In case you haven't heard, Game of Thrones has a reputation for being one of the few shows on television where no character is safe. The series has certainly earned this designation, as it has proven time and again with a number of shocking major character deaths. Despite this fact, HBO's adaptation of George R.R. Martin's novels has still managed to create quite a few fan-favorite characters that have managed to survive the onscreen events thus far.
Today's news then should provide a welcome break from the carnage the series is known for. Several key cast members of Game of Thrones's cast have reportedly secured contracts for a potential season 7 of the show. (Oddly enough, the chance that certain characters will survive that long could be considered a SPOILER, given the show we're talking about.)
Contract renegotiation was recently completed for the series main cast (according to THR), since they were only initially signed on through season 6 with an option for season 7. Because of the show's extensive cast, HBO pays the show's actors in tiers, but it sounds like majority of the returning stars will receive significant raises. A-tier stars Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Heady, Emilia Clarke and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau have season 7 deals in place, along with their B-tier costars Natalie Dormer, Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams.
Other actors also have deals to return, though THR declined to name any other stars specifically. Given the show's upcoming introduction of flashbacks however, it's still possible that not all of these actors will see their characters survive through to the beginning (or end) of season 7.
During the early part of season 4, HBO renewed Game of Thrones for seasons 5 and 6. Now that its main cast is locked in, expect the network to officially confirm season 7 sooner rather than later.
Previous reports indicated that the seventh season could even spell the end of the series, though the show's crew (and Martin) are coy on revealing an endpoint. Considering the show's tremendous success, HBO would likely prefer to keep the show running longer, but with the source material largely limited by Martin's novels, this could be a good opportunity for Game of Thrones to go out on top.
After all, one could assume that the network would have built any plans for season 8 into these new contracts to avoid another costly renegotiation process down the line. Of course, the actors' contracts could include an unreported option for season 8, but at this point, it's possible that the creative team is tentatively eyeing the series' endgame sooner than that.
Game of Thrones season 5 airs on HBO in spring 2015.