Winter Has Come

Season 8, the final season of Game of Thrones, is just around the corner. So far we've gotten a couple of short teaser trailers that gives us a glimpse into it, but nothing seems predictable at this point. The show is infamous for suddenly and brutally killing off characters, even the supposedly “main” ones that all fans root for. It feels like nobody is safe here, and there’s a high chance that its finale will elevate that feeling to a whole new level. Also, a war is coming, with the rivalries between all the big houses of Westeros that span across all 7 seasons finally coming to a climax. That’s not to mention the White Walkers, who have crossed the Wall with a legion of undead and a dragon with the intention of slaughtering every living being.  Yeah, there's a lot going on.

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As is natural for shows as huge as this, the producers have been adamant about secrets from leaking out, although their efforts have not always been successful (such as when an entire episode of season 7 got out early). The entire plot has been buttoned up pretty tight even during the filming of season 8, but we do know a couple of details here and there about what we can expect. Furthermore, dedicated fans have analyzed basically every frame of every episode thoroughly and poured over every word of the source novel by George R.R. Martin to come up with many theories.

So, here is everything we know for certain about the final season of Game of Thrones Season 8 up to this point:

The Release Date

The first episode of Game of Thrones season 8 will go on air on April 14 this year, as confirmed by a teaser that was released just a couple of weeks ago. You can watch it below:

It Is Going To Have Fewer Episodes

Unlike the previous seasons which had 10 episodes each (with the exception of season 7), Season 8 is only going to have 6. However, each episode will last roughly an hour, which actually means its overall length is comparable to, if not longer than, other seasons.

Some Of The Best Directors Are Coming Back

We know for a fact that the work of directing the last 6 episodes is divided between showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, as well as directors Miguel Sapochnik and David Nutter. And that’s some very good news. We all know Benioff and Weiss are the reasons Game of Thrones could come to the small screen in the first place, but both Nutter and Sapochnik have also participated in bringing some of the most memorable moments of the books to life. Sapochnik directed episodes like Hardhome and Battle of the Bastards, and apparently he’s in charge of a massive battle scene in the upcoming season as well. Nutter, meanwhile, has some intense episodes in his record too, most notably The Rains of Castamere, when the Red Wedding took place. He's the man behind 3 of the final 6 episodes.

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A scene from season 5 episode 8 "Hardhome"

Season 8 Will Recall Season 1

According to a cover story from Entertainment Weekly last November, the opening of Season 8 is going to be reminiscent of Season 1. Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke) is bringing her force to Winterfell to prepare to face the White Walkers alongside Jon Snow (Kit Harrington). This recalls the very first episode of Game of Thrones, when King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) came to Winterfell to meet Eddard Stark (Sean Bean). Little did they know, this will set in motion a series of disastrous events for the entire Westeros.

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Robert Baratheon meeting Eddard Stark

An Epic Showdown Between The Starks And The Lannisters Is Coming

The harshest winter in generations is here, the North is united against the threat of the White Walkers, yet still political conflicts rage on. The show is called “Game of Thrones” after all, so naturally we will see alliances forced and broken, friends turn enemies in the blink of an eye, lords and commoners alike butchered in gruesome ways. However, if the recent teaser is any indication, we can expect that at least one major rivalry will be resolved, one way or another. The conflict between the Starks and the Lannisters has been present since the very first beginning, and Season 7 showed that Cersei is only pretending to support Daenerys and Jon against the White Walkers while having a plan to, as Aerys the Mad would say, “burn them all”.  Meanwhile, both Sansa and Arya Stark want her blood, as she played a big part in their father’s demise.

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Everyone is united against the White Walkers, but Cersei Lannister has other plans

Season 8 Is Going To Witness A Massive, Ambitious Battle

Yes, we will see fighting at Winterfell again, and this time it’s going to involve White Walkers. Sure, every fan knows something like that will come, but this battle is reportedly going to be the most spectacular one. According to Peter Dinklage, the actor who portrays Tyrion Lannister, season 6’s Battle of the Bastards "look like a theme park" compared to this one. The scene took 55 days to shoot, more than doubling The Battle Of The Bastards' 25.

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The Battle of the Bastards

The Ending Is Intense

It seems the entire cast is pretty emotional about the ending of the show, which they say is pretty intense. Kit Harington reportedly cried during the rehearsal, and Jaime Lannister’s actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, said that ultimately everything fit together, but he thought some of the outcomes were surprising. As for the fate of our beloved dwarf Tyrion Lannister, Peter Dinklage kind of trolled the whole world by saying that he got a "very good conclusion”, but then immediately hinted that it could be him dying.

A Fan-Favorite Character Will Make A Return

No, it's not Lady Stoneheart (the resurrected and kind of undead identity of Cately Stark). Joe Bauer, the supervisor of the show’s visual effects, has confirmed that Ghost, Jon Snow's direwolf, will. The reason the wolf was absent for so long was because the VFX team needs a lot of money to bring him to life, and the producers would rather spend that cash on making dragons instead.

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Ghost the Direwolf is returning

The End, But It's Not Over Yet

While the story of the big houses Stark, Lannister, and Targaryen is coming to an end Game of Thrones Season 8, we are still going to see more of Westeros. As of now, one prequel series is already confirmed and is casting. This show takes place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, in the Ages of Heroes. It is suggested that this prequel will be about the first war against the White Walkers, before the Wall was built.