Although it feels like a long time since the conclusion of season six, 2017 promises to be a thrilling year for Game of Thrones fans. Not only has author George R. R. Martin stated that his long-awaited next installment in his book series, The Winds of Winter, should finally see the light of day but the seventh season of the HBO TV adaptation is all set to be one of the most exciting runs in the show's history, as the various pieces on the Westeros board begin to move towards their respective endgames.
Traditionally in each of the show's seasons, the penultimate ninth episode has always been the showcase, producing such classics as 'The Rains of Castamere' and 'Battle of the Bastards', and the season finale is usually left to pick up the pieces. In more recent seasons however, the finales have become as eventful and thrilling as the fabled ninth episodes and this is likely to continue into season seven - due to the confirmation that the new set of episodes will have seven installments instead of the traditional ten.
The actress behind Arya Stark, Maisie Williams, has - in an interview with Britain's BBC One Radio - has been speaking about the show's next season finale, promising viewers will have something to look forward to. Williams told host, Nick Grimshaw:
"It’s just a great finale and it makes me excited for the series after. 'Cause I’m, like, one season ahead of everyone else and so I get the scripts and it’s all really exciting 'cause it’s all stuff that no one’s seen before but then as soon as you’ve read it, you’re like, ‘but I want the next season now.’… People should be very, very excited."
In the same interview, Maisie confirmed that although she has no idea how the series as a whole will end, she has picked up a few snippets of information up from the show's writers - despite future plot details being closely guarded, even from cast members.
Predictably, Williams' comments give precious few details about the upcoming season away. And considering Jon Snow actor, Kit Harrington, spent the better part of a year insisting in interviews that he wouldn't be returning to the show, this - barring a monumental slip up - is likely to be the case in every Game of Thrones promotional interview from now until the season seven premiere. It is, however, pleasing to hear that Maisie is just as eager as the fans are to find out what happens next.
With Daenerys finally heading West and Jon Snow managing to recapture Winterfell, speculation has begun in earnest as to what this "exciting" season finale may entail. Assuming that the show's final season deals largely with the threat of the White Walkers, it's possible that the season seven finale will cover the other huge battle yet to come: Daenerys' invasion of King's Landing. If this is indeed the case, Maisie's prediction that people should be "very, very excited" is likely to be an understatement, given that fans have been anticipating the Mother of Dragons' attack since the very first season.
With that said, it remains to be seen how the show will fare with its new seven-episode structure. Given the reduced air-time, it's possible that each episode will be more eventful and packed with fantastic moments than ever before. However, the traditional penultimate-episode extravaganza is likely to be dropped in favor of a stronger finale episode and it's possible that season seven will leave fans begging for the return of the show's traditional ten-episode format.
Game of Thrones season 7 is set to premiere in summer 2017 on HBO.