Liam Cunningham clears up why Game of Thrones Season 8 episodes will be longer

707 - King's Landing Dragonpit - Davos 2

If we know something about Game of Thrones season eight, it’s that it will be six episodes long. We do know some other tidbits, but it’s not much. There has been much speculation about the length of these episodes, based on many factors, but nothing has been made clear yet. Thankfully, Liam Cunningham, who plays Davos Seaworth, was happy to provide another piece of the puzzle. Read below the cut as we try to solve it!

Speaking to TV Guide, Cunningham commented on why he believes the average season eight episode will indeed be longer, as it’s been previously reported:

“[The episodes are] definitely going to be bigger and what I hear is longer. We’re filming right up until the summer. When you think about it, up until last season we’d have six months to do ten episodes, so we’re [doing] way more than that for six episodes. So that obviously will translate into longer episodes,” said Cunningham, before pointing out the running times are not “set in stone” until the episodes are filmed and edited.

Of course, there are other factors that may explain this new filming schedule. As we just reported, Iain Glen had an alternative explanation: since most characters occupy the same storyline now, they can only have one unit filming at once instead of two or three.

Cunningham’s interpretation doesn’t mean Glen’s is wrong, and vice versa. In fact, they may compliment each other. A jump from six to ten months of shooting is astounding, almost unthinkable, especially considering they are only producing six episodes. With only one filming unit, one would think HBO would be able to produce about half the amount of footage, yet season eight will have four fewer episodes than usual. While season seven had a more traditional filming schedule and only seven episodes, the average episode jumped from 55 to 62 minutes — so the proportionally longer filming schedule allowed both for larger set pieces and a slightly padded running time.

If I’m piecing this puzzle together correctly, I’d say for next season we can expect a similar jump to the one we experienced in season seven: episodes that are not only more “monumental”, as John Bradley put it, but also longer than we are used to.

Incidentally, Cunningham told TV Guide that the script read-through with all the cast in Belfast will take place this Sunday, October 8, a day earlier than the date Iain Glen gave at a convention a few weeks ago. Since this information is newer, it may be safe to assume Cunningham is correct and the read-through has been bumped up a day.


  1. The final script read through 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽😭😭😭
    I’m equal parts excited and sad.

  2. sooooooooooooooooo faaaaaaaaaaar awaaaaaaaaaay

    I have been quite detached from GOT since the finale… which is usually the case during the offseason… I check in from time to time

    But this morning as I drove to work listening to sports radio.. the two guys were chatting, one guy watches GOT the other doesn’t. They were talking about winter coming in reality and the guy who watches GOT made a GOT winter is coming Jon Snow reference. The other guy who doesn’t watch GOT responds with “The King in the North”

    So the other guy tells him, “you got it!!! You really should watch it.”
    Other guy says he will!

    Im thinking, he knows a major spoiler LOL

    Anyway, long story short their GOT references made my heart flutter! 🙂

  3. Good luck to all the people who are staking out the airport to bring us photos of cast members and thank you 😙

  4. ramses:
    The final script read through 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽😭😭😭
    I’m equal parts excited and sad.

    I’m scared that the Russian troll farm will find a way to eavesdrop on the script read-through and give S8 scripts to Wikileaks.

  5. mau,

    I don’t want a full script leak – YET, but I wouldn’t mind some pieces. Like they could leak a random scene or just line or two or anythinkg. I loved the In Production trailer last year, it would besuch a fun to get something similar…

  6. I stay with my prediction the first 4 episodes between 60 and 80 minutes. Episode 5 90/100 minutes and the final 120 minutes. With an average count of ca 460/500 minutes total. Lots of things need to happening. Can’t wait.

    And an small article about a comment of GRRM about a Danereys past theory:

    I saw it on facebook what do you guys think?

  7. It is important to note that an episode becomes significantly more expensive to produce if it goes beyond 90 minutes in length. The cast members are paid on a per-episode basis, but an episode is defined to be 1 hour in length.

