Game of Thrones fans have a lot to be excited about right now. The seventh season of HBO's hit fantasy series, which remains one of the most critically heralded and beloved shows on television, is set to debut next month after a long wait. This is the second to last season of Game of Thrones, which is going to be setting us up for the final, very short season next year. It has been confirmed that Game of Thrones season 8 will, unfortunately, consist of just six episodes.

The news comes courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, who are reporting that unnamed sources have confirmed to them the episode count for Game of Thrones final season. We have known for a couple of years that both season 7 and 8 of Game of Thrones would be shorter than usual, but there was hope that the episode order may be extended a bit as production on the series progressed. Sadly, for those who are hooked on the series, it looks like there will be just 13 more episodes over the next couple of years before HBO's epic in Westeros comes to a close.

This means that when Game of Thrones concludes, the series will wrap with a total of 73 episodes, which has reportedly long been the plan for showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, who are currently in the process of writing the show's final episodes. Prior to Game of Thrones Season 7, the Emmy-winning series that was adapted from author George R.R. Martin's novels had all consisted of ten episodes each. But since the series was winding down, it made sense to split those final episodes up into two, shorter seasons. From HBO's perspective, they want to milk this cow for all it is worth, since it is the most popular show they have ever produced.

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The network recently released the first full-length trailer for Game of Thrones season 7, which is set to air its premiere episode on July 16. The trailer was viewed more than 61 million times in 24 hours, proving that excitement and demand for the show is as high as it has ever been. This season is setting up a whole lot of action, with bigger dragons and all out war on the horizon. That should set things up nicely for Game of Thrones' final season. It may only be six episodes, but you can bet David Benioff and Dan Weiss are going to make them count.

HBO is far from done with Game of Thrones, though, despite the fact that the main series is racing toward its inevitable conclusion. The network is currently developing five different spin-offs from different writers, but they are all at early stages and the network has not given the green light to any of them yet. Still, they know fans will be hungry after Game of Thrones season 8 is over, and they will most likely have a plan in place to keep things going in some way, shape or form. And the fans aren't likely to complain about it.