Game of Thrones Season 8 Breakdown: Dates, Writers, Cast, Locations & Endgame

Daenerys and Jon Game of Thrones

After the explosive “Beyond the Wall,” season seven is coming a close with “The Dragon and the Wolf,” quite an evocative title for a season finale. But it’s not a series finale! This story isn’t over. In three days we’ll be reeling, and then we’ll be itching for more … but there won’t be any more Game of Thrones for a while. If you still need to scratch that itch, however, Watchers on the Wall will be here throughout filming season and even the barren months after it to bring you the latest on casting, location and filming news.

This thorough coverage begins today, with a breakdown of absolutely everything we know about season eight: filming schedules, air dates, writers, casting, filming locations and, perhaps more significantly, the showrunners’ approach for the endgame. You will not find any explicit spoilers below the cut, but the information regarding casting and locations has implications regarding the upcoming season seven finale.

THE TIMETABLE

707 - King's Landing Dragonpit - Cersei, Jaime 1

Along with the news that the mysterious prequels would take a long while to produce, we also learned that season eight would probably not see the light of day until late 2018 at the earliest. Everything we have heard ever since has corroborated this estimation.

This delay is affected by a likely much longer post-production phase as well as a much more winter-focused filming schedule: though pre-production has already begun, filming will probably commence in October and continue until March, at the very least.

THE CREW

707 - King's Landing - Jaime, Bronn, Unsullied 1

Unprecedentedly, we got a full writers lineup more than a year before broadcast. In fact, we knew who would write each of the last six episodes of the show before we knew how the showrunners had divided writing duties for season seven. That was a weird one.

During the show’s panel at SXSW 2017, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss revealed Dave Hill would write episode one of season eight, Bryan Cogman episode two, and Benioff & Weiss themselves would take the remaining four episodes in this short six-episode season. This is the first time D&D aren’t writing the season premiere, but it makes sense for the showrunners to be the ones to bring the story to a close with the last four episodes in all of Game of Thrones, leaving the setup to Hill and Cogman.

As for the directors, none are known at this time. We can hope for an all-star team (Sapochnik, Taylor, MacLaren…), but please recall the negative reaction when we learned Matt Shakman would direct a battle instead of Miguel Sapochnik. The marvelous Field of Fire Battle in “The Spoils of War” was the result. Going back further, there was criticism for hiring Sapochnik for “Hardhome” instead of Neil Marshall, who had directed “Blackwater” and “The Watchers on the Wall.” Maybe there is a lesson to be learned here!

THE CAST

Most of the surviving cast members will come together in “The Dragon and the Wolf”

Most of the surviving cast members will come together in “The Dragon and the Wolf”

The cast has been mercilessly culled, but most of the major late-game pieces remain. Those actors whose characters survived in season seven are expected to return, so any surprises will have to come from secondary characters who didn’t need to reappear.

One such character is Tycho Nestoris, played by Mark Gatiss, who has confirmed the representative of the Iron Bank of Braavos will be back for two season eight episodes. Cersei now depends on the Iron Bank to bankroll her war efforts, so Tycho’s return is not shocking, but it’s nice to know we’ll see more of Gatiss as a greasy sociopath. Coupled with Nikolaj Coster Waldau essentially confirming he will return in season eight, this probably means the story isn’t over for the Mad Queen, Cersei Lannister.

As for new named characters, they are increasingly rare as the story nears its end. We shouldn’t expect much major casting news, though there will probably be plenty of bit parts, which we’ll report on as they come. In regards to new significant characters, unless Meera returns to Winterfell with her father, Howland Reed, I can’t see a need for anyone who hasn’t been cast yet, not even for flashbacks. We’ll have to wait and see!

THE LOCATIONS

"Kings will freeze to death in their castles" - Urueña Castle, in Castilla y León, Spain

“Kings will freeze to death in their castles” – Urueña Castle, in Castilla y León, Spain

The White Walkers are almost at the Wall. It’s time for the people to retreat to their fortifications … though that won’t save them, if Old Nan’s stories were to be believed. Might that be why the producers are still scouting for castles this late in the game? Whatever the reason may be, looking for castles they certainly are, and they are doing so in the most suitable region for such a pursuit: Castilla — that is, the Land of Castles.

