Filming for Season 8 began on October 23, 2017 and ended on July 6, 2018. It premiered on April 14, 2019 and ended on May 19, 2019.
Like the sixth and seventh seasons, Season 8 is based on an outline of the two final, presently-unpublished novels in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.
- "The Long Night is coming, and the dead come with it."
- ―Jon Snow
After eight thousand years of standing between the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and the lands beyond, the inevitable has finally happened - the Wall has been breached: Mounted on the reanimated corpse of Daenerys Targaryen's dragon Viserion, the Night King has blasted through the ancient fortification and obliterated the castle of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. The army of the dead, now numbering over 100,000 wights as well as the White Walkers, is heading straight towards the North, bringing a winter that will become another Long Night, one which may last forever.
Unfortunately, the political and military strife within the Seven Kingdoms is not yet over. Though the War of the Five Kings is long ended, control of the Iron Throne is still being contested. In King's Landing, despite having proven herself a less than ideal ruler, Queen Cersei Lannister is determined to stay on the Iron Throne at any cost. Allying herself with Euron Greyjoy and Randyll Tarly, Cersei's armies won several victories against the invading forces of Daenerys Targaryen, and have sacked the Tyrell stronghold of Highgarden in order to pay off the crown's debts to the Iron Bank of Braavos. Despite the larger threat to the realm, Cersei is content with allowing the army of the dead to devastate the North in order to rid her of her enemies before focusing on the threat herself. Tyrion Lannister tried once again to convince his sister to put aside her enmities and unite with Daenerys against the army of the dead, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. Although she promised a military alliance with the dragon queen, Cersei instead brokered a backroom deal: with Euron's help and the financial backing of the Iron Bank, she hired the Golden Company, the most powerful mercenary army in Essos, to destroy all of her enemies at once and solidify Lannister rule over Westeros. For Jaime Lannister, who has stood by his sister all their lives, this is the last straw; disgusted at Cersei's willingness to allow the realm to perish if it means that she can retain her crown, he abandoned her and is now heading north to honor the pledge he made to fight against the enemy facing them all.
From her base at Dragonstone, Daenerys and her Westerosi allies - armies from Dorne, the Iron Islands, and the Reach - attempted to retake the Iron Throne and restore her family dynasty. Unfortunately, all of her plans went disastrously wrong: one of her key allies, Olenna Tyrell, has been killed, having been given the mercy of a peaceful death after the Lannisters sacked Highgarden. Yara Greyjoy, Ellaria Sand, and Tyene Sand were taken hostage by Euron Greyjoy, who single-handedly murdered Obara Sand and Nymeria Sand in a spectacular engagement by Euron's forces. Ellaria was tortured by Cersei Lannister in retaliation for the murder of Cersei's young daughter Myrcella Baratheon, committed by Ellaria in revenge for the Lannister-backed death of Prince Oberyn Martell. Cersei poisoned Tyene and forced a chained Ellaria to watch while her daughter died a slow death. Meanwhile, Yara Greyjoy remained the prisoner of her uncle Euron. Yara's younger brother, Theon, rallied the few remaining ironborn loyalists in an attempt to rescue her, after winning them over in a fight with Harrag, Yara's last captain.
Frustrated by her losses, Daenerys decided to ambush the combined Lannister and Tarly forces with her Dothraki horde and one of her dragons. Although she succeeded in winning this battle, she recklessly burned the wagons of grain en route to the capital, which she needed to feed her own forces. After the battle, Daenerys gave the remaining Lannister and Tarly soldiers a choice: bend the knee to her and join in her goal to make "the world a better place than we found it" - or death. Lord Randyll Tarly and his son Dickon chose death and stated their refusal to bend the knee to Daenerys, who they viewed as a "foreign invader". Daenerys accepted their choice and, having stated her refusal to put men in chains when Tyrion urged imprisonment instead, executed Randyll and Dickon Tarly via dragonfire. This alarmed Tyrion and Varys, who remembered the actions of Daenerys's father and discussed her decision to burn the Tarlys. Tyrion stated that Daenerys is not her father and never will be with the right counsel. Varys responds Tyrion must find a way to make her listen.
In the North, Jon Snow, chosen as King in the North by his compatriots, sought out an alliance with Daenerys; not to help her seize the Iron Throne, but to aid him in the coming war against the army of the dead: the Great War. Through the combined efforts of Daenerys's remaining allies - as well as the Brotherhood Without Banners - Jon captured a wight and presented it before Cersei (who, up until then, thought they and the White Walkers were just stories) in order to prove their existence and return, though Daenerys lost Viserion in the process. During their alliance, Jon and Daenerys developed a romantic attraction and consummated their relationship. This may put their future operations in jeopardy, especially in light of their biological connection of which they are still unaware.
