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What News From Westeros? Everything We Know About Game of Thrones Season 8

It may be another two years until HBO even picks a premiere date, but GOT fans are already sniffing the air for juicy leaks and morsels of plot...

Season 8 episodes are fewer and longer

We’re expecting six feature-length episodes, anywhere between one or two hours each. This is both good news and bad. On the one hand, we get more of what we want, rammed into bigger budget film-style episodes, but on the other hand, it’ll be over before we know it.

But the budget is mighty

Specifically: £11.2 million per episode (compared to Game Of Thrones's average £5 million per episode) breezily topping The Crown’s budget of $100m for two series, which weighs in at about $5m or £3.7m per Netflix episode (previously the most expensive series budget in history).

We’re in safe hands

Showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss are still on board, steadily steering Game Of Thrones towards its grisly end. They’re even writing their own episodes – something we haven’t seen since series five. It seems like an age ago, but that was way back when we were thumping our seats in rage at Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free) getting poisoned; cheering loudly when Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) finally killed Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane); and smiling smugly when Cersei (Lena Headey) walked naked through King’s Landing. They’ll also be joined by past episode directors David Nutter ("Red Wedding") and Miguel Sapochnik (Emmy-winning finale "The Winds Of Winter").

And the best of the bunch is penning the script

Reassuringly, it’s been confirmed that some of our favourite writers have been at work: Dave Hill wrote the first, Bryan Cogman the second, and Benioff and Weiss the final four. Apparently, Hill started out as an assistant, and he had the idea that Olly (Brenock O’Connor) would end up killing Ygritte (Rose Leslie) – causing Jon Snow’s (Kit Harrington) broken heart, and his own promotion. Oh, and Cogman – he’s been around since the beginning, and even wrote an episode of series one.

Except one

Unfortunately, George RR Martin said in August that he still hadn't watched series seven yet. The real question is whether Martin will follow in the episodes footsteps, or whether we’ll get to see what he wants to happen when he finishes his epic book series.

The series is hack proof

To stop hackers from spoiling the end, a plan has been devised: HBO’s president of programming Casey Bloys announced several different endings will be shot in an effort to prevent hackers from ruining the finale. Bloys has said, “You have to do that on a long show. Because when you’re shooting something, people know. So, they’re going to shoot multiple versions so that there’s no real definitive answer until the end.”

Which means nobody has a clue how it will end

Prepare for an onslaught of whimsical fan theories. What if Brandon Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is actually the Night King because he went back in time to help stop the war between mankind and the Children of the Forest? And what if Jon Snow has to kill Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) to defeat the White Walkers? You didn’t think there was going to be a happy ending, did you?

What we do know is that Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) is definitely going to kick the bucket. Asbaek said it himself. And he’s not the only one. According to a prophecy in series seven, episode three, Melisandre (Carice van Houten) and Varys (Conleth Hill) are destined to return to Westeros to die before the show ends. And speaking of prophecies, do you remember that one from the beginning of series five? Cersei will die at the hands of her brother. Whether that’s Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) or Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) in disguise, nobody knows.

The worst news of all: there’s no air date yet

The script is finished, and filming started this month. There have been sightings of Arya in Belfast and Dothraki huts in among the warehouses. But sadly, it may be as late as 2019 before we see the first episode. Time to get a life instead!

This article was first published on British GQ

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