TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT... GAME OF THRONES: SEASON 8
Winter is here. What news from Westeros?
After a wait of nearly 18 months, to allow for winter shooting, more ambitious battle scenes and bigger special effects, the final season of Game Of Thrones will be broadcast in “the first half of 2019”.
There will be only six episodes, down from last season’s seven, and the previous standard of ten — but each one is likely to be feature-length.
As with the last season, it’s uncharted territory for George R.R. Martin fans. The season adapts material from Martin’s as-yet unpublished final novels in the series, the long-delayed The Winds Of Winter and A Dream Of Spring.
All the previous season’s surviving characters will return, with the exception of Dornish paramour Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma), whose fate remains ambiguous; and Tycho Nestoris (Mark Gatiss), whose thrilling banking-based misadventures will have to be left to the imagination.
The first footage from the season — all three seconds of it, in an HBO promotional trailer — showed Jon Snow reuniting with half-sister Sansa after returning to Winterfell. But that’s all we’ve seen so far.
The final run of episodes will be written and directed by Thrones veterans: showrunners David Benioff & D.B. Weiss will write four episodes, and direct the season finale, while Miguel Sapochnik (who directed the ‘Battle Of The Bastards’ episode) and David Nutter (who directed the Red Wedding episode) are also behind the camera.
A mammoth nine-month shoot started in October 2017 and concluded in July 2018. Filming took place in Northern Ireland, Croatia, Spain and Iceland.
It is reportedly the most expensive season of television ever produced, with each episode budgeted at $15 million, according to Variety.
Peter Dinklage has claimed that the season’s biggest battle, which filmed for a staggering 55 consecutive nights, will top the iconic Battle Of The Bastards. “Oh my God, and then some,” Dinklage said. “You are in for it. Truly.”
The end of Game Of Thrones doesn’t mean that’ll be the last you see of the Seven Kingdoms, though. Five spin-offs are already in the works, with the pilot for a prequel set thousands of years in the past, written by Jane Goldman, shooting early next year.