At Winterfell, the North saw the return of two Stark siblings who were believed to be dead - Arya Stark, who killed the remaining men of House Frey in revenge for the Red Wedding, and Bran Stark, who has now become the Three-eyed Raven. Despite the schemes of Petyr Baelish to drive the Starks apart and seize power in his own bid to take the Iron Throne, Baelish was exposed as the true architect of the deaths of Jon Arryn and Lysa Arryn, and the War of the Five Kings, which saw the deaths of countless innocent people for a false cause. He was executed for his crimes on the order of Sansa Stark, bringing an end to his schemes once and for all.
Through his power of greensight, Bran previously discovered that his believed half-brother Jon Snow was, in fact, the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. However, this revelation was only part of the truth. When Samwell Tarly decided to leave his studies at the Citadel in Oldtown and go to Winterfell to return to Jon's side, Sam told Bran that Rhaegar had his marriage to Elia Martell annulled by the High Septon so he could marry Lyanna Stark. Bran confirmed their wedding via greensight and discovered that Jon was born Aegon Targaryen, named by Lyanna. This means that not only is Jon legitimate but, as revealed by Bran, Jon is the true heir to the Targaryen dynasty, and an heir to the Iron Throne ahead of Daenerys herself, which may or may not have consequences for their newly formed alliance.
For a time in January 2017, Season 8 renewal was put on indefinite hold, due to a disagreement between HBO and the showrunners over the number of episodes it would contain. While originally Benioff and Weiss stated they intended 7 episodes for Season 7 and 6 for Season 8, apparently there was some internal pushback that they should make more than six episodes (whether for story reasons or purely business/budget reasons is unclear). At their SXSW panel on March 12, 2017, Benioff and Weiss announced that Season 8 will consist of the originally planned six episodes. No new writers will be introduced: Dave Hill will write the first episode, Bryan Cogman the second episode, then Benioff and Weiss will divide up the remaining four. George R.R. Martin will not be returning to script another episode.
On September 26, 2017, the directors for Season 8 were confirmed: the first five episodes will be divided up between returning directors David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik. Fabian Wagner, Sapochnik's director of photography, confirmed he is working on episodes 3 and 5, leaving episodes 1, 2 and 4 for Nutter. David Benioff & D.B. Weiss will themselves direct the series finale, as they have worked as directors on several episodes in prior TV seasons.
Filming officially began on October 23, 2017, and ended on July 6, 2018.
In Northern Ireland, production began in October 2017. Interior shooting returned to the show's headquarters, the Paint Hall Studios in Belfast as well as Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge. Meanwhile, intensive location shooting has taken place at the Winterfell set in Moneyglass. Throughout 2018, extensive shooting took place at a Magheramorne green screen set, which was used to re-create King's Landing. Filming also took place at the Cushendun caves, standing in for Dragonstone cave first seen in season 7.
By January 2018, production crews had moved to Iceland for location filming commencing in February.
Production also returned to Dubrovnik, Croatia, in February 2018, with supposedly brief shooting scheduled at multiple locations, including Fort Lovrijenac, the Pile Bay, Minceta Tower and Bokar Fortress.
In May 2018, production returned to Spain. Shooting commenced in Seville to shoot Dragonpit scenes in Itálica, with many cast members present for the week-long shoot, said to be similar to its large setpiece in the seventh season.
The first episode of the season has a runtime of 54 minutes, the second episode has a runtime of 58 minutes, the third episode has a runtime of 82 minutes, the fourth and fifth episodes have a runtime of 78 minutes each, and the sixth and final episode has a runtime of 79 minutes.
