Just days before Game of Thrones Season 6 debuted in April, HBO made the unsurprising move to issue a Season 7 renewal for the hit series. The network didn't confirm whether or not that would be the final season, but series creators/showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss teased just a few days before this renewal that there would only be 13 episodes of Game of Thrones left after Season 6, hinting that both Season 7 and possibly Season 8 would both be shorter than the first six seasons, which have each run 10 episodes apieace. Today we have a new report claiming that HBO is close to pulling the trigger on Season 8, which would involve hefty pay raises for the main cast members.

Deadline reports that stars Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) will each earn more than $500,000 per episode, for both Season 7 and Season 8. Earlier this month, Jack Bender, who directed two episodes this season, revealed in an interview that there will only be seven episodes in Season 7, which, when paired with David Benioff and D.B. Weiss' comments from April, lead many fans to believe that Season 7 will span seven episodes, with the eighth and final season spanning six episodes.

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This new report also reveals that, even if all the cast members sign these new deals, it won't guarantee that they're characters will all survive to the very end of the series. Back in 2014, the same five actors re-negotiated their contracts which gave them each upwards of $300,000 per episode through Season 6, with an option for Season 7. It isn't known how far along the cast members are in the negotiating process, but it's possible that HBO may announce the eighth and final season renewal once the ink is dry on these new contracts.

Season 6 has been quite different from the first five seasons, in many aspects. The biggest change is that this year is the first time the show has caught up to George R.R. Martin's books, since his sixth book, The Winds of Winter has yet to be published. The show also stopped a longtime tradition of revealing new cast members and characters at their annual Comic-Con panel, and the network refused to send any advanced episodes out to members of the press, after the first four Season 5 episodes leaked early last year. We'll have to wait and see if the show's producers will keep their covert tactics heading into Season 7.

The Season 6 finale, also entitled The Winds of Winter, is already set to make history, just days before it airs on Sunday, June 26. The episode has been confirmed as the longest in the show's history, clocking in at 69 minutes long. We'll have to wait and see how many photos and clips from this highly-anticipated finale surface before this season comes to a close. Stay tuned for more on Game of Thrones brings Seaosn 6 to its shocking end.