'Game of Thrones' Season 8: Everything We Know So Far
For years we've been told that winter is coming. And in just 3 weeks(!), winter will finally be here. After an almost two year wait, the highly anticipated final season of Game of Thrones will be premiering on April 14th (15th in the Philippines) on HBO! Due to all the leaks that occurred in past seasons, details about this season have been kept tightly under wraps, that critics will not even get to review season 8 episodes in advance––but, here’s everything we know so far.
If you aren’t up to date, I highly suggest you stop reading now and return to this article after you have finished season 7 of Game of Thrones.
One of the first sneak peeks we got into the final season was when HBO released a trailer of their upcoming lineup for 2019. In the season 7 finale, Sam Tarly and Gilly arrived at Winterfell, and Bran Stark told Sam that he became the Three Eyed Raven. In the clip, we see birds flying over The Wall––could that be Bran warging into the Three Eyed Raven to spy on the Night King’s army? We also see the Unsullied army marching with one of Daenerys Targaryen dragons overhead, and it looks like Arya Stark and the people of the North are witnessing a dragon for the first time, marking the arrival of Daenerys and her allies in Winterfell. In a similar trailer, Sansa Stark (seemingly reluctantly) hands the North over to Daenerys, telling her, “Winterfell is yours, your Grace.”
In the first official teaser for the final season, HBO announced the month of the premiere. Given the teaser’s title, “Dragonstone,” which alludes to Daenerys’ birthplace and current headquarters, this is likely the table map where Daenerys, Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, & Co. created their plan of attack last season. The video did not reveal any new footage from the upcoming season, but the spread and of fire and ice across a map of Westeros is pretty self-explanatory., clashing in the middle, then what looks like dragonglass emerging from the ground. Remember, dragonglass and Valyrian steel are the known substances that can kill White Walkers. We see a direwolf freeze over, marking the arrival of the Night King’s army in Winterfell, and a lion burn in flames—could this probably suggest the fall of the Lannisters in King’s Landing?
The second teaser features the living Stark siblings minus Bran walking the crypts of Winterfell, then finding stone statues of themselves––indicating imminent deaths. As Jon passes Lyanna Stark’s crypt, a feather falls to the ground. We’ve seen this feather before, when Ned Stark placed it on Lyanna’s crypt in the pilot and episode, and when Sansa picked it up from the ground and placed it back on the crypt when visiting her aunt’s tomb in season 5. The voiceovers of Ned, Caitlin, and Lyanna Stark further allude to the parentage of Jon Snow.
And finally, the official trailer for season 8! Fans questioned whether Tormund Giantsbane and Beric Dondarrion survived Viserion’s destruction of the Wall, and their cameo in the trailer suggests they probably did. Several Greyjoy ships are also seen sailing; the smaller ships could possibly be for Yara Greyjoy’s rescue mission led by her brother Theon, while the larger fleet appears to carry the Golden Company, the mercenary army Cersei Lannister sent Euron Greyjoy to recruit last season. It has been revealed that Marc Rissmann will be portraying Harry Strickland, the leader of the mercenary army. Although Cersei pledged her forces to fight alongside Jon and Daenerys’ allies against the Army of the Dead, she later reveals to her brother Jaime that she does not intend on following through with her promise, and that she and Euron had something else planned.
The Writers and The Directors
In addition to show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, episodes were also written by Dave Hill and Bryan Cogman, and directed by David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik.
Hill has written three episodes for the show in the past, including “Home,” in which Jon comes back to life in season 6. Cogman has written a total of ten episodes across the 7 seasons, including “Kissed by Fire,” the episode where Jon breaks his Night Watch vows with wildling Ygritte, and “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” where the controversial scene between Ramsay Bolton and Sansa takes place.
Sapochnik has directed four episodes, including “Hardhome,” the first battle led by Jon against the Army of the Dead; season 6 finale, “The Winds of Winter;” and the iconic “Battle of the Bastards,” for which he won an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. Nutter, on the other hand has directed six episodes including “Rains of Castamere,” popularly known as the episode of the shocking Red Wedding; season 3 finale, “Mhysa;” and the final two episodes of Season 5, “The Dance of Dragons” and “Mother’s Mercy,” the latter for which he won an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.
Nutter told Entertainment Weekly that “There are a lot of firsts in these episodes. There’s the funniest sequence I’ve ever shot on the show, the most emotional and compelling scene I’ve ever shot, and there’s one scene where there’s so many [major characters] together, it feels like you’re watching a superhero movie.”
Episode 8, Episode 1
Air date: April 15, 9am (PST); Runtime: 54 mins; Written by Dave Hill; Directed by David Nutter
The final season reportedly opens at Winterfell and will heavily recall the series pilot; for instance, the arrival of Daenerys’ army echoes the arrival of King Robert Baratheon’s procession in Winterfell.
Episode 8, Episode 2
Air date: April 22, 9am (PST); Runtime: 58 mins; Written by Bryan Cogman; Directed by David Nutter
Also in the Entertainment Weekly feature, one of the three episodes Nutter tackled included a “calm-before-the-storm entry that might surprise viewers with its play-like intimacy." Given what we know about the next episode, the second episode is probably that.
Episode 8, Episode 3
Air date: April 29, 9am (PST); Runtime: 82 mins; Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss; Directed by Miguel Sapochnik
Mashable translated an article from a Hungarian site reporting that at a fan convention, Night King actor Vladimir Furdík revealed that “In the third episode of the last season, there is a battle that the creators intended to be a historic moment in television.” In a since deleted Instagram post, assistant director Jonathan Quinlan revealed that filming the episode took 55 grueling nights to complete (in comparison, the Battle of the Bastards took 25 days), a massive production feat that Kit Harrington also discussed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Rumored to span all 82 minutes of the episode—the longest runtime in the entire series—this willl reportedly break records as the longest consecutive battle sequence in the history of film. We will also see the largest gathering of major characters since the show’s premiere, with the following confirmed to be present at the battle: Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, Brienne of Tarth, Ser Davos Seaworth, Ser Jorah Mormont, The Hound, Sam Tarly, and Grey Worm. In another interview, Furdík also shared that his character specifically “has a target he wants to kill.”
Episode 8, Episode 4
Air date: April 29, 9am (PST); Runtime: 78 mins; Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss; Directed by David Nutter
Episode 8, Episode 5
Air date: May 6, 9am (PST); Runtime: 80 mins; Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss; Directed by Miguel Sapochnik
Episode 8, Episode 6
Air date: May 20, 9am (PST); Runtime: 80 mins; Written and directed by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Although Weiss and Benioff have only been credited for directing two episodes in the past, it is only fitting that they direct the series finale. in an interview with IGN, Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark claimed, “I think a lot of fans will be disappointed and a lot of fans will be over the moon, I think. I think it will be really interesting to see people’s reactions, but for me reading the script it was just like heartbreaking…” Knowing the show, not everyone’s favorite characters will survive.
HBO released official photos and posters from the upcoming season. Judging by their outfits, it looks like most of them are all up in the cold North. Eagle-eyed fans have noticed that Jaime Lannister traded in his lion-adorned armor for one that resembles that of previous King of the North, Robb Stark. Whether this indicates a shift in alliance or is just an attempt to blend in and avoid being killed as he enters enemy territory, actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau clarified in an interview with Esquire that unlike his sister, “He truly believes that [they] all have to fight this thing. This is humanity at stake.”
Now, the question is: who will end up on the Iron Throne? HBO released posters of all the major players who will be fighting #ForTheThrone. Notice any Stark similarities between the posters of season 1 and season 8? Only time will tell the ultimate fates of these beloved characters.
Photos from HBO