The end of any series of Game of Thrones brings with it the inevitable cocktail of pleasure and pain for the shows legions of fans. On on one hand, each seasons closing episodes always deliver the spectacular battle sequence that the viewers have now become accustomed to. On the other, the long wait for the next lot of episodes immediately kicks off. Well, HBO have now finally gone and clarified roughly how long audiences will have to wait until the shows final landmark season.
When Season 7 wrapped up back in August, it did so with an even bigger bang than usual. Conscious of the ever-decreasing time frame they have remaining to tie up all of the storylines meandering loose ends, that infamous final episode saw the show-runners unleash a dazzling number of big narrative reveals.
Over at Kings Landing, the usual level of Lannister intrigue and incest finally got to Jamie, pushing him into the arms of Cerseis enemies. By comparison, up at Winterfell, the Stark girls had become just as politically savvy as their opponents, cleaning house in gruesome fashion. John and Danis inter-familial relations proved a huge shock, but not as huge as the army of White Walkers and Wights that subsequently used her dead dragon to bust through the Great Wall in order to gain access to Westeros.
Unfortunately for the fans, the length of time that they will now have to endure until Series 8 is equally comparable with the level of shock and awe of that closing episode. HBO have this week revealed that production on the show has been extended, with the release date pushed back into 2019. And whilst this wasn’t remotely unexpected, its still highly disappointing.
There are a number of big reasons why the Network have come to this decision. Aside from the fact it gives the writers and directors more time to tinker with and perfect the reduced number of episodes they have to work with, it also gives HBO’s
media department time to really crank up the accompanying awards campaign. The move also nicely slots into place alongside the company’s other big success story, Westworld, which has spent the last year in production ready for a Summer 2018 release for its second season.
Its unlikely that this year will be a particularly quiet one for fans of the franchise though. Back in September it was confirmed that there are currently five prequel shows in development at the moment. There have also been a lot of hints from George RR Martin that his sixth novel (The Winds Of Winter) will also finally be released, bringing with it a completely different storyline for fans to dive into.
Whilst the exact date in 2019 has yet to be finalised, its odds-on that the closing six episodes of the story will run from late Spring into the height of Summer, much like the majority of the previous seasons. Even though security around the production is unprecedented, we will still undoubtedly be exposed to the customary leakage of details from the shows actors in their interviews and ad campaigns for their other projects, only adding to the pain of the wait.