- Main article: Season 8 cast
- Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister (6 episodes)
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister (6 episodes)
- Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen (6 episodes)
- Kit Harington as Jon Snow / Aegon Targaryen (6 episodes)
- Maisie Williams as Arya Stark (6 episodes)
- Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth (6 episodes)
- Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm (6 episodes)
- Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark (5 episodes)
- John Bradley as Samwell Tarly (5 episodes)
- Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark (5 episodes)
- Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth (5 episodes)
- Conleth Hill as Varys (5 episodes)
- Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane (5 episodes)
- Kristofer Hivju as Tormund (5 episodes)
- Joe Dempsie as Gendry (5 episodes)
- Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister (4 episodes)
- Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei (4 episodes)
- Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy (4 episodes)
- Iain Glen as Ser Jorah Mormont (4 episodes)
- Hannah Murray as Gilly (3 episodes)
- Jerome Flynn as Bronn (3 episodes)
- Carice van Houten as Melisandre ("The Long Night")
Selected guest starring cast
- Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne (5 episodes)
- Ben Crompton as Eddison Tollett (4 episodes)
- Richard Dormer as Beric Dondarrion (4 episodes)
- Staz Nair as Qhono (4 episodes)
- Bella Ramsey as Lyanna Mormont (4 episodes)
- Richard Rycroft as Wolkan (4 episodes)
- Rupert Vansittart as Yohn Royce (4 episodes)
- Pilou Asbæk as Euron Greyjoy (3 episodes)
- Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson as Gregor Clegane (3 episodes)
- Anton Lesser as Qyburn (3 episodes)
- Megan Parkinson as Alys Karstark (3 episodes)
- Marc Rissmann as Harry Strickland (2 episodes)
- Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy (2 episodes)
- Lino Facioli as Robin Arryn ("The Iron Throne")
- Vladimir Furdik as the Night King ("The Long Night")
- Harry Grasby as Ned Umber ("Winterfell")
- Tobias Menzies as Edmure Tully ("The Iron Throne")
- David Benioff: executive producer & showrunner
- D.B. Weiss: executive producer & showrunner
- Bernadette Caulfield: executive producer
- Frank Doelger: executive producer
- Carolyn Strauss: executive producer
- David Nutter: executive producer
- Miguel Sapochnik: executive producer
- George R.R. Martin: co-executive producer
- Vince Gerardis: co-executive producer
- Guymon Casady: co-executive producer
- Bryan Cogman: co-executive producer
- Greg Spence: producer
- Chris Newman: producer
- Lisa McAtackney: producer
- Duncan Muggoch: producer
- Michele Clapton: costume designer
- Deborah Riley: production designer
- Ramin Djawadi: composer
- Nina Gold: casting director
- Robert Sterne: casting director
- David Nutter: episodes 1, 2 and 4
- Miguel Sapochnik: episodes 3 and 5
- David Benioff & D.B. Weiss: episode 6
|68||"Winterfell"||April 14, 2019||11.76|
|Daenerys arrives at Winterfell and Jon Snow gets some big news.|
|69||"A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms"||April 21, 2019||10.29|
|Jaime faces judgement and Winterfell prepares for the battle to come.|
|70||"The Long Night"||April 28, 2019||12.02|
|Winterfell fights the Army of the Dead.|
|71||"The Last of the Starks"||May 5, 2019||11.80|
|The survivors plan their next steps; Cersei makes a power move.|
|72||"The Bells"||May 12, 2019||12.48|
|Varys betrays his queen, and Daenerys brings her forces to King's Landing.|
|73||"The Iron Throne"||May 19, 2019||13.60|
|In the aftermath of Daenerys' attack on the capital, Westeros finds a new leader.|
Comparison with the novels
All the plotlines of this season are far ahead of the point the novels reached; a few scenes of it are based on scenes from the novels.
For a full list of differences between the season and the novels, see Differences between books and TV series - Season 8.
Season 8 Blu-ray and DVD box sets will be released on December 3, 2019. They are available for pre-order from Amazon.com, which prices the Blu-ray set at $44.99 and the DVD set at $34.95.
Features on the DVD release include:
- Game of Thrones: The Last Watch: A documentary featured on DVD in two parts by filmmaker Jeanie Finlay chronicling the making of the final season.
- When Winter Falls: Exclusive 30-minute featurette with showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with major stars and behind-the-scenes players, breaking down all that went into the colossal filming of the "Battle of Winterfell" in Season 8, Episode 3.
- Duty is the Death of Love: A compelling look at how the team behind Game of Thrones and its major stars, including Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke, brought the show to its conclusion in the series finale, "The Iron Throne."
- Audio Commentaries: 10 Audio Commentaries with cast and crew, including the show's creators, Benioff and Weiss, on the final season.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes: 5 never-before-seen deleted or extended scenes from Season 8.
- Histories & Lore – 6 segments including:
The Blu-ray release with Digital Copy includes all of the features on the DVD set, plus:
- A digital copy of the entire season
- Game of Thrones: Reunion Special: A reunion show shot live in Belfast with the cast, both past and present, hosted by Conan O'Brien and available exclusively on these complete series collections. The reunion special is assembled in segments focused on Houses Lannister, Stark, & Targaryen and concludes with the key players all onstage for their final reflections on the years they shared in Westeros and Essos.
- ↑ Game of Thrones | Season 8 | Official Tease: Crypts of Winterfell (HBO)
- ↑ HBO confirms Game of Thrones will end with Season 8
- ↑ Game of Thrones prequel more likely than spin-off series
- ↑ indeterminate hold
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- ↑ http://watchersonthewall.com/miguel-sapochnik-directing-two-season-8-episodes-dp-fabian-wagner-confirms/
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- ↑ Game of Thrones panel at SXSW provides insight into show, seasons 7 and 8 details
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