Game of Thrones producers were spotted scouting Urueña Castle in Castille, Spain. Though they seemed particularly interested in its round tower, we have no idea if they did choose the site for filming, but at least now we know they are looking in the area, and that they need new castles, which is surprising news in and of itself, at this point. Now, let’s all endlessly theorize about whether one of these Castilian fortifications will turn out to be Storm’s End or White Harbor or Sunspear, only to be disappointed when it’s inevitably used to fill in for yet another corner of King’s Landing. Speaking of which…

Itálica’s amphitheater as the Dragonpit of King’s Landing in “The Dragon and the Wolf”

Itálica’s amphitheater as the Dragonpit of King’s Landing in “The Dragon and the Wolf”

Against all odds, King’s Landing may survive the season … and Cersei’s love for wildfire. The show is looking to return to Southern Spain, where much of last season was filmed. HBO has an eye on Itálica’s Roman amphitheater and Seville’s old Royal Shipyards, which depict the Dragonpit and the Red Keep’s dungeons respectively in season seven. This means a major return to the capital before we must bid the show farewell.

These locations were said to be “indispensable for the sake of narrative continuity,” but the Royal Shipyards will be closed off for restoration in March 2018, and HBO will not return to Itálica if they can’t also film at the shipyards, which makes sense logistically. It was never confirmed whether any dates were agreed to or not, but let’s hope they were.

Looking for Winter - Akershus Fortress, Oslo, Norway

Looking for Winter – Akershus Fortress, Oslo, Norway

Winter may be ‘here’ in the Seven Kingdoms, but the largely Southern European locations and climate change aren’t collaborating with the show to make this a reality. Since Winter came at the end of season six, Game of Thrones turned to the usual tricks to threaten us with the Long Night: artificial snow and computer-generated snowy backgrounds, as well as, of course, filming in the beautiful locale of Iceland. Yet, even the glaciers have been diminished since the last time the show filmed there, and even with sufficient snow Iceland lacks any signs of a medieval civilization. Iceland is perfect for the Frostfangs beyond the Wall; for a city in the Seven Kingdoms, not so much. And so, for the eighth and final season, the show is looking for winter elsewhere.

Other Nordic countries were scouted in search of an urban setting in the midst of winter. Whether it is for White Harbor, King’s Landing, or perhaps both, we know they are looking at old towns and fortifications in Scandinavian countries: first they looked in Sweden, until they decided against it for tax reasons, at which point Norway became the prime contender. However, it’s worth noting we haven’t heard anything since November, and we have no idea which Norwegian locations were or are being considered.

Fortunately, if Norway ends up being a filming location, the list of candidates is slim. Unlike most of Europe, this country isn’t filled to the brim with Medieval architecture. The likeliest candidate may be the Akershus Fortress in Oslo, an easy wintry substitute for the walls of King’s Landing with the help of clever editing and VFX enhancements. Other locations could, if put together, make up the snowed-in streets of the capital, such as the Old Aker Church in Oslo, Jugendstilsenteret in Ålesund, Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, and St. Mary’s Church in Bergen. Yet, keep in mind this is all speculation!

Arya approaches Winterfell in Season 7 Episode 3, "The Queen's Justice"

Arya approaches Winterfell in Season 7 Episode 3, “The Queen’s Justice”

If there’s something we are absolutely sure of, however, it’s that the show will always return to its Belfast HQ. One can never know what’s going on inside Paint Hall Studio, but thankfully there are many other Game of Thrones sets all around Northern Ireland.

One such set stands in Moneyglass. Castle Ward stood for Winterfell at first, but for season two a courtyard and a few rooms were built instead of returning to the castle. For season five, the show was more ambitious, so the elaborate, geographically coherent Winterfell set that still stands today in Moneyglass was built. As we saw in many recent walk-and-talk scenes, this interconnection makes the castle feel truly real. But it isn’t! It’s a set and as such it needs frequent repairs and expansions, so construction work always takes place a few months before filming begins. This year was no different: about a week ago, pre-production began in Moneyglass, with the front wall being removed.

