Game of Thrones will return for its six-episode, eighth and final season on April 14, HBO announced in a teaser released in January. That means you’ll have to block off your Sundays through May 19.
On March 14, HBO announced the runtime for each of the episodes:
Season 8, episode 1
Debut date: Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Estimated running time: 0:54
Season 8, episode 2
Debut date: Sunday, April 21 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Estimated running time: 0:58
Season 8, episode 3
Debut date: Sunday, April 28 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Estimated running time: 1:22
Season 8, episode 4
Debut date: Sunday, May 5 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Estimated running time: 1:18
Season 8, episode 5
Debut date: Sunday, May 12 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Estimated running time: 1:20
Season 8, episode 6
Debut date: Sunday, May 19 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Estimated running time: 1:20
The first full trailer of the season arrived Tuesday, March 5. To read what we learned from the trailer, see our article “Game of Thrones Season 8 Trailer Breakdown: Shot-by-Shot, Every Fresh Detail” here.
In a new interview, Vladimir Furdik, who plays the Night King, revealed that the character “has a target he wants to kill.” We will find out who during the season, Furdik told EW, and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) will share another “even stronger moment” than their exchange at Hardhome, when the Night King raised his arms and launched a thousand memes.
Furdik also revealed that, in the time he’s played the character (seasons 6-8), each director has had a different idea of how he should be played, that some what to show some humanity, and that Showrunners and series co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss “want him to be like a cold man.” Lastly, in a revelation that will give you goosebumps, the actor said his favorite Night King scene is still to come!
“Beloved heroes” will die outside of the gates of Winterfell, EW reported in its article published online March 4.
Who might those heroes be? The following characters are confirmed at the battle of Winterfell: Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), Ser Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), The Hound (Rory McCann), Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), the article confirms.
Miguel Sapochnik (“Hardhome,” “Battle of the Bastards”) directed two season 8 episodes, including the battle of Winterfell. David Nutter directed three episodes, including what is called a “calm-before-the-storm entry” with “play-like intimacy.” Weiss and Benioff directed one episode: the finale.
The battle of Winterfell is:
Read more below.
The teaser that hit back on January 13 didn’t necessarily offer any new information. In it, Jon, Sansa, and Arya walk through the Stark family crypt, as the dearly departed whisper their lamentations: an echo of Lyanna Stark-Targaryen (Aisling Franciosi) telling her brother Ned, “You have to protect him”; Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) recalling, “All this horror that’s come to my family, it’s all because I couldn’t love a motherless child”; and, finally, Ned Stark (Sean Bean), reassuring Jon, “You are a Stark. You may not have my name, but you have my blood.” Technically true.
As they approach the end of the crypt, Jon, carries a torch and illuminates stone effigies of the trio.
It’s official: Jon is the light-bringer! You’ll recall the Red Priests and Priestesses of R’hllor telling the prophecy of the Lightbringer, “a sword made of living fire” and the sword of legendary hero Azor Ahai, who will be reborn in the warrior who “shall draw from the fire a burning sword.” Jon has done that. Somewhere Melisandre (Carice van Houten) is pumping fists.
As they puzzle over their statues, the cold creeps up on them, freezing over a feather that dropped to the ground and blowing out the torch. Jon and Arya draw their weapons and step up in front of Sansa, the diplomat of the family whose weapons aren’t quite so blatant.
Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) was notably absent, and we can’t help but wonder if the frozen feather is supposed to represent him as the Three-Eyed Raven. The Stark coalition needs him, so they better keep him safe.
A tease of HBO’s upcoming slate released on Sunday, February 24 showed footage of Jon riding behind the Unsullied on the march with dragons flying overhead, and Arya frozen in awe and looking at something — dragons?
In another recent tease, released January 6 by HBO as part of a 2019 preview, showed Jon introducing Queen Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) to Sansa at Winterfell.
— Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) January 7, 2019
The tease shows Sansa approaching Daenerys: “Winterfell is yours, Your Grace.” This moment tells us:
The new footage backs up an EW report from November that the season will open at Winterfell with Daenerys and her followers meeting up and mingling uneasily with Jon Snow’s northern coalition. It will surprise absolutely no one to learn that Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) “isn’t thrilled that Jon bent the knee to his fancy new Targaryen girlfriend, at least not at first.”
We’ve already had a glimpse at the anticipated meeting between Sansa and Daenerys, but there’s so much more to savor about the Mother of Dragons arriving at Winterfell.
One moment we can’t wait to see is Jon reuniting with Arya, but we’re also very much looking forward to Jorah Mormont meeting little Lady Lyanna Mormont — please, please, please let that be a thing.
