10 Things We Know About Game of Thrones Season 8

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

We are now just over two weeks away from the premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones. It's a day fans have been waiting for since August 2017, when season 7 concluded in spectacular fashion. While the gigantic team of artists who bring the show to life both in front of and behind the camera have done an impressive job of remaining tight-lipped on any of the juicy details, there are a few things we do know about what to expect from Game of Thrones season 8. (Just be aware that if you're not caught up, there are spoilers ahead!)

1. There will be fewer episodes than in previous seasons, but they'll be longer.

Season 8 will be comprised of a total of just six episodes. While fans were initially disappointed to hear that the season would be so short, there is a silver lining: Three of the episodes will be about 80 minutes long, which is practically movie length. Here are the runtimes:

Episode one: 54 minutes
Episode two: 58 minutes
Episode three: 60 minutes
Episode four: 78 minutes
Episode five: 80 minutes
Episode six: 80 minutes

Many fans believed, based on multiple reports and even quotes from people behind the show, that every single episode would be closer to that 80-minute runtime. "Season 8 episodes will all I think be longer than 60 minutes. They'll be dancing around the bigger numbers, I know that for sure," director David Nutter said in November 2018. Though this turned out to be wishful thinking, fans are just happy that their Sunday nights will be full of Game of Thrones again.

2. The first episode will take place at Winterfell, and will mirror the pilot episode.

Without giving anything vital away, Entertainment Weekly shared some basic details about the first episode of season 8, which will in many ways mirror the series' pilot episode:

"Season 8 opens at Winterfell with an episode that contains plenty of callbacks to the show’s pilot. Instead of King Robert’s procession arriving, it’s Daenerys and her army. What follows is a thrilling and tense intermingling of characters—some of whom have never previously met, many who have messy histories—as they all prepare to face the inevitable invasion of the Army of the Dead."

3. Cast members have been (unsurprisingly) cryptic about it.

While many of the series' stars have shared the details of their final day of filming (Lena Headey's last day on the set was "weirdly tedious"), their feelings on the season overall, and how they predict fans will react to the ending, any true spoilers have been pretty much nonexistent. And much of what Game of Thrones insiders have sad has been rather cryptic. Case in point: Emilia Clarke.

When asked about the series ending by Vanity Fair, Clarke stated that, “It f***ed me up. Knowing that is going to be a lasting flavor in someone’s mouth of what Daenerys is ...” Clarke also added that she’s “doing all this weird s**t” in the final season. “You’ll know what I mean when you see it,” she explained. While not very helpful to those fans looking for details, it certainly adds some mystery around what we can look forward to.

4. We'll see ghost again.

According to special effects supervisor Joe Bauer, Jon Snow’s direwolf Ghost will be making his return to the screen this season. "He’s very present and does some pretty cool things in season 8,” Bauer told HuffPost of Jon's furry sidekick.

5. It will feature the most epic battle in Game of Thrones history.

It only makes sense that there would be a huge battle in the final season, as it's essentially what the entire series has been leading up to. And while we've seen some impressive battles before, most notably the Battle of the Bastards, insiders say that this upcoming fight—which took a whopping 55 days to shoot—will be like nothing the show has ever produced. "It makes the Battle of the Bastards look like a theme park,” Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister, told Entertainment Weekly.

6. Tormund Giantsbane and Beric Dondarrion are alive.

The first full-length trailer for the final season shows Tormund and Beric walking down a dark corridor in a quick scene, which seems to indicate that they are indeed alive. The last time we saw these two in season seven, they were being trapped on top of the remaining part of the wall after the Night King destroyed it with Viserion. No one knew if they had survived.

7. The Night King is intent on killing one person in particular.

Though it may seem as if the Night King just kills whoever—or whatever—gets in his way, he has a very specific target in mind. Vladimir Furdik, who plays the Night King, told Entertainment Weekly that, "People will see [the Night King] has a target he wants to kill, and you will find out who that is."