THE END OF THE GAME

706 - Beyond the Wall - Frozen Lake - Viserion 3

The White Walkers are at the Wall, and they have an undead dragon on their side. The Princes That Were Promised have come together in a political alliance and perhaps more. While the Starks and Targaryens intend to end the Long Night before it begins anew, for the time being the Lannister Queen stands alone. This is the endgame.

Before this season, many wondered how the story could end in thirteen episodes, but now it’s easy to picture the show coming to a close in seven more hours, or rather this week’s 80 minutes finale and, according to rumors, six similarly extra-long episodes. There aren’t any loose threads or side-plots left. We are heading straight to the finish line, so six to eight hours seems more than enough for a climax and a denouement.

Whether we are prepared or not, the showrunners have been for years: “So much of the endgame is stuff that we’ve been discussing for at least four or five years, if not longer. So a lot of the pieces have been put on the board years ago. You could go back to season two and some of these ideas started to come out” Weiss told TIME. “The actual endgame, the main climactic moments, we had in mind then. We had ninety percent of this crucial chunk of the story for the final season, and we were mainly talking to George [R.R. Martin] to see how our notion of where things ended up jibed with his notion.”

Most of that “talking” took place in 2013, when Benioff and Weiss got Martin’s road map for the ending. However, it was only a rough outline of the major story beats, as Martin is (in)famously a “gardener” who doesn’t plot everything out — “he discovers things by writing,” as Benioff put it. Understandably, that’s not a possibility for them as TV writers: “We have to be architects. Everything has to be planned out really far in advance.”

It’s time for these plans to come to fruition. Soon we will see “The Dragon and the Wolf,” which will not only end season seven but set up the eighth — the endgame. Get ready, knights of summer, because winter is upon us, and we know what’s coming with it!

706 - Beyond the Wall - Frozen Lake - Wight Viserion

75 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. The three best episodes in the series, Hardhome, BotB and Winds of Winter, were all directed by Sapochnik. If he doesn’t direct any episodes the last two seasons, it’s pretty safe to say there was a falling out between D&D and him. I’ll agree that Spoils of War was shot beautifully, it’s clearly the best action episode of Season 7. I hope that director gets at least one of the final episodes.

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    2. The fact they had 4 years to plan this ending and were still largely in contact with GRRM in the beginning of it gives me hope that the 8th season is going to bring back the seasons 1-4 atmosphere and will ultimately be loved the most, not just because it’s the ending but because I genuinely feel the old GoT feels will come full circle.

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    3. I can’t imagine they would want to be up against Sunday Night Football in the US, so I’m guessing 2019, as much as it pains me to say it.

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    4. Thank you to the Watchers site for posting all this great information – looking forward to all the filming news and endgame speculation.

      The three best episodes in the series, Hardhome, BotB and Winds of Winter, were all directed by Sapochnik. If he doesn’t direct any episodes the last two seasons, it’s pretty safe to say there was a falling out between D&D and him.

      Or maybe Sapochnik will be busy and can’t re-arrange his schedule, so he can’t do it? He has his own life and career, you know.

      My wish list of S8 directors (in no particular order):

      Miguel Sapochnik, Jack Bender, Michelle MacLaren, D & D, Alan Taylor and Alex Graves (with Neil Marshall as backup).

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    5. I get why D&D are writing the final 4 but I wish Cogman was writing more. His episodes have such good dialogue and book callbacks.

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    6. Now, let’s all endlessly theorize about whether one of these Castilian fortifications will turn out to be Storm’s End or White Harbor or Sunspear, only to be disappointed when it’s inevitably used to fill in for yet another corner of King’s Landing.

      I’m going to stick to my thoughts from that other thread that Urueña Castle could have been scouted for Last Hearth or Karhold (or an outside chance for Greywater Watch). The expectation is that they’ll be defending against the NK’s invasion from the north down and Last Hearth is first in line. The Umbers and Karstarks have played heavily in The North storylines and we were quickly introduced to their new Lord and Lady, respectively, so it makes sense to me that at least one of their Seats being shown as an initial defensive position.
      ———————–
      There’s going to be a lot of bitching when Cersei makes it through another season, which appears to be highly probable.

