For the past six years, HBO have dominated television ratings, social media buzz and awards shows with Game of Thrones. Adapting the fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, the show’s mix of political intrigue, magic, and dragons has made it a juggernaut on TV. The most recent season helped the show win a Director’s Guild award, as well as one for cinematography. As exciting as the last season was, however, fans are anxious for the new one to start.

Sadly, it’ll be a bittersweet return, as the show will only be airing 7 episodes instead of its usual 10. On top of that, this upcoming season will be the penultimate one, with next year’s eighth season boasting just as many (or as few) episodes. Still, fans have been promised that each episode will be ‘bigger’ than in previous seasons. Season 7 will also feature some dragon-filled action, to keep things extra exciting. We’ve also learned that one of the main characters will survive to Season 8 of the show. Of course, the other bad news is that instead of airing in April, the new season won’t arrive until the summer. Now, it looks as if it’ll be later than previously assumed.

Independent have learned from Liam Cunningham, who plays Davos Seaworth, that the show won’t be returning in June as many had suspected.

“I’ve been disappointing various people around the world because it was meant to come out in April. It’s July now, I think.

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Despite the smaller episode count, it seems as if production has taken longer on this season. Most of the actors have only recently wrapped, meaning the remaining months will be spent on post-production. It’s safe to assume that the ‘bigger’ episodes that have been teased could mean more magic, more dragons, and more battles. Of course, pushing back this season means it’ll be that much longer until Season 8 arrives, especially as it’s sure to be an epic final stretch. Cunningham broke the bad news on that front as well.

“There’s going to be a launch and something special happening this year for the premiere. The bad news is, there will only be seven episodes and the final season starts again as far as I know in September.”

So in July, we should get Season 7, but we’ll have to wait until September of 2018 for Season 8. Again, if the production and post-production schedule of the final season is anything like this one, it makes sense that it would take over a year to get everything ready. On top of that, many of the stars have other projects, with Sophie Turner reprising her role as Jean Grey in the upcoming X-Men: Supernova, as an example.

Still, there’s plenty to stay occupied with in the meantime. HBO will be releasing a Game of Thrones-inspired beer called ‘Bend the Knee,’ which will surely help pass the time. Martin has even announced a new short story set in Westeros that should hold fans over until the show returns. And hey, maybe he’ll even finish the sixth book that’s been gestating for years. We can only dream.

NEXT: Why a Game of Thrones Spinoff Should Be a Prequel

Game of Thrones season 7 airs on HBO sometime this summer.

Source: Independent

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