8. Jon Snow will learn his true parentage.

In an interview with TV Insider, co-showrunner D.B. Weiss all but confirmed that Jon Snow will learn his true parentage (which, let's face it, would be disappointing if he didn't as it's been such a major plot point). "From a dramatic standpoint, it makes things interesting, because the story is no longer about who Jon's parents are," Weiss said. "It's about what happens when Jon finds out."

9. They shot multiple endings.

It's been reported that multiple endings were shot for the season—and not because the showrunners couldn't decide on how to end the series, but so that they could ensure that no details about how the series will end would be leaked. “I know in Game of Thrones, the ending, they’re going to shoot multiple versions so that nobody really know what happens,” HBO boss Casey Bloys told The Morning Call. “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.”

10. It will shock fans.

Fans are hoping for the most intense, epic season in television history, and Clarke has pretty much assured us that will happen. While at the Academy Awards this year, the actress told Ryan Seacrest:

“It's going to be huge, that much everyone needs to know ... It took us a long time to film this one for a very good reason. But I think there's going to be some things ... I know there's going to be some things in this last season that will shock people.”

The final season of Game of Thrones premieres on April 14.

Game of Thrones Counseling Available for Upset Fans Following Series Finale

Iain Glen and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Iain Glen and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

It’s no surprise that some fans are having a hard time dealing with the fact that Game of Thrones is over. The show ran for eight seasons, and became a huge part of fans's lives and Sunday night routines. Moreover, since the season 8 premiere first aired, fans haven’t been too thrilled with the trajectory of the show, and it has only gotten worse. (The final episode in the series scored the lowest rating in the show’s history on IMDb).

But if you’re having a hard time wrapping your mind around the end of Game of Thrones, or just want to vent, there's a counseling service here just for you. CNN reports that if you go to Bark.com, a UK-based online marketplace, you can find a Game of Thrones counselor who will listen to your every qualm about the show. "The professionals will help them digest their feelings and interpretation of the show, which could range from anger and confusion to sadness and grief," the service description reads.

"We watch them to escape our daily lives and immerse ourselves into the 'unknown,'" Lynette, a counselor from Bark.com, said in a statement regarding people's TV show obsessions. "This is the very reason why we sometimes become addicted to watching them, the stories they tell become part of our identity."

There’s options of booking a 30-minute or 60-minute session, which range from $25 to $51. Fans can choose from a face-to-face session, group session, or online, and can specify which specific problems they’re having regarding the show. 

What do we say to Game of Thrones-related anxiety? Not today!

New Coke is Making a Comeback Thanks to Stranger Things

Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Caleb McLaughlin, Millie Bobby Brown, and Sadie Sink in Stranger Things.
Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Caleb McLaughlin, Millie Bobby Brown, and Sadie Sink in Stranger Things.
Netflix

In what was considered one of the biggest consumer product marketing blunders of all time, the Coca-Cola Company upset devotees of their signature beverage by introducing New Coke in 1985. Sweeter and smoother than the original, people practically revolted over the change, and the drink eventually disappeared from shelves.

In 2019, New Coke is not only resurfacing—it might turn out to be one of the company's savviest marketing moves to date.

CNN reports that Coca-Cola will be producing 500,000 cans of New Coke in collaboration with Netflix to promote season 3 of Stranger Things, the 1980s-set paranormal drama. Cans will be featured on the show in a kind of retro product placement.

Fans can look for the cans online, which will be offered as a free gift with the purchase of two special Coca-Cola Classic or Coke Zero Sugar glass bottles with Stranger Things artwork beginning Thursday. Special vending machines will also be set up in major cities, and visitors to Atlanta's World of Coca-Cola can purchase the product there, too.

The company is using the exact same recipe for New Coke that got them in hot water back in 1985. For many, it will be their first chance to sample the drink that anti-New Coke activist and retiree Gay Mullins described as being "unbelievably wimpy" and tasting like Pepsi (a comment meant to be derogatory). Originally intended to replace Coca-Cola Classic, the drink was eventually rebranded Coke II and sold through 2002.

Coca-Cola anticipates demand will exceed their 500,000 can allotment, which means you're likely to see them pop up on eBay before long.

The new season of Stranger Things premieres July 4.

[h/t CNN]

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