The 10th and final episode of Game of Thrones season six, “The Winds of Winter,” aired this past Sunday evening, and it was without a doubt one of the very best episodes of a television series ever made. Now we have entered into that oh so depressing time of year where we wait for a new season to begin. But there’s another layer to that sadness this time around, because the end approaches for this incredible journey we’ve been on, we know that to be true. Former president of HBO programming Michael Lombardo once made it clear he hoped the series would run until at least season 10, but for showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss it was looking more like season seven would be the end.
Now Weiss and Benioff are talking end game once again. The good news is that we will be getting more than seven seasons. The bad news is that there might not be nearly as many episodes in those remaining seasons as you hope there will be. See what they had to say below, but beware if you’re not yet caught up—there are some spoilers.
Benioff and Weiss had a lengthy chat with Deadline, who ended the chat by alluding to when Game of Thrones might end. Weiss responded by saying “…we want to leave while all the people watching this show are really into it. Get out at a high point and not have it be, ‘well thank god that’s over.’” Benioff took it much further, offering a fairly specific window:
“It’s two more seasons we’re talking about. From pretty close to the beginning, we talked about doing this in 70-75 hours, and that’s what we’ll end up with. Call it 73 for now. What Dan says is really true, but it’s not just trying not to outstay your welcome. We’re trying to tell one cohesive story with a beginning, middle and end. As Dan said, we’ve known the end for quite some time and we’re hurtling towards it. Those last images from the show that aired last night showed that. Daenerys is finally coming back to Westeros; Jon Snow is king of the North and Cersei is sitting on the Iron Throne. And we know the Night King is up there, waiting for all of them. The pieces are on the board now. Some of the pieces have been removed from the board and we are heading toward the end game. The thing that has excited us from the beginning, back to the way we pitched it to HBO is, it’s not supposed to be an ongoing show, where every season it’s trying to figure out new story lines. We wanted it to be one giant story, without padding it out to add an extra 10 hours, or because people are still watching it. We wanted to something where, if people watched it end to end, it would make sense as one continuous story. We’re definitely heading into the end game now.”
It doesn’t take Will Hunting to figure out that this means that, if there are in fact only 13 episodes left, the final two seasons won’t even be the usual 10 episodes long. This is part of the aforementioned additional layer of sadness, because those 10 episodes we anxiously await each year already come and go way too quickly. Maybe, just maybe, it will be a little more than 13 episodes, but like Benioff said they don’t want to pad it out just to get 10 more hours, so it doesn’t sound likely we’ll get that 13 episodes up to 20 hours.
But as sad as it makes me to know the end is this close, I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t think of a single episode of Game of Thrones I didn’t enjoy. Sure, some were better than others, but they all offered something worth seeing and progressed the various storylines. Stretching that out as far as possible and adding filler episodes would only water down and damage the overall legacy of what is an all-time great TV series, and that to me is not worth it.
We the fans can now only hope that some spinoff series are in our future! We’ve heard “A Song of Ice and Fire” author George R.R. Martin talk about the possibility of movies, maybe even to end the show with because, as he put it, “Those dragons get real big, you know.” Thankfully they’ve been able to pull off the dragons without having to jump from the show to a movie, but another movie possibility was Martin’s “Tales of Dunk and Egg” prequel novellas. Those could still be up for a movie, but who knows, maybe we can get a miniseries based on them.
If you’ve ever watched the special features on a Game of Thrones Blu-ray you’ve likely seen one of the History and Lore videos, which fill in the immense amount of backstory we’ve only seen here and there on the show, especially recently with the Children of the Forest and young Ned Stark. In these there is clearly more stories that could be told. I personally have always wanted to see the full story of when the Targaryen’s sat on the Iron Throne before a young Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon, and Jaime Lannister changed all of that during Robert’s Rebellion. Seeing pieces of that story through Bran this past season doesn’t change my wish to see the whole story play out on the small screen.
What stories would you like to see as a new Thrones related series, miniseries, or movie after the show has ended?
Be sure to head over to Deadline for the full chat with Weiss and Benioff, which covers all sorts of stuff that will be interesting to fans of the show, including Iwan Rheon, the actor who played the purely evil Ramsay Bolton, auditioning for (and almost getting) the role of Jon Snow. Just imagine!