    Among the leaked documents from the last batch of HBO hacks late in August 2017 (which went around the internet) were contract amendments for several members of the main cast, in which it was revealed that
    in the case of an extended episode, the actor’s “compensation shall be increased, and the additional length applied against [the actor’s] episodic guarantee on a pro-rata basis … provided further that the additional length is at least thirty (30) minutes (i.e.,the extended episode must be at least ninety (90) minutes long) with compensation increased and length applied pro-rata for every additional thirty (30) minute increase in length.”
  8. I’m beginning to think HBO might consider releasing each Season 8 episode in the theaters. Wouldn’t you love to see GoT on the Big Screen?

  9. Are Iain and Liam involved in some kind of fake news war? 🙂

    Dee Stark,

    It’s getting quite difficult these days to entirely distance yourself from GOT. The other day I’d put on a piano music stream to stay focused on work, and suddenly I was distracted by this all too familiar tune:


    I wonder whether I’ll be able to resist spoilers this time

    I have proudly been doing so ever since season 2! Unfortunately, this means that my self-inflicted ban from WOTW is soon to begin again, and it’ll be an extra long one this final time around…

  10. zandru,

    They won’t do that. This idea was formally from GRRM to finished with a big movie. Hbo or D&D reacted to that, they said they started with the television medium and they will end with that medium. No movie.

    And a second reason why they wouldn’t make a movie is, that 60/90 minutes is very short for a movie. And people won’t pay for 6 small movies. This only works of they make it 3 movies about 120/150 minutes each. But then they must change the pacing and changing scenes to make every movie stand out.

    What can happen is that there will be one big screen watching per episode at some theaters at the same time as it is shown on television. They did that here with 7×01 this year and it was free (only need to pay for food etc)

  11. Kevin1989,

    I strongly doubt it, because it would be a bit cheap. One lemon tree in the book isn’t much foreshadowing, and there has been nothing in the series to support that.

    More to the point: Daenerys is known to have been born on Dragonstone, Jon was born in the tower of joy. Her mother Rhaella died during childbirth (why would she die pretending to give birth to her son’s daughter who was smuggled there from far away in Littlefinger’s jetpack). Maybe she has childhood memories of another place than Braavos, and maybe it has some relevance in the books, but it doesn’t have to point to Dorne, and I think it certainly doesn’t point to her being the daughter of another woman.

    I think the Skywalker thing is more related to Jon finding out that his father isn’t his father, but that the supposed leader of the enemy was his father instead.

  12. fdr,

    True, but still GRRM is very clear that the past of Deanerys is important for the plot of the books and that we don’t know everything about her. It wasn’t a question to him about Jon but about Deanerys past. He answered in a mysterious way back with a small hint that we don’t know everything about her past. So what about her past (the red door and lemon tree) is so important for her character that he will not give a straight answer and why the mystery in the books about her memories. The only reason I can think of why she has those memories is: she’s been lied to about her past. And then you can asked: why did she been lied to about her past. The only place in westeros where lemons grow is dorne. In essos we know there can’t grow one in braavos. So what’s so important about the real truth about her past that GRRM delayed the revelation until one of the last 2 books. Is it something boring as in: they just lied about the place nothing special. Or is it because there’s something else going on about it.

    I’m not saying she’s the daughter of r and l but there’s something else going on here. Probably not in the show but it will be in the books.

    And maybe this revelation is the other big thing that grrm told d and d. Remember 3 big things he revealed about the endgame.

  13. Kevin1989,

    > It wasn’t a question to him about Jon

    My second part was a comment to the question that Alfie Allen asked to GRRM on the page you linked (a question about Jon’s parents according to that page). The page uses his answer to this question as additional evidence for Daenerys being his sister (hinting at Luke and Leia, but I think it refers to Luke and Vader instead). Of course, the first question on that page was not about Jon, if you are referring to that one instead.

