Long Night
Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 7 below…
Discover & share this Game of Thrones GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
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.
But we’re looking forward to Game of Thrones Season 8 already, so here’s absolutely everything we know about the show’s final episodes, including release date, casting news and trailers.
When is Game of Thrones Season 8 returning?
At the 2018 Television Critics Association tour, HBO‘s programming president Casey Bloys offered more details on when we will see GoT‘s final outing. With the show previously announcing 2019 for its release, Bloys was asked if he could be more specific. “First half,” he said.
After Game of Thrones‘ official account confirmed a 2019 release date for the show, Metro published an interview with Maisie Williams in which she appeared to say it will return in April 2019, after wrapping in December 2018. In the interview, she reportedly said: “We wrap in December and we air our first episode in April . That’s a four-month turnaround for these huge episodes. There’s a lot that goes into the final edit. You would not want to rush this season at all. We owe it to our audience and our fans to really do this final season to the best of our abilities.”
However, Williams has denied giving the quote reported by Metro, writing on Twitter: “This Game of Thrones release date ‘quote’ I’ve supposedly given is completely false and taken from an interview I did years ago.
Game of Thrones Season 8 was originally slated to return in late 2018 or early 2019. Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa, previously suggested that the show would return in 2019 during an interview with Variety, and HBO officially confirmed the news on January 4.
“Send a raven. #GameofThrones returns to @HBO for its eighth and final season in 2019,” a tweet from the official GoT Twitter reads. See that below.
Who’s going to die in 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%
What have HBO said about season 8?
The full statement 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.”
Why will season 8 take so long?
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.”
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.”
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.
Is Game of Thrones Season 8 the last series?
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.”
Is it going to include plots from the book?
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.
Is there a Game of Thrones Season 8 trailer?
Not yet, but when production begins – some images will begin to emerge.
So 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 .
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.
Discover & share this Game of Thrones GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
Has Game of Thrones Season 8 started filming?
Yes. 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.
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.
Who’s going to be in Game of Thrones Season 8?
Unless told otherwise, we can assume that 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.
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.
What’s going to happen in 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”.
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.”
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 icy 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.
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.”
What are the big questions that need to be answered?
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.
Discover & share this Game of Thrones GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
What was Tyrion doing outside of their room?
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…
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.
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.
Discover & share this Season 6 GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
How will the show end?
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.
Stay tuned for for more Game of Thrones Season 8 information