Bran has wanted to have a chat with Jon forever. We can expect that conversation; though Bradley indicated to EW that Sam will be the one to break it to Jon that he just had sex with his aunt. On the bright side, he’s heir to the Iron Throne.
There may or may not be fallout from Petyr Baelish’s death: Will Sansa have to smooth things over with the Lord of the Vale, her cousin Robin Arryn? The kid has potential to do epic damage to the Northern coalition.
Sam also has yet to learn about his father’s and brother’s deaths. That revelation is surely on the horizon. How will that affect his relationship with Daenerys, and could it be the one thing that drives a wedge between Jon and Sam?
And as bleak as it is to think about, there’s going to be that amazing first-contact scene between the Army of the Dead and the men of the North. Sure, they’ve already mowed over the wall and the Night’s Watch with their wight-dragon Viserion, but watching them hit the Umbers’ Last Hearth or the Karstarks’ Karhold will be a spectacle. Hopefully, we’ll get a taste of that before Winterfell.
The very first teaser trailer, released back in December, showed ice and fire meeting somewhere in what looked like the Riverlands — as if Riverrun could take much more.
Speaking of the Riverlands, for those of us who’ve been reading the latest from George R.R. Martin, Fire & Blood, his descriptions of the Dance of Dragons should make us both eager for and fearful of a meeting between wight-dragon Viserion and his brothers, Drogon and Rhaegal. It’s sure to be vicious. With that, the question of who will ride Rhaegal arises. Surely, it will be the son of the warrior-prince the dragon is named after.
All that, plus we have six episodes in which to conclude Cleganebowl.
EW’s November 2018 story also describes preparation and reactions to filming the final season battle between the human allies against the Night King’s Army of the Dead, which took 55 nights to film the external scenes alone. The production expanded the Winterfell set to accommodate the battle, which actor Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister, described as “brutal … It makes the Battle of the Bastards look like a theme park,” referring to season 6’s epic battle between Jon and Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon).
While filming of season 8 overall took 10 months, filming of the battle of Winterfell took 11 weeks of night shoots – a schedule the production team referred to as “The Long Night” that inspired “We Survived The Long Night” jackets worn by the crew – with up to 750 people working through the night in temperatures at or near freezing, EW’s latest report revealed. Actors would huddle for warmth around space heaters in tents or seek shelter in the production trailers. One of the series’ regular actresses fainted, but returned to work the next day.
The battle will cut between the various characters during the fight.
“We’ve been building toward this since the very beginning, it’s the living against the dead, and you can’t do that in a 12-minute sequence,” Benioff said, according to the magazine’s November article.
The scene “is completely unprecedented and relentless and a mixture of genres even within the battle. There are sequences built within sequences built within sequences,” according to Cogman in the March EW report.
Benioff and Weiss, Bryan Cogman, and Dave Hill are writers for the new season.
Following reports that Jason Momoa, who appeared as Khal Drogo in the series, and other actors who played deceased characters from the series were spotted in Ireland, news came out that a reunion was happening that would make up a special feature in the eight-season full-series box set. The special was reportedly hosted by Conan O’Brien, who had previously gathered GoT heavyweights, like this time in 2016.
We’ve waited over a year for the new season, and the anticipation has been excruciating. It’s also given us some time to take stock of who’s still breathing — or, at least, moving around — and where we left them. Here’s the list of players with some updated notes from the first full trailer (see our shot-by-shot trailer 1 breakdown here):
Daenerys Targaryen — just had sex with her nephew on a boat to White Harbor headed toward Winterfell. In teasers and the new trailer, she’s seen at Winterfell.
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) — on that same boat, pining for his Dragon Queen. Dinklage, who has the hand of the queen pin on his costume in the EW gallery, says Tyrion is “trying to figure out who he really is” under the circumstances. Would that be a Lannister or — as fans have guessed — not? In the new trailer, Tyrion appears in only one shot, gazing skyward.
Jorah Mormont — same as Tyrion most likely. Jorah is seen in the trailer with Valyrian steel sword Heartsbane, the Tarly family sword that he could have gotten only from Sam.
Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) — presumed alive, but imprisoned by her uncle Euron Greyjoy.
Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) — headed out to sea to save his sister Yara.
Varys (Conleth Hill) — presumably on the boat to White Harbor headed toward Winterfell. He appears in the first trailer hiding in the Winterfell crypt with Gilly, Little Sam, and a group of women and children.
Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) — presumably on the boat to White Harbor headed toward Winterfell. Emmanuel told EW that Missandei is fighting for life for the love of Grey Worm (we see the two kiss in the trailer), but…
Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) — Anderson told EW the characters know that “the chances of anyone surviving are remote.” He is also presumably on the boat to White Harbor headed toward Winterfell.
Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) — presumed alive, but imprisoned by Cersei at King’s Landing, watching her daughter die from a dose of the poison tears of Lys.
Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) — last seen reluctantly agreeing to stay behind to keep the peace in Mereen.
Jon Snow — having sex with his aunt Daenerys on a boat to White Harbor headed to Winterfell. “He’s in love,” Harington says and describes what comes next as “a sledgehammer” in EW’s March photogallery. In the trailer, Jon is seen in the Godswood at Winterfell in front of the weirwood tree, with Daenerys and her dragons, and in various other snippets.
Sansa Stark — at Winterfell chatting with Arya on the castle’s ramparts. Turner is seen in her Stark armor in the EW photogallery and says that Sansa has been enjoying leadership. In the teasers, we saw Sansa greet Daenerys and Jon at Winterfell, and in the trailer, she’s shown seeing dragons fly over the castle.
Arya Stark — at Winterfell chatting with Sansa on the castle’s ramparts, having just executed Lord Petyr Baelish. Arya wears cloth/fur armor that protects her right side, under her sword arm, and leaves her sword unencumbered in the EW gallery, and Williams says her character is somewhat torn between being Arya Stark of old and “her unfinished business.” Arya is show in action in the first full trailer, battling wights and running for her life.
Bran Stark — at Winterfell with Samwell Tarly, figuring out that Jon Snow is the true heir to the Iron Throne. In the trailer, Bran says, “Everything you did brought you where you are now…where you belong….home.” He is shown still sitting with Sam, who exhales frosty breath (a previously used sign of White Walkers close by). Hempstead-Wright teased to EW that Bran is less robotic in the final season. In a conversation with Rotten Tomatoes, Hempstead-Wright gave us some insight into how the Three-Eyed Raven thing works: “It’s like he’s got a dictionary in front of him, the whole of time. And he’s got access. He can look up anything he wants and … [the old] Three-Eyed Raven had been in the cave for a thousand years, and had looked through every single page, has memorized every single page, whereas Bran now he’s just been given this huge book … he still needs to be reminded of places to go and still needs to be told what to look up.
“I think the job description of being the Three-Eyed Raven requires you — in order to not have some kind of PTSD total trauma — to switch off a lot of your human traits, because if you were a human who was forced to live every single thing that’s ever happened in the world, your brain would fry, you’d go completely mad, and you’d just break down and stop functioning … You are the keeper of the history of the world. And therefore, you have to be strong enough not to let it completely break you apart.”
Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) — at Winterfell combining his knowledge with Bran’s visions to uncover the realm’s most well-kept secret. The trailer shows Sam still sitting with Bran and suggests that Sam will give/loan Jorah Mormont his family’s Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane.
Gilly (Hannah Murray) with baby Sam — last seen riding into Winterfell with Sam, in the trailer, she and Little Sam are seen in the Winterfell crypt with Varys.
Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) — presumably on the boat to White Harbor after the events of the season 7 finale, the trailer shows a quick glimpse of Davos on the ramparts of a castle — likely Winterfell, of course.
Melisandre (Carice van Houten) — the Red Priestess of R’hllor was last seen telling Varys that she was headed to Volantis, but that she would return to “die in this strange country” just like him. She does not appear in teasers or the trailer.
Brienne — last seen at the armistice talks, she’s presumably headed back to Winterfell. The trailer shows her standing with in front of Knights of the Vale and appears to show her cutting down wights.
Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman) — generally wherever Brienne is, Pod can be seen right by her side in front of the Knights of the Vale.
Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann) — last seen at the armistice talks, he’s presumably on the boat to White Harbor with Jon and Daenerys. Cleganebowl is on, by the way! McCann pretty much guarantees there will be a face-off with his brother, Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane (Hafþór Björnsson) in EW’s March 4 photogallery.
Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) — last seen at the top of the Wall as a portion of it exploded in front of him, we presumed he was alive, because we wanted him to finish wooing Brienne. The trailer shows him with the next two in our list, walking through a seemingly empty and large castle or fortress.
Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) — with Tormund and also confirmed alive by the trailer.
Eddison “Dolorous Edd” Tollett (Ben Crompton) along with the Night’s Watch — he last seen at the Wall and is confirmed alive by the first trailer; Castle Black Night’s Watch should be in fighting form, but the Eastwatch brothers will be dead, dying, and reanimating.
Gendry (Joe Dempsie) — last seen collapsing at the Wall at Castle Black and asking Edd Tollett to send ravens for Daenerys to save Jon and the remnants of his Magnificent Seven, Gendry appears in the trailer overseeing the smithing of dragonglass weapons.
Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) — last seen saying goodbye to Bran at Winterfell, saying that she’s going to see her father, Howland Reed (maybe we’ll finally get to meet the elder Reed in season 8).
Maester Wolkan (Richard Rycroft) — Winterfell.
Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) — Winterfell.
Yohn Royce (Rupert Vansittart) and the Knights of the Vale — last seen at Winterfell, Ser Royce seems to be absent in the shot of the Knights of the Vale behind Brienne and Pod in the trailer.
Robin Arryn (Lino Facioli) — last seen in the Vale as a ward in the home of House Royce.
Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey) — last seen working at the Inn at the Crossroads in the Riverlands, giving Arya news that her half-brother is King in the North.
Cersei Lannister Baratheon (Lena Headey) — in King’s Landing, planning to do nothing as the North is invaded. The trailer shows, however, that Cersei’s minions have been very busy on her behalf, as the Golden Company sellswords sail toward King’s Landing. Cersei, meanwhile, has a glass of wine.
Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) — last seen at the armistice talks, claiming that he would be sitting out the war with the dead from his throne in the Iron Islands (because the dead can’t swim), but Cersei later reveals that he’s headed to Braavos to pick up the Golden Company of sellswords and ferry them to Westeros to defend King’s Landing and fight for the queen. Euron, however, is not clearly shown in the trailer.
Qyburn (Anton Lesser) — at Cersei’s side when we left him in season 7, the trailer shows him still there.
Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) — at Cersei’s heels, and he is still there in the season 8 trailer.
Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) — last seen committing treason and heading north on the Kingsroad. Jaime shows up in the trailer apparently explaining himself to the Northern coalition and then also clearly in the thick of the fighting. Coster-Waldau states definitively what we thought saw in that moment at the end of season 7: that Jaime is “choosing to do what he believes is right.” (Why he’s wearing his sword on his left hip when he would need to unsheathe it using his left hand is a mystery – perhaps just for the sake of the photo.) Coster-Waldau had previously told Rotten Tomatoes that he was very much looking forward to Jon and Daenerys’ relationship: “It’s so easy to be morally shocked about the brother and sister thing, and yes, it’s absolutely horrific … I think 95 percent of all the audience are rooting for Daenerys and Jon Snow to get together, which is going to be the next incestuous relationship. That’s the beautiful irony, though.”
Bronn (Jerome Flynn) — last seen leaving the armistice talks to take Podrick for a drink.
Archmaester Ebrose (Jim Broadbent) and the rest of the Citadel — keeping their heads in their books — for now at least, though it would be great to see Broadbent and those crusty ol’ maesters swoop in to save the day, or a day (please be useful).
Tycho Nestoris (Mark Gatiss) and the Iron Bank of Braavos — last seen offering to loan Cersei more money, the Iron Bank representative will swing in whatever direction promises to enrich them.
Melessa Tarly (Samantha Spiro) — last seen at Horn Hill, her husband and son have since been burned by Daenery’s dragon; her allegiance is uncertain given her warm relationship with Sam.
Talla Tarly (Rebecca Benson) — last seen at Horn Hill, her father and brother have since been burned by Daenery’s dragon; her allegiance is uncertain given her warm relationship with Sam.
Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies) — last seen securing Riverrun for Jaime Lannister, he was presumed to have been returned to the dungeons at The Twins, but since all of the men of House Frey were killed by Arya, he may have been released by the Frey women.
Roslin Frey Tully (Alexandra Dowling) — last seen at The Twins, Roslin could possibly now be the Lady of The Twins and may have released her husband (however useless Edmure might be).
Syrio Forel (Miltos Yerolemou) — last seen in season 1, Arya’s dancing master was never confirmed dead, and his resurrection would certainly delight fans.
Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) — last seen in Braavos at the House of Black and White, Jaqen (or whatever his name is) could be anywhere.
Hodor (Kristian Nairn) — we didn’t see him die on screen, at least not permanently; sad to say, but he could be marching with the Army of the Dead.
Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle) — see “Hodor.”
Nymeria — last seen in the area of the Neck, staying as far away as possible from all of them..
— ａ ｌ ｔ (@ianaltf4) November 21, 2018
The Night King (Vladimir Furdik) — collapsing the Wall and flying wight-dragon Viserion over the North. He does not appear in the trailer, but Furdik told EW that the Night King is a monster with a mission: He’s got a specific target he intends to kill.
100,000 or so wights and White Walkers — following closely behind their dragon-rider — which begs the question: Could he be a Targaryen? The Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow–edition) showed us a blond man being stabbed with dragonglass, but who was he and where did he come from? The wights/White Walkers are only suggested in the trailer in shadows, except for the gnawed legs of a wight horse that appears at the end.
Check back as more details come in on season 8 of Game of Thrones…