by Graham Pierrepoint
It’s one of the most controversial and most captivating TV series of recent years, and with Game of Thrones set to reach its seemingly impossibly epic climax with its eighth and final season, fans are desperate to find out just what happens to their favorite characters in Westeros – and who will be left alive – before HBO calls time on the popular adaptation of George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels. The series is well-known for pushing the boundaries of what may have otherwise been expected on prime time US TV for many years now – and the fact that it is set to come to an end will sadden many long-term viewers, even those who levelled some criticism at the pacing of 2016’s season.
Watch: Game of Thrones Season 8 Won't Air Until 2019 ▶
Fans will, however, now have to wait until next year to see what is the most truncated season of them all – with six episodes lined up to air at some point in 2019. In previous years, seasons with double the episodes have aired – but season seven was the first to buck the trend and to offer only a handful of stories. The pacing of season seven, too, was extremely speedy in comparison to previous years, with many positing that the fact the show has now sped past the canon of the books now allows for greater flexibility in storytelling. While recent episodes have had their critics, the show remains immensely popular – and the news that viewers will need to wait at least a year to see what becomes of the White Walkers’ skirmish on the land to the south will not sit well with many!
However, this extended break will likely give the staff and the network time to prepare what millions will hope to be the epic send-off that the show deserves. With talk of a bittersweet ending having been put out by Martin in recent years – and with confirmation that the show’s head team are well aware of where the saga will end – it’s widely hoped that this next set of six are worthy enough to see some of our favorite characters into the sunset. How many of them will survive, however? Start drawing up your bingo sheets now – as the final season promises to be the most brutal on record.