After Sunday night's Season 6 finale, The Winds of Winter, the long wait for Season 7 of HBO's Game of Thrones has begun, and for many fans, it will seem as long as a Westeros winter. Earlier this month, one of this season's directors, Jack Bender, dropped a surprising piece of information in an interview, revealing that Season 7 will only be seven episodes long, with the eighth and final season set to be just six episodes long to close out the series. Series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss shed some new light on the show's endgame, bascially confirming there will in fact only be 13 episode left of the series. Be warned, there will be plenty of SPOILERS if you aren't caught up with this season, so read on at your own risk.
Deadline spoke with both David Benioff and D.B. Weiss after the season finale, which set up an epic end game for the show's final episodes. The last two episodes brought the deaths of two of the show's most heinous villains, Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and Walder Frey (David Braldey), while Cersei (Lena Headey) took the Iron Throne and Daenerys Targaryen began her journey to Westeros, with her massive army and three dragons in tow. Here's what David Benioff had to say about how the finale helps set up the last two seasons.
"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."
The Season 6 finale started in quite the explosive fashion, with yet another long-held rumor turning out to be true. There had been speculation that Cersei would use the wildfire stored under the Sept of Baelor to take out all of her enemies, including Queen Margaery (Natalie Dormer) with one fell swoop, and that's exactly what happened. What Cersei didn't see coming is that her son, King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) would be so devastated by this that he took his own life, leaving Cersei without any children left, but also giving her the Iron Throne. When asked if Cersei is now set to be a "ruthless ruler" after all of her children have died, D.B. Weiss had this to say.
"Not to give a frustrating answer, but that's what so much of next season is going to be about; finding out what Cersei's mind-set is. Who is she? While Cersei has certainly done a lot of horrible things in her life and she could be a very cruel person, the one thing that was redemptive about her was, she genuinely loved her children. Now they're all gone, and I think that is very interesting for us. Who is she without her children? The answer is something you'll find out next season. That's so much of what is to come that I'll just give it away if I start delving into it now."
Before the massive explosion, The Mountain (Hapthor Julius Bjornsson) appeared in King Tommen's chambers, refusing to let him go to the trial. Shortly after the explosion, The Mountain left to attend to another piece of Cersei's revenge plot, torturing Septa Unella (Hannah Waddingham). Many noticed that, if The Mountain had not been doing Cersei's bidding, he would have been able to prevent King Tommen's suicide. Here's what David Benioff had to say about that development.
"We had intended [to make that] connection. If she had been more focused on her family, and less on enjoying her revenge on someone who had done her wrong, then Tommen's suicide probably never would have happened."
Now that most of the main villainous humans have been put out of their misery, the focus will be put on the rest of Westeros having to face the Night King. While most would consider him a traditional "villain," the showrunners think of this character as something else entirely. Here's what D.B. Weiss had to say below.
"I don't think of the Night King as a villain as much as, Death. He is not like Joffrey, or Ramsay. He's not really human anymore. To me, evil comes when you have a choice between that and good, and you choose the wrong way. The Night King doesn't have a choice; he was created that way, and that's what he is. In some ways, he's just death, coming for everyone in the story, coming for all of us. In some ways, it's appropriate he doesn't speak. What's death going to say? Anything would diminish him. He's just a force of destruction. I don't think we've ever been tempted to write dialogue for the Night King. Anything he said would be anticlimactic."
Production on Season 7 is set to begin next month, although it remains to be seen how much will be revealed about this season until it premieres next year. The lead-up to Season 6 was the show's most secretive yet, with the network refusing to send out early episodes to members of the press, while never confirming any of the new characters. We'll have to wait and see if the network maintains its super-secretive ways leading into Season 7.