All men must die, but what do we tell the Many-Faced God of Death? Not today. Aye, not when Game of Thrones Season 8 is at last in full swing. Nearly two years after we waved farewell to House Stark, they are back and they have a Dragon in their midst. We’ve already given our lengthy, deep-diving thoughts on the season premiere right here, but that is just the beginning. Indeed, television’s last water cooler series is just getting into high gear so here’s what we know about the next episode below.
A new threat has arise in Westeros. And it’s not the one we expected but perhaps we should have. Here is the trailer for Game of Thrones season 8 episode 6….the final episode ever of the show.
Here is the cryptic synopsis.
In the aftermath of the devastating attack on King’s Landing, Daenerys must face the survivors.
Below is our full episode guide.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1: Winterfell
As the end draws nigh for each of us, it is said the world appears to shrink until there is nothing left. So too does that appear to be the case with gargantuan television extravaganzas. Once a universe of seeming infinite scope and complexity, the lands of Westeros and Essos took on a constantly expanding quality for the first five seasons of Game of Thrones—and they continue to grow larger still within the pages of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire.” Yet now as we have finished the first of just six short chapters comprising Game of Thrones season 8, it is unavoidable to note how small and intimate the series is becoming. Once a show that premiered with a vaguely dizzying amount of names in the locations of Winterfell, King’s Landing, and Essos, now even the latter continent has vanished in tonight’s echo of the series’ first episode. Presumably by the time the Dead arrive at Winterfell, the show will be downright claustrophobic.
air date: 4/14/2019
run time: 54 minutes
Check out these images from the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere, an innocent time when we believed all major characters filmed sitting on the Iron Throne were in it for the long haul.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
Late in tonight’s preemptively mournful hour, the Hound rumbles upon seeing another familiar face, “Oh for fuck’s sake, may as well be at a bloody wedding.” Given the connotation most Game of Thrones fans have for the term “wedding,” that sounds about right. Not since Joffrey’s ill-fated nuptials have so many beloved countenances been gathered in one location. However, given the usual hurricane that follows such deceptively calm waters, we too should hold our breaths. In the seven days since last week’s solid if flawed season 8 premiere, I’ve heard more than one person grouch that they wanted someone to die in that first hour. Now as we face the prospect of everyone we care about being on the chopping block—save for the lovably loathsome Cersei—the Many-Faced God of Death can go ahead and take another week off. Because next week, he’s coming for all our darlings.
air date: 4/21/2019
run time: 58 minutes
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3
Tonight we stared into the icy blue eyes of that enemy and saw them meet their own version of the Many-Faced God of Death. To say it was a heartwarming relief would be an understatement. “The Long Night,” the third episode of Game of Thrones’ final season, made good on a promise that opened the very series: this would end with a battle between not just good and evil, but the living and the dead. Never have the stakes been higher in the series, nor have they been better visually realized. Returning this week with Miguel Sapochnik at the helm—director of the two most visually dazzling previous episodes of Game of Thrones, “Battle of the Bastards” and the “The Winds of Winter”—tonight’s hour-plus more closely resembled cinema than any previous episode. This fact is accentuated by the sparse use of dialogue and the determination of encapsulating every choice and moment in the most starkly visual terms—and perhaps there’s been nothing quite so stark (forgive the pun) as Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow, a child of fire and a child of ice, looking on from their dragon nest encampment on a hill high above Winterfell as the dead approach.
air date: 4/28/19
run time: 1 hour 22 minutes
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4: The Last of the Starks
Easily containing enough material for two or three episodes, it will now forever be a mystery to me why it wasn’t exactly that many installments given the truncated nature of season 8. “The Last of the Starks” is so compressed that moments which should breathe (like the blossoming life and death of Jaime and Brienne’s romance), and dawning epiphanies that needed to be gradually accepted (such as Daenerys’ ambition and pride are driving her mad), were conveyed in unsatisfying shorthand and the type of cliché that Game of Thrones and its literary source material are so good at avoiding. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to like in what is clearly the place-setting episode before the climax. As a beloved character on another zeitgeist-y property would say, “We’re in the endgame now.” And of the two or three hours of story squished into less than 80 minutes here, the first one is heartbreakingly great.
air date: 5/5/2019
run time: 1 hour 18 minutes
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5: The Bells
Much of the debate to come will be about whether Daenerys Targaryen should’ve become the fabled “Mad Queen,” and if this is indeed the ending George R.R. Martin imagined for his “A Song of Ice and Fire” series when he revealed the characters’ fates to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss some years back. While I’m fairly certain the details are off, I can’t help but recall what a certain bastard of Winterfell (no, not that one) once said, “If you wanted a happy ending, you haven’t been playing attention.” In my mind, this is the most purely George R.R. Martin-esque episode of seasons 7 or 8. But even as I type that, I am going to grapple with whether showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss earned reaching the moment where Daenerys turned the city built by her ancestors to ash, and a hero’s journey revealed itself to be a tragic villain’s descent.
air date: 5/12/2019
run time: 1 hour 20 minutes.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 6: The Iron Throne
And sure enough, there was grimness tonight too, but also hope and a gracefulness that has long been absent the final two seasons of Game of Thrones. This might not have been the ending we all wanted (it certainly wasn’t the one I imagined), but it was a good one that has brought appropriate, if not astounding, closure to “A Song of Ice and Fire.” Even if Game of Thrones fumbled a handful of that song’s lyrics at the end, the series still found music in its final refrain.
air date: 5/19/2019
run time: 1 hour 20 minutes
The final four episodes have all been written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. It’s good to be the king.