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    7. “Before this season, many wondered how the story could end in thirteen episodes, but now it’s easy to picture the show coming to a close in seven more hours — that is, this week’s 80 minutes finale and, according to rumors, six similarly extra-long episodes. There aren’t any loose threads or side-plots left. We are heading straight to the finish line, so six to eight hours seems more than enough for a climax and a denouement.”

      I agree! I am surprised too, but with the pace of this season, GOT appears to be on track to wrap up this version of the story with ample time. I am amazed!

      Thanks for the preview of the off-season to come! So glad you all are doing this to help us through the long wait.

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    8. I sincerely believe Sapochnik will be back for season 8 with a vengeance.

      I mean this is Thrones at the end of the day. If some of the predictions in my head come to fruition, it’ll be a very bloody and gruesome last few episodes. I reckon we’ll see major character deaths every episode starting from the premiere. And the battles ahead will be the most complex yet so they’ll need someone like Sapochnik to take the helm. A shame Shakman won’t return though.

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    9. stavross:
      I can’t imagine they would want to be up against Sunday Night Football in the US, so I’m guessing 2019, as much as it pains me to say it.

      That’s what I’ve been thinking. If you want all eyes on your program in it’s final season with diehards and casual viewers alike buzzing about it on social media when the episodes are airing, then the Fall lineup on Sunday nights is not ideal to say the least.

      Although, I certainly believe that they could have the episodes ready by Fall 2018 IF they wanted to.

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    10. Juri,

      Well, not exactly political intrigue, I am aware that’s not what the story requires now, but the overall feeling, with twists and shit.

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    11. Flora Linden:
      Or maybe Sapochnik will be busy and can’t re-arrange his schedule, so he can’t do it? He has his own life and career, you know.

      or maybe he’s demanding huge pay and hbo can’t agree?

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    12. I suggest the entire past & current Watchers on the Wall team is offered a guest role in Season 8 for all their fan service for the show!

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    13. stefan666:
      Juri,

      Well, not exactly political intrigue, I am aware that’s not what the story requires now, but the overall feeling, with twists and shit.

      There’s nothing wrong with wanting that, just like there’s nothing wrong with people wanting or expecting major, surprising deaths. The thing is that most of that stuff happened to set the table and take seats. We’re at the point now when they’re starting to serve the food and all that’s left is to eat. Sure, they can bring in a surprise dish, but the menu is mostly known.
      ————
      People and articles complaining recently about the lack of major deaths is getting thin for me. With only about two dozen main characters remaining they want a bunch killed off before the last season or the climax arrives. It would be pretty great to have just five characters left for the last few episodes. >.>

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    14. Clob,

      It irritates me. As George has pointed out, there are something like 20 characters the show has killed off who are alive in the books. You don’t need to keep killing off people to tell a good story. People are invested in the characters as well as the story and who wants endless death and misery and the destruction of hope? I don’t. I don’t mind characters dying where necessary but just wiping out house after house? No sorry, the more characters surviving, the more material the story has to play with.

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    15. I kinda wish Mark Gatiss had written a GoT ep along the way.

      I may be the only one but I am glad to hear of the delay. Take the time to finish properly. Patience is such a wonderful talent.

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    16. but it’s nice to know we’ll see more of Gatiss as a greasy sociopath.

      Tut, tut: he is just playing a banker.

      Oh, wait, OK: you were paraphrasing. Carry on!

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    17. Dyanna: As George has pointed out, there are something like 20 characters the show has killed off who are alive in the books. You don’t need to keep killing off people to tell a good story. People are invested in the characters as well as the story and who wants endless death and misery and the destruction of hope?

      The stories are carried by 5 or 6 primary protagonists, plus 3-4 minor protagonists. None of them have been killed: all of the characters killed so far have been secondary, tertiary or “lower” characters. If the show took time to try to turn all of those characters into protagonists, then the story(ies) would be completely lost in the telling.

