For Game of Thrones fans, one of the hardest parts of watching the series (apart from the tragic, unexpected character deaths), is the year-long wait in between seasons. Already difficult enough as it was, fans of the show knew that the wait for its seventh season would be especially excruciating following the sixth season finale last year. Season 6 concluded with a number of long-awaited character moves, including Daenerys Targaryen finally assembling her army once and for all and sailing for Westeros. With fewer episodes in its final two seasons, Game of Thrones had more or less entered into its final act, and it seemed almost unbearable to have to wait to see what would happen next.
Fans were in for even more bad news then, when it was revealed that season 7 would be delayed due to production requirements, as the crew and cast had to shoot later in the year in different locations in order to accommodate Westeros finally entering its long-awaited winter. However, it seems like the final two seasons of the series may not be as cut-and-dry decided as some fans might have thought.
In an interesting new update from EW, HBO Programming President Casey Bloys has revealed that the reason the network is waiting on an official season 8 renewal for the series, is because showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are still trying to decide how many episodes they want the final season to be. This of course comes in contradiction to some of the showrunners' previous, seemingly concrete comments, that the series only had 13 episodes left - seven in its seventh season, and six in its eighth.
Now, this could come as welcome news to the fans who have been disappointed with the smaller episode count for the final seasons. With this update, it's entirely possible the final season could end up being more than six episodes, though, it could also end up being shorter. Both Benioff and Weiss haven't been afraid to move quickly through some of the books' material, including cutting out seemingly integral, important characters these last few seasons, so it'll be interesting to see if they're having trouble nailing down the final episode count because they want to include more than they had originally intended, or because six episodes has actually proven to be too much.
The series' sixth season was, arguably, it's most progressive and substantial to date, speeding through the travel times that so many of the previous five seasons had spent more time on. For many fans, it seemed like the general direction for the rest of the series has been made clear. With Daenerys on her way to Westeros, it seems fair to say that the final conflicts within the seven kingdoms have become obvious now, and all that really is left to be figured out is how the war between the Lannisters and the Targaryens play out, as well as how the few remaining Starks may factor into it. There's also, of course, the conflict with the White Walkers and The Night's King; so with two more major conflicts (at the least) for the series to get through, it seems like all that Benioff and Weiss still have left to figure out is how much time they need in order to bring this epic, fantastic drama to a satisfactory close.
Game of Thrones will return with season 7 this summer.