The South by Southwest Festival kicks off today in Austin, Texas, where festival goers were greeted with quite the surprise. HBO has debuted the first poster for Game of Thrones Season 7. Unfortunately, the poster does not reveal the premiere date, but series star Liam Cunningham revealed in an interview last week that he believes the show will premiere sometime in July, with the eighth and final season starting production in September. This poster doesn't feature any of the actual characters from the show, but it does tease the great battle of ice and fire that is to come.

Entertainment Weekly spotted the poster on a bus at the SXSW festival which simply features the hashtag #GOTS7 and the HBO logo, but the backdrop is what's most interesting. The backdrop features both ice and fire, symbolizing the White Walkers from North of the Wall that will eventually clash with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and her fire-breathing dragons, coming from the south. Since Season 7 will only span seven episodes, with the eighth and final season rumored to span just six episodes, it's unclear how much of this all-out war will take place this season, or if most of it will happen in Season 8.


This poster also comes just a few days after Jim Broadbent revealed in an interview that he's playing, "an archmaester" character who appears in five of the seven episodes this season. The actor also revealed that he shot all of his episodes in Belfast, and didn't get to go out on location, while also adding that he shares scenes with Samwell Tarly (John Bradley). There has been speculation that Jim Broadbent is playing Maester Marwyn, although the actor wouldn't confirm if that was the character he's playing or not. In the fourth book A Feast for Crows, when Samwell tells Maester Marwyn about Daenerys and her dragons, he leaves to find her, but he hasn't surfaced in any of the books since then. Since George R.R. Martin still hasn't released the sixth and seventh books in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, it remains unclear what happened to Maester Marwyn.


While HBO has kept all plot details officially under wraps, there have been a number of tidbits that have surfaced through various interviews with the cast. Maisie Williams who plays Arya Stark, teased there will be a "huge cliffhanger" at the end of Season 7, but naturally she wouldn't divulge any specifics. Iain Glen, who plays Jorah Mormont, teased in late December that the seventh and eighth seasons will be the most extraordinary yet. Ellie Kendrick, who plays Meera, added that she's very excited to see Bran Stark's (Isaac Hempstead Wright) greensight powers on display, which allows him to see the past, present and future.


The Season 6 finale featured a number of interesting revelations, such as the reveal of Jon Snow's true parents, Ned Stark's sister Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen, which confirmed a popular fan theory that had been circulating for several years. This revelation was made through Bran Stark's greensight, after he was dropped off near The Wall. We also saw Daenerys Targaryen taking her new fleet and sailing to Westeros, while Arya Stark finally showed off the skills she learned from Jaquen H'gar (Tom Wlaschiha) to kill another nefarious name on her list, Walder Frey (David Bradley). With Bran at the Wall and Arya back in Westeros, it is believed that fans will finally get the Stark family reunion they've been waiting for. While we wait for more on Game of Thrones, take a look at the new poster for Season 7 below.

Game of Thrones Season 7 Poster