The end is near for the hit HBO series based on George R.R. Martin’s books
The end of “Game of Thrones” is coming.
‘I know death. It’s got many faces. I look forward to seeing this one.’
Spoiler alert for those who either haven’t caught up to season eight of “Thrones,” or those who want to go into the final episodes cold: HBO dropped its first trailer for the eighth season of its bloody and incestuous fantasy series on Tuesday. And while young assassin Arya Stark (played by Maisie Williams) talks a big game about being ready to face death in the opening voice over, her brave words are played over scenes of the terrified teen running for her life.
Perhaps a girl doesn’t embrace “valar morghulis” (aka “all men must die,” a common quote and tagline for the show) when it’s finally her turn, after all.
And the other scenes and snippets of conversation teased in the just under two-minute trailer suggest that death is coming for all of the beloved (and love-to-hate) characters in the show drawn from George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” books that have ruled HBO since 2011. And in these epic, feature-length final six episodes, which will be 90 minutes long instead of the usual 60, armies brace for battle against the White Walkers, or zombies with icy blue eyes that crossed into our heroes’ homeland of Westeros in the season seven finale back in summer 2017.
“They’re coming. Our enemy doesn’t tire. Doesn’t stop. Doesn’t feel,” warns Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), Arya’s brother and the newly-crowned king of the north who was last seen knocking boots with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) the dragon queen (and, um, his aunt?) in a plot twist last season. (Actually, incest has been a major plot point on the graphic show.) And his rival Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) chimes in that he’s also “promised to fight for the living. And I intend to keep that promise.”
The trailer shows characters like Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Varys (Conleth Hill), Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) in a montage as the psychic Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) tells Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) that fate (or the writer’s room) has led everyone to this point on the show. “Everything you did put you where you are now. Where you belong,” he says. “Home.”
The final season premieres on AT&T Inc.’s T, -0.10% HBO on April 14, as well as its streaming services HBO Go and HBO Now for $15 a month. (The former connects to your existing HBO package from your cable provider, and lets you watch “Thrones” or other HBO shows on any smart device; the latter is a stand-alone service without a cable subscription. Both access the same HBO content.)
If you want to catch up by watching (or re-watching) the first seven seasons (which include 67 episodes running between 50 to 80 minutes each), you’d better get moving: It’s going to take you two days, 15 hours and 30 minutes, or 63.5 hours, according to the Binge Clock. You can catch up on HBO and its services, or Amazon Prime members can pay an extra $14.99 a month to subscribe to HBO on Amazon. And Hulu has its own HBO add-on for $14.99 a month, and you’ll be able to watch each of the season eight episodes as they air there, as well. Previous seasons are also available for digital download for $2 or $3 apiece on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Video.
But the last six episodes aren’t the last that viewers will hear from “Game of Thrones,” as Martin’s books have create plenty of fodder for producers to play with. Possible spinoffs include at least one confirmed prequel starring Naomi Watts. “We’d be crazy not to take a shot,” HBO chief Casey Bloys said at the network’s Television Critics Association presentation last month.
After all, it surpassed “The Sopranos” as HBO’s most popular series when it hit 20 million viewers in 2014, hitting 25.7 million during its season six peak, Variety reported. Last season’s premiere drew a record 16.1 million total viewers (including those tuning in on TV and streaming), and it also became show’s most-tweeted episode of all time with 2.4 million tweets sent during the episode.
And HBO isn’t afraid to invest in its crown jewel, with the lead actors reportedly getting $1.1 million per episode, and the cost of making episodes running around $6 million to $10 million. And even places affiliated with “GOT” have earned a king’s ransom. The show mostly films in Northern Ireland, and has brought more than $224 million to the area through filming expenses and tourism.