    For sure, it may well be Daenerys has been lied to about her past, but mentioning one tree in the books is not much to base a twist upon (e.g. maybe it was Volantis instead of Braavos). The twists of Hodor and Shireen didn’t appear out of nowhere. And maybe the Starks will become a nice family-in-law to Daenerys who grew up without a family (except for those few years with the door and the tree) but I don’t think this is a twist, more a resolution.

  14. fdr,

    About the tree: even grrm stated that the person found something but that he wasn’t going to tell what it was. We will need to wait till the next book or maybe series last season. I’m just wondering what really happened in the past with dany and what it means. And why they lied to her.

  15. Kevin1989,

    You should be right. IMO, the biggest twist in will be that neither of the three main protagonists are who they think to be. Jon has alreadey been revealed to be a true born Targarian. Regarding Tyrion there are some hints that Tywin minght not be his father, and the bookst hint that he might be a bastard son of the Mad King. Therefore, there should be some mystery in case of Dany too. For instance, we may find out that she was Rhaella’s, but not Mad King’s daugter or whaterver. But I don’t think she will be Rhaegar’s and Lyanna’s daugter: if Lyanna had twins, Ned would said that he fathered bastard twins and brought them home together. And we saw only one child in the ToJ afrer all.

  16. fdr,

    Interesting! This reminds me of Dany’s dream where she sees herself running towards a closed door but we never actually see whats behind that door. Typically, closed doors in fiction represent suppressed memories. So there could be something major about Dany’s background that we don’t know. Illyrio’s way of describing Dany in book 1 was a bit strange too. It almost felt like he was convincing himself that she was of Valyrian blood. I think a cool twist would be if she turns out to not be a Targaryen after all but something completely different altogether.

  17. I’m not sure how Liam Cunningham’s statements clear up anything about why the episodes are longer. He basically says ‘I hear they’re doing longer episodes and we are filming for much longer, so it makes sense the episodes are longer.’ But that doesn’t clear up anything about why HBO decided to do longer episodes. Very misleading title. Should have been “Liam Cunningham confirms that Game of Thrones Season 8 episodes will be longer.”

  18. I’m not sure there’s any point in revealing Dany to be the daughter of Rhaegar and Lyanna since it wouldn’t change the plot as it stands in any significant way. We’d still have the same personal challenge for both central characters – there’s nothing more you can ring out of them being siblings. Politically, Dany would still have found her claim to the throne is behind that of Jon’s.

    I guess, her being related to the Starks makes things interesting, but not that much.

    Nope, I think you’re looking for revelations where there aren’t any.

  19. Oh it’s silly to think Danearys isn’t Targaryen, like maybe a Stark. The dragons are with her because she’s the chosen Targaryen. She may not end up as related to Jon, which would be a great ending for them.

  20. So what we know so far:
    – Read through of scripts start today, nobody has stated scripts were sent in advance like previous years.
    – Filming will run from October 2017 to June 2018.
    – S8 will air in the second half of 2018 or at the start of 2019.
    – Post filming production for previous seasons has taken 3-4 months so likely October next year at the earliest before we see it on TV.
    – The Directors are Alan Taylor, Miguel Sapochnek and D&D for the finale.
    – Episodes are likely to be longer than prior seasons.

    I hope this doesn’t count as spoilers for anyone, I’ll use code for anything plot related but I am trying to avoid that aspect.

  21. Jon Snowed,

    And in between, production is closing down for a couple of days whilst Kit and Rose get married to enable the whole cast etc to attend

  22. Dee Stark,
    Tar Kidho,

    It might have been easier for me to distance myself from GoT were Saner Half not a football fan (American football, that is). Many of the sports teams’ bands, both professional and college, have been playing GoT music during games. I just about died laughing yesterday when I heard The Rains of Castamere being played by a winning team’s band to taunt the other team!

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