Game of Thrones season 7 will conclude with two of the show’s longest episodes yet. The season starts airing in July, rather than March or April as every previous Game of Thrones season has done, so fans will have to wait a bit longer still to catch up with their favorite characters. Also, there will only be seven episodes in the seventh season, as opposed to 10 for each of the previous six seasons of the series.
However, there are silver linings. The seventh season is expected to feature lots of major moments – from Khaleesi returning to Westeros to the encroachment of the Wall by the White Walkers – that fans have been looking forward to for a long time. And of course, there’s that whole principle that the best things come to those who wait. Moreover, while Game of Thrones fans will have fewer episodes to look forward to, the episodes themselves are going to be noticeably longer than usual.
Every episode of Game of Thrones season 7 will be at least 59 minutes, with the sixth episode running for 71 minutes, and the season-ending seventh episode going 81 minutes. That’s according to Watchers on the Wall, which obtained the numbers through an HBO schedule search.
That final episode will go down as the longest in the history of the series, breaking the previous record held by the 68-minute The Winds of Winter, which was the season 6 finale. Episode 6 of the new season will thus go down as the second-longest ever, on the show. The average Game of Thrones episode, throughout the run of series during its first six seasons, has been about 55 minutes – meaning that, according to the site’s calculations, the added time for season 7 will add up to almost an entire extra episode altogether.
So what does this tell us about what we’ll be seeing in season 7? Not a whole lot. As with most series, the quality of the episodes themselves is more important than either the length of them or how many there are. And whatever shape the episodes take, they’re likely to break all records for viewership, streaming and even piracy, set by Game of Thrones seasons past.
Then again, some series – most notably, Sons of Anarchy in its later years on FX – have over-exerted themselves with too-long episodes, often a case of a network not knowing how to rein in a powerful showrunner. Game of Thrones is such a dense show, however, that it will likely have no trouble filling that time.
Game of Thrones returns for its seventh season July 16, 2017, on HBO and its streaming platforms. The season will run through August 27.
Source: Watchers on the Wall