Dragons, battles and passionate snogging, oh my!
Queens, kings, dragons, battles, murders, seduction, magic: Game of Thrones has been one hell of a ride. And as we approach the release of season eight, the end is very nearly in sight.
We’ve been waiting for winter to come since the show launched in 2011, and this year, we’ll finally see what happens when the White Walkers arrive in the North – and if Jon Snow is up to protecting the people of Westeros.
The Game of Thrones fans in the Stylist office are keen to know as many of the details as possible before the show actually starts, and we have a feeling that you are too. That’s why we’ve collected every single nugget of information we can about the final series – including the Game of Thrones season eight release date, plot predictions and more.
First things first, though, take a gander at the first proper trailer for Game of Thrones season 8 below:
Which cast members are returning for season 8?
All the lead actors (including Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) are set to return alongside the likes of regulars Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Liam Cunningham, Rory McCann and many many more (with quite a few of them spotted by fans arriving in Belfast for filming).
How many episodes are there going to be?
Just six, sadly, in contrast to 2017’s seven-episode run and the ten-episode seasons we enjoyed from 2011-2016.
How long will each episode of Game of Thrones season 8 be?
It’s official: the episodes in S8 will be significantly longer than in previous seasons.
“Season 8 episodes will all I think be longer than 60 minutes,” David Nutter, who directed three episodes of the final run, said in a reddit AMA.
“They’ll be dancing around the bigger numbers, I know that for sure.”
What will happen in Game of Thrones season 8?
Aha, if only we knew: as ever, the plot is shrouded in secrecy. However, we do know one thing: there’s going to be a monumental battle at Winterfell between some of our favourite characters and the Army of the Dead.
“What we have asked the production team and crew to do this year truly has never been done in television or in a movie,” co-executive producer Bryan Cogman told EW.
“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.”
When is Game of Thrones season 8 out?
HBO has long hinted that the show would be back on screens in the first half of 2019, but now it has been officially confirmed that Game of Thrones will return on the 14 April. If you’re watching in the US, you can view the series on HBO, while UK viewers will have to tune into Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.
Were there any plot hints in the first Game of Thrones teaser trailer?
The first teaser for the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones was just 39 seconds long. That’s 39 seconds featuring an animation of some ice – and some fire – engulfing some sigil pieces strewn across an antique board. Truly, that’s all that we got to see. No actual footage of the final season, no images of our beloved Jon Snow and Daenerys and Sansa, nary a hint of what is to come in the last episodes of the television show that has gripped the world for the better part of the last decade.
Or was there? Is there deeper meaning that we can take from these short seconds of footage? Can we learn anything from a bit of ice and fire engulfing a game board and all of its pieces? Yes. Yes we can.
Firstly, fire is important:
We know this sounds a bit self-evident, but we think we’re going to be talking a lot about fire in the final season of Game of Thrones. Along with the ice that we see in this teaser, signifying the winter that has finally come to Westeros, there was plenty of fire, too.
We would hazard a guess that the fire is going to come from the mouths of the two remaining dragons in Daenerys’ arsenal. And why not? We saw how deadly dragon fire could be in the The Spoils of War episode, when Drogon unleashed all manner of fiery, hot hell upon Jaime Lannister and Dickon Tarly. It was absolute carnage, and it spoke to how who wields the dragons – and how they wield them – could sway the course of the upcoming battles for the throne in season eight.
Don’t forget about the reports of Game of Thrones set a-blaze all around Northern Ireland last year. In particular, a grainy video of what appeared to be the Winterfell set spectacularly on fire, was circulated on the internet in February. The footage suggested that whatever remaining Starks there are up in the North will be dealing with their own personal battles in season eight.
Wolves, dragons and lions
It’s no secret that the most important houses in the final season of Game of Thrones will be the Starks (wolves), the Targaryens (dragons) and the Lannisters (lions). In this teaser we see the wolf and dragon sigil covered in ice and the lion engulfed in flames.
A bit of artistic flair? Or a marker of plot to come? The dragon succumbing to ice could be a reference to Viserion’s devastating death at the hand of the White Walkers and the dragon’s subsequent evolution into an icy monster at the end of season seven. But it could also be a reference to the union of Targaryen and Stark and the growing love between Jon Snow and Daenerys.
The lion being consumed by flames could be a sign that the Lannisters will come to a grisly end this season, or at the very least, the one Lannister we want to see come to a grisly end will come to a grisly end. We’re talking about you, Cersei. Could one of Daenerys’ dragons dispatch this nightmare queen forever?
Or, more worryingly, is the fire around the Lannister sigil referring to Cersei’s dangerous wildfire, which we last saw completely annihilating the Sept of Baelor – including the High Sparrow and Queen Margaery and most of House Tyrell, leading Tommen to leap to his death from King’s Landing – at the end of season six?
Since that incendiary, pardon the pun, moment, we haven’t heard much about wildfire or how much of it is in Cersei’s reserves, courtesy of the Alchemists’ Guild. Is there a chance that the fire we see in this trailer refers not to dragon fire but to wildfire instead?
Is that a new wall?
Towards the end of the teaser the fire and the ice rush towards each other in the middle of the board, only to find themselves blocked by a wall of a black, glass-like substance that looks suspiciously like dragonglass.
We know that dragon glass, or obsidian, is a powerful material in the world of Game of Thrones and one of only two methods of killing White Walkers. (The other is Valyrian steel, a substance not in huge supply in Westeros currently). Dragonglass is mined at Dragonstone, the ancestral seat of the Targaryens and where Dany and, later, Jon were based for most of season seven, mining the remaining dragonlass to turn into weapons for the upcoming battle against the White Walkers.
But in this teaser clip we see dragonglass used in a wall-like structure across the middle of Westeros. It could all be a metaphor for the power of dragonglass against ice, or it could be a sign that there’s a new wall being built to protect Westeros from evil forces, and that dragonglass might play a key role in fortifying that structure.
The final series of Game of Thrones will air on the 15th April at 2am and 9pm on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV. Need to recap on the story so far? All episodes of Game of Thrones from series 1-7 are now available to watch on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.