Like the sight of a dragon flying above a battlefield, the directors list is a beautiful sight since Miguel Sapochnik has returned to the series. Aye, the helmer of what may still be the two most cinematic hours of Game of Thrones, season 6’s final “The Battle of the Bastards” and “The Winds of Winter” hours, is returning to the helm of multiple episodes. He’s directing the third and fifth episodes to be exact, so know when to expect them to bring the (wild)fire. Yet the most intriguing thing might be that the final episode will be directed by neither Sapochnik or other fan favorite series mainstays like Alan Taylor, David Nutter, or Neill Marshall. Nope… showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will be directing it themselves! David Nutter, helmer of the now legendary “The Rains of Catamere” episode, is meanwhile directing the first, second, and fourth episodes.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Spoilers
A good place to start is with the technical spoilers that HBO has already allowed to be unspooled. As revealed in Entertainment Weekly‘s exclusive set visit, Game of Thrones Season 8 will begin by echoing the series premiere all the way back in 2011. During those happier days, King Robert Baratheon’s procession arrived at a cheerful Winterfell; in April 2019, Queen Daenerys’ army will begin the season by getting a cold welcome from Sansa Stark, who will begrudingly bend the knee to the Dragon Queen after her “brother” Jon Snow already surrendered the North’s autonomy to the Targaryen. However, EW‘s James Hibberd hints that Sansa might be soon won over by Dany, as well as stating the obvious: Team Dany meeting Team Stark will cause a lot of overdue reunions in the premiere: the Hound and Arya, the Hound and Sansa, Sansa and Tyrion, Jon and Bran, and (best of all), Jon and Arya.
“It’s 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,” co-executive producer Bryan Cogman says. “It’s an incredibly emotional, haunting, bittersweet final season, and I think it honors very much what George set out to do — which is flipping this kind of story on its head.”
Hibberd also teased he was on the set for the Game of Thrones series finale, and it was in a Westerosi location never previously seen, and one that included characters whose appearance surprised him. Make of that what you will. However, he helped confirm a few more intriguing things, such as the fact that the third episode of season 8 will exclusively be the battle of Winterfell. We already assumed this given that Miguel Sapochnik is directing the third and fifth episodes of season 8 after previously helming “The Battle of the Bastards” in season 6. He’s been long spotted on the Winterfell sets in Belfast, filming a battle sequence that took 55 days to shoot (more than double the 25 days spent on “The Battle of the Bastards”). However, this is apparently just exterior shots and that it took even longer to film the interiors and closeups.
Yet all of this means the decisive battle that the series has been building toward since the beginning, the living versus the dead, will occur in the third episode of the season, meaning there are three more chapters of potential cinematic length. If we had to guess the real finale will be a confrontation between the two true unstoppable forces of Starks and Lannisters in episode 5. (That is speculation. It is possible the Army of the Dead will march on King’s Landing, where a battle will occur in the fifth episode.)
Of course the final season filmed in Belfast, Ireland, which is its base of operations, albeit some scouts have been spotted at familiar castles in Ireland, as well as the Roman amphitheater in Spain that stands as the “Dragonpit” in the Game of Thrones season 7 finale. It has since been confirmed almost all of the major cast (with notable exception Emilia Clarke) traveled to Spain to film in the Dragonpit for a major sequence that is allegedly occurring in the Game of Thrones series finale. Whether that scene is a wedding, funeral, or trial depends on your own personal theory/favorite rumor (there’s a cottage industry of YouTubers who claim to have inside information if you’re so inclined/gullible).
Our friends at Watchers on the Wall caught that Game of Thrones did some filming in Sweden and Norway for the first time ever. So Benioff and Weiss presumably want to finally show snow falling on King’s Landing and other locations, and are using Northern Europe, accordingly. This is good news for Starks, because winter is a time for wolves.
Similarly, new sets for Winterfell and King’s Landing were built in Belfast. The former includes new battlements and walls to showcase the fortification of the Stark ancestral home of Winterfell… as well as a new moat being constructed. This is due to the aforementioned “Battle for the Dawn,” which is again expected to be in the third episode of Season 8.
The fact that they built King’s Landing neighborhood sets in Belfast is intriguing, however, since this has never been done considering the show often just uses real locations in Croatia for King’s Landing… But if perhaps a battle (or riot?) is to break out in the capital, it might be better to have sets to, ahem, burn… (Episode 5)
Game of Thrones Season 8 Trailer
Well, winter is certainly here. This new Game of Thrones Season 8 trailer is ominous, even by Game of Thrones standards.