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    18. Flora Linden: My wish list of S8 directors (in no particular order):
      Miguel Sapochnik, Jack Bender, Michelle MacLaren, D & D, Alan Taylor and Alex Graves (with Neil Marshall as backup).

      I agree with your excellent choices, but would take out D&D and put Neil Marshall in the lineup or Matt Shakeman.

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    19. I know that his work has been divisive on the show but I wouldn’t mind having Mylod direct a few episodes in season 8, I thought he did a great job in the sea battle in episode 2, I was on the edge of my seat during that whole battle. Sometimes a director can only be as good as the script they were handed, but with that being said I like the way that he works the camera, the camera work during that waif chase was brilliant and when Arya blew out the candle at the last minute was amazing how they were able to build up the suspense and anticipation.

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    20. D&D should hire as many season 4 directors as possible to direct the season 8 episodes!!!!!!!!

      Alex Graves

      Alik Sakhorov

      Neil Marshall

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    21. Edward:
      cuddlycrow,

      Shakman revealed that he won’t be back. Unless you’re just making a wish based upon who you’d “want” to see.

      I wasn’t aware that he wouldn’t be back, but it is a wish too. However, they have quite a few directors to choose from and hope they make some of those choices mentioned.

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    22. Dyanna:
      Clob,

      It irritates me. As George has pointed out, there are something like 20 characters the show has killed off who are alive in the books. You don’t need to keep killing off people to tell a good story. People are invested in the characters as well as the story and who wants endless death and misery and the destruction of hope? I don’t. I don’t mind characters dying where necessary but just wiping out house after house? No sorry, the more characters surviving, the more material the story has to play with.

      I agree with you. I also do not think that Jon and Dany need to die because the ending is suppose to be bittersweet. GRRM liked JRR’s bittersweet ending which did not have a host of main characters dying. However, they were so changed by the experience that they could never go back to the life they knew or desired. It’s unfortunate that people are disappointed that more characters haven’t died this season. Season 7 seems more of a setup for Season 8.

      You make a good point that many of the characters that have died are still alive in the books. It seems the secondary characters on the show are taking some their storyline. GoT is full of twists and that doesn’t always having to include a character dying.

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    23. Things could get complicated for Tycho Nestoris , he may be asked to support Dany tho not against the crown.
      Keep wondering if Essos will play role in the war against the dark, the red god is interested.

      Also will Tycho Nestoris’s name be mentioned in S8?!

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    24. Jack Bauer 24,

      A badly coreographed fight scene two seasons ago doesn’t change the fact he’s a wonderful director.

      firstone,

      So few people mention Alik Sakhorov. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who loved his episodes. It’s so obvious he was a cinematographer first, he takes great care in the look of his episodes. All his shots look like beautiful paintings 🙂

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    25. Juri,

      The war against the NK could be easily done by the end of the second episode (it simply needs one dragonglass arrow in the NK’s heart…), and the last remaining 4 episodes could then be focused on the game of thrones, the true one!

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    26. Boojam,

      not a big surprised… If Sansa does not survive the finale of season 8 then I’ll be surprised. She is going to be the only Stark in WF by the end of the season, while she was the only one who wanted to leave in season 1 episode 1.

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    27. firstone:
      D&D should hire as many season 4 directors as possible to direct the season 8 episodes!!!!!!!!

      Alex Graves

      Alik Sakhorov

      Neil Marshall

      Luka Nieto:
      Jack Bauer 24,

      A badly coreographed fight scene two seasons ago doesn’t change the fact he’s a wonderful director.

      firstone,

      So few people mention Alik Sakhorov. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who loved his episodes. It’s so obvious he was a cinematographer first, he takes great care in the look of his episodes. All his shots look like beautiful paintings 🙂

      Yes yes yes!!! Sakhorov’s cinematography, particularly on Rome and Game of Thrones, is wonderful, and I believe he directed episodes of Black Sails, Rome and Boardwalk Empire as well. Really like him.

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    28. The Het,

      It could never be like seasons 1-4 again. The stakes are completely different now and there are fewer stakeholders. My guess is 4 episodes for the Great War and the last two for the aftermath… But no, no more “game of thrones” as before.

