“Game of Thrones” fans still have months to wait until the hit HBO series returns for its eighth and final season, but they now know what month to look forward to.
HBO recently announced that the series will be returning in April 2019, though no official date is known.
Since the series last aired in August 2017, very little information has been revealed about what fans can expect.
Fans know there will be six episodes, but the only glimpse from the actual eighth season so far has been a three-second clip showing Sansa and Jon hugging. Despite the dearth of knowledge, there are a few notes to rely on.
Here’s what we know about the eighth season so far.
The only new footage released for the final season so far shows Jon and Sansa hugging at Winterfell.
In a video preview of shows airing on HBO in 2019, the network included a three-second clip of Jon and Sansa reuniting at the Stark family home. The hug was more solemn than their reunion at Castle Black.
Jon, Daenerys, and her army will arrive at Winterfell during the premiere.
Jon and Sansa’s hug will take place during the premiere when Jon returns home, according to Entertainment Weekly. EW also confirmed that Sansa’s serious reaction is due to her disapproval of Jon teaming with Daenerys and bringing her army to Winterfell.
Actress Hannah Murray, who plays Gilly, told INSIDER that she “got to work with some people I hadn’t had the chance to work with before” while filming season eight. Considering she and Sam arrived at the Stark home at the end of the seventh season, it stands to reason that Gilly will meet Daenerys and the surviving Stark family members.
Ghost is back after being absent during all of season seven.
Visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer told HuffPost that Jon’s direwolf will get more screen time.
“Oh, you’ll see him again,” Bauer said. “He has a fair amount of screen time in season eight. He does show up.”
Arya’s wolf Nymeria briefly appeared on season seven, so with Ghost returning, it’s also possible to see her come back.
The Starks have a special mystical connection to the direwolves in George R.R. Martin’s books, so there’s a chance it will be explored on-screen for the final season.
Season eight will feature the biggest battle ever shot for the series, and it will take place at Winterfell.
Entertainment Weekly reported that the cast and crew filmed for 55 consecutive nights outside and in a studio for weeks afterwards for the show’s biggest battle.
Co-showrunner David Benioff told EW, “Part of our challenge, and really, Miguel’s [Sapochnik, the episode director] challenge, is how to keep that compelling… we’ve been building toward this since the very beginning, it’s the living against the dead, and you can’t do that in a 12-minute sequence.”
The battle will take place in and around Winterfell and will pit the living against the army of the dead.
For comparison, season six’s Battle of the Bastards took 25 days to film.
Beric and Tormund may be alive.
When the Wall came down at the end of the seventh season, Beric and Tormund’s fate was left hanging in the balance. But upon closer inspection, it looks like Beric and Tormund could’ve run to safety on the part of the Wall that stayed standing.
Additionally, HBO submitted the finale episode for consideration in the 2018 Emmys, so the full script was available to read online. Though there is no confirmation on Beric and Tormund surviving, one key part from the script describes them running.
“Tormund and Beric lead their wildling comrades to the stairs carved in the ice – Eastwatch has a massive zig-zag stairway, not an elevator like Castle Black,” it reads. “They run for their lives and disappear from view.”
Surprise characters will return for the finale.
James Hibberd from Entertainment Weekly was on the set of the finale and wrote that he saw “characters in the finale that I did not expect.”
INSIDER’s “Game of Thrones” analyst Kim Renfro tweeted some thoughts on who could make a return.
“If we’re going way out on limbs, people like Jaqen H’ghar, Daario, and Archmaester Ebrose are possible candidates,” she wrote.
New characters will be introduced.
According to fan site Watchers on the Wall, actor Marc Rissmann (“The Last Kingdom”) was cast as Harry Strickland, leader of the Golden Company. The site reported that his agency and Spotlight CV confirmed the news, though the credits have since been removed. The casting would make sense. Euron Greyjoy was sent to gather the Golden Company for Cersei during the seventh season.
Watchers on the Wall also reported that a Northern girl and a boy aged 8-12 were being cast in September 2017.
Mashable also reported that actress Danielle Galligan was reportedly cast as “Sarra” on “Game of Thrones.” The site captured the credit in a screenshot before it was removed. The role could reference Sarra Frey, one of the granddaughters of Walder Frey, who was offered to Robb as a marriage option.
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