The teaser below teases, amongst other things, the reunion of Jon and Arya.
The teaser below gives us a glimpse of the multiple theaters on which the show’s final battle(s) will take place.
Check out the earlier trailer, which has more actual footage…
And here’s the first teaser (with no actual footage).
Game of Thrones Season 8 Release Date
Game of Thrones Season 8 begins its final movement on April 14. Brace thyself for Sunday, winter child.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Posters
Feast your eyes on this!
Game of Thrones Season 8 Photos
HBO released some images that give us our best look yet at the upcoming season. Some characters are even smiling in them! (Mostly not, though.)
Game of Thrones Season 8 Cast
Presumably all fan favorites who survived the end of season 7 will be returning for the Game of Thrones‘ endgame in its final year. That means yes, we will see more of Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Kit Harington, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gwendoline Christie, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Conleth Hill, Iain Glen, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jacob Anderson, Jerome Flynn, Rory McCann, Joe Dempsie, Anton Lesser, and Daniel Portman.
Previously Mark Gattis was expected to return as Iron Banker Tycho Nestoris in Season 8, but he’s since confirmed he’s not in the final season.
Also in news of characters we AREN’T seeing, George R.R. Martin apparently turned down the chance to cameo in the final season to continue working on his sixth “A Song of Ice and Fire” book, The Winds of Winter. Alas, poor George.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Story
We went into detail about what we expect from Game of Thrones Season 8. Here’s an excerpt:
This struggle will undoubtedly be what most of the final six episodes deals with. However, I am already happy to report that it’s now apparent this isn’t the true end of the series. Jon Snow has called the Army of the Dead the only enemy that matters, and he is correct to fear zombies over mere humans. Yet George R.R. Martin’s world has never been Middle-earth. Hence why it could never truly be about just the forces of good overcoming the forces of evil in an epic battle on the border of Mordor. While J.R.R. Tolkien included the “Scouring of the Shire” as one of his many epilogues in Lord of the Rings (which is perhaps the only thing of substance Peter Jackson cut from his movie adaptations), it is now obvious that Martin, and Benioff and Weiss, are making the post-war skirmishes and power vacuums a critical part of the main story.
One thing that has been confirmed is that the season will feature a massive battle scene. It spent 55 days of principal photography on a major battle, which filmed at the Moneyglass Base in Northern Ireland. For context that is longer than any major battle filmed for the premium cable epic. Not “Battle of the Bastards,” nor “Blackwater,” or “Watchers on the Wall” compare. So expect something truly epic, especially as we know Moneybase has long been where sets for Winterfell have been built. Oh, and as we discussed above in the spoilers section, that is only the exteriors. It took even longer to film the interiors, which will have apparently a horror-ement.
The first official image from Game of Thrones Season 8 comes from EW. The image showcases Westeros’s favorite (unwitting) aunt/nephew power couple, Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow, who, at this point, seem to have made it to their snowy destination of Winterfell.
In a preview of the cover story, co-executive producer Bryan Cogman offers a bit of insight about the theme of the final season, explaining:
“It’s 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.” Adding, “It’s an incredibly emotional haunting bittersweet final season and I think it honors very much what [author George R.R. Martin] set out to do — which is flipping this kind of story on its head.”
Game of Thrones Season 8 Finale
While Game of Thrones season 7 proved to be the biggest year yet for HBO’s flagship, at least in terms of ratings, it’s fair to say that it was also one of the more frustrating entries. Plot outlines for the entire season leaked almost a full year early, and paparazzi images spoiled months in advance that Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow would meet on the cliffs of Dragonstone (never mind scripts getting hacked and episodes accidentally leaked days early during the actual season).
Thus it’s not too surprising that HBO and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss took extra measures to keep the final season of Game of Thrones as spoiler-free as possible. This includes, according to Casey Bloys, HBO president of programming, shooting multiple endings to the epic saga.
While speaking to Moravian College (via The Morning Call), Bloys said, “I know in Game of Thrones, the ending, they’re going to shoot multiple versions so 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 definitive answer until the end.”
With that said, Maisie Williams dismissed the idea of filming multiple endings given the series’ sizeable budget while chatting on Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show.
Williams makes a strong point. However, there are set photos out there that would make a lot more sense if they were done for the most rabid part of the fanbase to draw the wrong conclusions.
Right now, we know the production of Game of Thrones Season 8 spent some time in Seville, Spain, which previously served as the backdrop for King’s Landing in the seventh season. And all accounts point to major characters returning to the Dragonpit location in Itálica, which appeared in the season 7 finale, for also the season 8 finale (aka the series finale).
What that ending is has many people guessing. Why would major characters return to the Dragonpit unless there is some final negotiation between the remaining houses about what Westeros will look like come spring? Whatever decision is made, Sophie Turner has already attempted to hedge fan expectation, revealing that while she loved the ending, it will not satisfy all fans.
“Who knows if it will be satisfying for the fans,” Turner told IGN. “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 to read at the very final page of the script it just says, ‘End of Game of Thrones’. That was really emotional.”