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    29. Juri,

      I am very interested to see exactly what they do. This is not the Lord of the Rings where simply defeating the Night’s King is the ultimate endgame. You still have to deal with the machinations of the Seven Kingdoms themselves. I’m very curious what will come first or if part of the bittersweet ending is that none of it will matter because the night King is just so powerful and defeating him is all that will matter.

      As long as the scripts are good and the pacing of the story is good it does not matter who directs these episodes. Every director that they hire is a consummate professional who has years of expertise under their belts. Yes they each have their own style but let’s get real people.

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    30. Ser Broccoli McBroccoliface,

      I agree to an extent. I’m expecting the Great War to have a heavy toll on Westeros. I’m sure S08E06 won’t end with the NK being defeated. On that much, we agree… However, I don’t expect the political machinations to be exactly the same as they were back in Season 1. The negotiations among the survivors will necessarily have to be different.

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    31. Juri:
      Ser Broccoli McBroccoliface,

      I agree to an extent. I’m expecting the Great War to have a heavy toll on Westeros. I’m sure S08E06 won’t end with the NK being defeated. On that much, we agree… However, I don’t expect the political machinations to be exactly the same as they were back in Season 1. The negotiations among the survivors will necessarily have to be different.

      Oh I agree completely that things are nowhere close to what they were in season 1 and won’t be if they are able to defeat the night King. Anyone who suggests otherwise is not paying attention.

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    32. Count me among those who would love to see Alik Sakharov return to direct an episode in the final season. His background as an accomplished cinematographer always shone through in his work. His episodes contain some of the most beautiful images of the entire series. Theon burning Robb’s letter in “What is Dead May Never Die”. Jon and Ygritte kissing atop the Wall in “The Climb”. Tyrion staring down Tywin in “The Laws of Gods and Men”. Sansa seeing the snow and building the castle in “Mockingbird”. He’s done some great work on Black Sails as well. I don’t think his return is likely, but I’d love to see it.

      I’d like Miguel Sapochnik to direct two episodes in the final season (any more than that is probably asking too much, especially if the episodes are going to be bordering on feature-length). But I think he’s the only one that I want doing more than one episode. That’s not because the others can’t handle it, but because I want the show to have the opportunity to bring back as many talented directors from its deep roster as possible. There are so many that I would love to see have an opportunity to make one more contribution to Game of Thrones before saying goodbye.

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    33. I hope Dave Hill gets some notes about not having characters say contradictory things in the same scene before he finished his script. Awful.

      Otherwise so stoked. I think they are right to keep Cersei going, whether or not it’s true to books, you need that human monster (like Tyrion said) as a ballast for the good vs evil incarnate plot.

      I have end game theories about Euron that I hope will come to fruition.

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    34. Thanks for the update on Season 8! Awesome! 🙂 I am looking forward to the conclusion of the series.
      The writer line-up doesn’t surprise me that much. Seasons 7 and 8 have the feel of a single season split in half for logistics. Therefore, 8.01 would not be a season opener so much as the middle of a season, in my opinion.

      Clob: There’s going to be a lot of bitching when Cersei makes it through another season, which appears to be highly probable.

      I won’t bitch, I promise. I have resigned myself to Cersei lasting to the series finale. I haven’t enjoyed KL scenes for a few seasons now (with exceptions – like 6.10), I am just eager to see the conclusion of the series, after which I won’t have to see Cersei again! 😀

      What irritates me much more are the endless speculations (which will surely increase in momentum) about Daenerys and/or Jon dying, Daenerys dying in childbirth (a favorite of a ton of viewers), Daenerys killed by Jon when he has to forge his super-special Nissa Nissa sword by stabbing her heart, etc. I hope the show surprises the heck out of viewers and has both of them living a quiet life together somewhere, happy and at peace.

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    35. What do you guys think about the Norway locations, judging by the linked photos? Personally I think the churches would seem out of place in Westeros. However, I’d be pleasantly surprised to see something like the Akershus Fortress next season. A similar location that wasn’t mentioned is Håkonshallen and the Rosenkrantz Tower, pictured here and here. There aren’t many buildings like these in Norway, so it’s not much to work with but I’d love to see it still.

