According to HBO’s schedule, the installments run less than an hour apiece-which is a far cry from the feature-length episodes fans had initially hoped for.
ad news, Game of Thrones fans: the final six episodes of HBO’s dramatic fantasy sensation do not all appear to be supersize at all. In fact, although David Benioff and Dan Weiss initially pitched the final season as a series of feature films, it turns out that Season 8’s first two installments, at least, might run even shorter than the last reality check we got in January.
Early this year, the French magazine Première reported that the season’s first two episodes would run for an hour apiece, with four 80-minute installments to follow. This was not quite the six-feature-length-installments news fans had been hoping for, but hey-it was something. Now, HBO’s actual schedule has released more exact figures: Episode 1 will run for 54 minutes, while Episode 2 will run for 58. Still, the Winter Is Coming Web site, which first made this discovery, pointed out that there’s not much use in dwelling over episode length; after all, some of the show’s most memorable installments, like the 50-minute “Spoils of War,” ran short. The site did predict, however, that the latter four installments of the season will run longer.
Details about Season 8 have, understandably, been largely kept under strict lock and key. But we do know at least one thing: however this series ends, it made Kit Harington “blub [his] eyes out.” We also know already that there will be an epic battle-one of the biggest ever committed to the small screen. Maisie Williams, whose character, Arya Stark, had never been involved in a battle sequence before, did not mince words about the arduous task of filming such an event. “Nothing can prepare you for how physically draining it is,” she said earlier this month. “It’s night after night, and again and again, and it just doesn’t stop. You can’t get sick, and you have to look out for yourself because there’s so much to do that nobody else can do… there are moments you’re just broken as a human and just want to cry.”
Meanwhile, ‘Entertainment Weekend’ reports that Seers can be a useful asset for those vying for the Iron Throne, but the real-life stars of Game of Thrones had a fortune teller of their own: Ice and Fire superfan Adam Whitehead.
At a 2009 George R.R. Martin book signing in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the sci-fi and fantasy blogger met some of the cast members – who were filming the pilot nearby – and quickly realized he knew much more about their characters’ futures than they did. He fondly recalls informing a 12-year-old Maisie Williams that Arya was going to become an assassin. “She was quite taken aback,” Whitehead recalls to EW. He also informed Sophie Turner that Sansa would team up with Littlefinger to “become a better player in the game of thrones.”
With those overwhelming revelations, it was a good thing the girls had their onscreen big brothers on site. “Richard Madden [who played Robb Stark] was in command, talking to everyone and making sure he learned their names, just like the King in the North,” Whitehead says. Kit Harington, who had been shooting relentlessly, showed up for a few polite hellos too. “He was absolutely wiped out,” Whitehead says. “It was very Night’s Watch-ish: turned up, did his duty and took off.” Alfie Allen, however, had more energy to contemplate Theon’s fate. “He asked, ‘They won’t have a whole season of me just being tortured, will they?’” Whitehead (mistakenly) assured him it was unlikely.
The fan dedication on display that night and the 500 or so people in attendance only hinted at what was in store when winter came via HBO in 2011. “I think that was the first time they realized it wasn’t going to get canceled after five episodes,” says Whitehead.
The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones premieres April 14.
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