After more than a year of speculative agony, HBO has finally revealed that the final, six episode-long season of Game Of Thrones will start on Monday 15 April on Sky Atlantic. Entitled “Crypts of Winterfell”, the first official trailer ran on TV just before the third season of True Detective. Up until now, we’d only been privy to one measly promotional video, so the ensuing internet meltdown was to be expected. The 1:30 clip shows Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Arya Stark (Masie Williams) in the crypt under their ancestral home, with a voiceover from Catelyn Stark – who was killed off in the “Red Wedding” episode back in season three almost five years ago – that, taken from a conversation she had with Robb Stark’s wife back in refers to Jon Snow’s real lineage (“The horror that’s come to my family, it’s all because I couldn’t love a motherless child”).
It picks up where season seven left off – the Army of the Dead have traversed the wall and, from the look of that ominous chill, have already made their way to Winterfell – and, in typical GoT-style is jam-packed with cryptic clues
The first episode will air in Britain and the US simultaneously, meaning that the American date is actually 15 April. Let the 90-day countdown commence.
In an almost unbearably tantalizing long read on the final season of Game Of Thrones, Entertainment Weekly has reported that the first episode takes place at Winterfell. It’s going to be littered with references back to the first-season pilot, with Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and her army’s arrival at the Starks’ ancestral home echoing King Robert and his procession’s approach almost a decade ago.
But Daenerys, whose appearance at Winterfell it seems Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) is going to be seething over, is not the only new face in the north. Characters who have never met before will prepare for the Invasion of the Dead side by side with characters who already share complex histories.
The Final Battle
The final fight with the Army of the Dead looks set to be the biggest and most sustained action scene ever made for any TV series or film, with one entire episode directed by Miguel Sapochnik, the man behind the “Battle Of The Bastards”, dedicated to solid action. It took 55
nights to film the outdoor battle scenes at Winterfell alone, followed by weeks in the studio to wrap it up. And, as always with Game Of Thrones, there’ll be sub-plots galore, with the focus shifting to different characters at different points within the battle.
As producer David Benioff told Entertainment Weekly, “Having the largest battle doesn’t sound very exciting — it actually sounds pretty boring. Part of our challenge, and really Miguel’s 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 Final Season
It’s not just the battle that’s going to be mind-blowingly ambitious, with EW’s report stating that, for the final season, everything, right down to the costumes, is going to be bigger and better. Even the Winterfell set has been drastically expanded.
In fact, the upcoming season is set to be so expansive that at one point, the producers, Benioff and DB Weiss – who are currently working on a new Star Wars film and took advice from the director and producer of The Last Jedi for series eight – thought that it could be split into three feature-length films.