      Another reason I’d like to see Scandinavian locations rather than southern Europe is that there would be real snow and real cold. That would obviously add to the realism, not just visually but the actors would show it.

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    36. Palla: What do you guys think about the Norway locations, judging by the linked photos? Personally I think the churches would seem out of place in Westeros.

      They’ve often used churches. The camera is merely limited to certain parts.

      Oh, and I loved this location you mentioned. It passed me by somehow.

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    37. Dyanna,

      And just how much time is supposed to be devoted to these characters and their stories that you’re worried about? You are aware there is an extremely finite amount of time to tell the end of this story? Which is exactly where we are, right? It’s. The. End.

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    38. Palla: What do you guys think about the Norway locations

      As long as Norway keeps coming up in filming possibilities I’m going to keep hoping for a use of Preikestolen.

      People will say it’s not ‘bitter’ enough and/or the dragons won’t live, but I’d be pleased with a final series shot of Daenerys on Drogon and Jon on Rhaegal perched side by side on top of that cliff surveying their land finally at peace.

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    39. Ser Broccoli McBroccoliface: This is not the Lord of the Rings where simply defeating the Night’s King is the ultimate endgame.

      I think that it will be more than even that. I suspect that we will learn that “why” of the White Walkers: and once we do, then it’s not going to be a simple “they all must die!” scenario. Humans will be shown to be in the wrong in some way. After all, in most conflicts (but not all, Donald!), both sides are in the wrong to some extent.

      cuddly crow: I also do not think that Jon and Dany need to die because the ending is suppose to be bittersweet. GRRM liked JRR’s bittersweet ending which did not have a host of main characters dying.

      We also have the prologue as foreshadowing. Robert won the war and the throne: and was a miserable drunk the rest of his life. Ned won the war and became essentially a duke: but he clearly carried some major emotional burdens afterwards. Look for the bittersweet to be of that nature: Jon, Daenerys, et al. will win, and they will get the “prizes”: but the cost to themselves will be quite high.

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    40. My hopes is that Miquel Sapochnik directs several episodes. He is truly a master and delivered the best episodes in the series , IMHO.
      However, just as important is the writing which I hope will be the best it has ever been. I also hope that the number of ridiculousness scenes such as giant chains appearing out of nowhere is reduced.

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    41. Luka Nieto,

      I fully agree – apart from the fight scene Podeswa was creating excellent episodes so far which are usually a little quieter and do not have much action scenes. That might be a hint of what to expect for the season finale as well and I think this quietness (and Sansa’s rape scene which was not his writing) are the reasons people dislike him. You cannot have all action scenes or you might as well want to go back to generic Hollywood blockbusters (zero meaning and all action). Podeswa visually picks up the mood of these quiet episodes excellently. Just think of the Godswood wedding scene – absolutely beautiful (although what came afterward plotwise obviously was not!).

      Because of that I would very much hope we have at least one Podeswa episode next season – maybe even the finale in case it is the bittersweet ending after the fights have been fought and (a dream of) spring is there….

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    42. Kay:
      Thanks for the update on Season 8! Awesome! 🙂 I am looking forward to the conclusion of the series.
      The writer line-up doesn’t surprise me that much. Seasons 7 and 8 have the feel of a single season split in half for logistics. Therefore, 8.01 would not be a season opener so much as the middle of a season, in my opinion.

      I won’t bitch, I promise. I have resigned myself to Cersei lasting to the series finale. I haven’t enjoyed KL scenes for a few seasons now (with exceptions – like 6.10), I am just eager to see the conclusion of the series, after which I won’t have to see Cersei again! 😀

      What irritates me much more are the endless speculations (which will surely increase in momentum) about Daenerys and/or Jon dying, Daenerys dying in childbirth (a favorite of a ton of viewers), Daenerys killed by Jon when he has to forge his super-special Nissa Nissa sword by stabbing her heart, etc. I hope the show surprises the heck out of viewers and has both of them living a quiet life together somewhere, happy and at peace.

