Game of Thrones’ final season starts with an arrival long in the making and ends with a battle bigger than any ever seen in film or television. That’s according to new details revealed in Entertainment Weekly’s epic coverage of the highly anticipated and even more secretive final season of HBO’s award-winning hit show
There are no major spoilers here—everything revealed is pretty logical—but just in case you want to avoid hearing anything about the final season…
According to the magazine, the first episode of the six-episode final season (which, incredibly, still doesn’t have a premiere date) begins like this:
Season 8 opens at Winterfell with an episode that contains plenty of callbacks to the show’s pilot. Instead of King Robert’s procession arriving, it’s Daenerys and her army. What follows is a thrilling and tense intermingling of characters — some of whom have never previously met, many who have messy histories — as they all prepare to face the inevitable invasion of the Army of the Dead.
Another detail of the arrival is that Sansa is, apparently, none too pleased that Jon has “bent the knee” to Daenerys.
That, of course, is just the start of a story—which leads to a moment teased since, literally, Game of Thrones’ very first episode: a battle between life and death. Westeros and the Army of the Dead. The battle will be “the most sustained action sequence ever made for television or film” and will take up the entire plot of a single episode, with “Battle of the Bastards” director Miguel Sapochnik at the helm.
Rumors about this sequence were reported in the press months ago, but according to Entertainment Weekly, those rumors of a two-month shoot were grossly underestimated.
“The 55 nights were only for the battle’s outdoor scenes at the Winterfell set,” EW writes. “Filming then moved into the studio, where Sapochnik continued shooting the same battle for weeks after that.”
But an episode that’s just a single battle could be dull. So that episode will also feature “intercuts between multiple characters involved in their own survival storylines that each feels like its own genre.” Basically everyone is fighting the same battle, and each has their own story.
From the sounds of it, though, that battle is not the ultimate finale. The finale is what happens after, and was filming when EW’s reporter was on set:
I look around at a meticulously constructed set that I’ve never seen on the show before. Several actors are performing, and I’m stunned: There are characters in the finale that I did not expect. I gradually begin to piece together what has happened in Westeros over the previous five episodes and try not to look like I’m freaking out. There is absolutely nothing more that can be said about that scene at this time.
Those are the best teases we’ve had about one of the most highly anticipated pop culture events of 2019, a finale that’ll surely give the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Skywalker Saga runs for their money. Read much, much more about Game of Thrones’ final season—the secrecy, the preparation, who cried, who tried to avoid spoilers and more—over at Entertainment Weekly.
Game of Thrones returns, and concludes, sometime in 2019.