      I agree. Another one I have heard is Jon dying, then Dany giving birth to his son. That is such a fantasy troupe I doubt GRRM would go there.

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    43. Northstar,

      Though I understand why that’s a theory as Jon does have the tragic hero trope to a T. The only thing that could kind of offset it is the fact they are making his heritage a big but slow reveal.

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    44. stefan666,

      I read somewhere earlier this season that the penultimate season of most shows are terrible. Season 7 has been far from terrible, but I have experienced 1) a loss of worry over important main characters dying, 2) some mild malaise about the hyper-speed traveling and last episode’s premise and double deus-ex-machina (I don’t know how to make that plural). In the end, it has been a solid (if short) season so far.

      However, I agree that it has lost some of the elements that make this show so special. I hope we will see it come back with a vengeance next year.

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    45. Dyanna,

      I think I understand where you are coming from, but I disagree to a certain extent. GOT was built on shocking twists where people that we care about die in horrible ways. The most shocking/exciting deaths were Ned, Cat, Robb and co., Joff and Ramsay, Ygritte, Khal Drogo, and the crew in the Sept of Baylor. I’m sure there were others. But I saw the clip from “Baylor” today and was really moved watching Ned try to protect both of his daughters, first in his false confession, and then in calling attention to Arya so that she wouldn’t see it and be protected. That is the sort of thing I want to revisit. Difficult deaths highlighting love between people. It’s just good drama. The next best thing is watching your (perceived) enemies go down.

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    46. Kay,

      This theory about Dany possibly dying in childbirth is the lamest theory i’ve ever hear in my life. How would dany survive the biggest enemies on earth to die in a simple childbirth? No way!! It would be the most stupid thing ever. Also the Nissa Nissa theory is the other stupid one. I hope D and D know those are very bad theories and wouldn’t go there!

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    47. Clob: As long as Norway keeps coming up in filming possibilities I’m going to keep hoping for a use of Preikestolen.

      People will say it’s not ‘bitter’ enough and/or the dragons won’t live, but I’d be pleased with a final series shot of Daenerys on Drogon and Jon on Rhaegal perched side by side on top of that cliff surveying their land finally at peace.

      Beautiful. But Honestly..my theory for the bitter part of is that Dany will in lose all her dragons..including drogon, but will have her children with Jon and both will be Queen and King in the throne at the end. They will bring peace together after the big war is ended. This will be the sweet part.

        Quote  Reply

    48. Lowlodger,

      Vyborg, or Viipuri as we call it, used to be part of Finland. 🙁
      As far as I know, GoT hasn’t scouted locations in Finland (maybe it’s to do with logistics, tax breaks, labour costs, whatever) but take a look at Olavinlinna (St. Olaf’s Castle) in the town Savonlinna in eastern Finland.

      http://www.vastavalo.net/olavinlinna-olavinlinna-olavinlinna-talviasussa-2-387234.html

      http://www.vastavalo.net/olavinlinna-olavinlinna-cold-olavinlinna-talvisessa-maisemaidyllissa-583996.html

      They have almost guaranteed snow every winter from early December, and the castle with its round towers is almost a dead ringer for Winterfell, lol… or with its location on an island in a narrow strait between lakes makes it very like Riverrun!

      Every summer they stage a big opera festival at that castle, the acoustics in the courtyard are apparently amazing.

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    49. Given we are have at least another year until the final six episodes any chance we could have an article speculating or theorising how we think the remaining parts of the story will play out? Who dies, who takes the throne, how the white walkers are defeated etc.

      It would be a great read with plenty of comments I’m sure but we need to do it before the leaks inevitably come out.

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    50. Agree, and I really don’t feel they want to wait unless they have a very good reason for doing so. I’ll predict it will air September/October 2018.

        Quote  Reply

    51. Spatchcock HAS to come back for at least the final two episodes.
      All of this episodes have been the best of the series.

      Glad the Cog-Man is getting rewarded with an episode, his are always the most rich and detailed episodes, as he is the Westeros encyclopedia.

        Quote  Reply

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