Everyone's looking pretty serious in the latest Game of Thrones season 8 photos. Based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R.R. Martin, the HBO series premiered in 2011 and takes place in the (fictional) realms of Westeros and Essos. Now, after seven years of fighting, back-stabbing, and killing one another, the show's remaining characters must band together to stop the Night King and his army of undead White Walkers from taking over the Seven Kingdoms.
Game of Thrones' eighth and final season will span six episodes, including four super-sized entries that run an extra 20 to 30 minutes longer than usual. Much of the season will take place at Winterfell in the North, where the armies of the living and the dead will clash in what's shaping up to be a properly epic showdown. Given what's at stake (y'know, just the fate of the world), there's a whole lot of tension in the air among Winterfell's residents... and that's before the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, comes marching in with her two remaining dragons and legion of Unsullied warriors.
HBO has released several new photos from Game of Thrones season 8 that show most of the remaining characters looking dead-serious, as Daenerys arrives in Winterfell. Among those featured here are Bran and Sansa Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright and Sophie Turner), Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), Jonah Mormont (Iain Glen), Gendry (Joe Dempsie), and Khaleesi herself (Emilia Clarke).
While everyone's on the same side for now (namely, that of the living), there's still a whole lot of tension between the residents of Winterfell. Sansa, for example, is technically breaking Stark tradition by allying with Daenerys. Meanwhile, Bran is waiting to drop a bombshell on Daenerys and her lover Jon Snow (Kit Harington), who are completely unaware that they're related and that Jon - whose real name is Aegon Targaryen - is the true heir to the Iron Throne, not Daenerys. This begs the larger question: assuming the living are able to defeat the Night King and his White Walkers, what does all this mean for the struggle to claim control of the Seven Kingdoms afterwards?
Suffice it to say, the fighting won't be over once the Battle of Winterfell is done, regardless of who's left standing and who ends up six feet under. There's also the back-burner problem that is Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), who's biding her time in the South and plotting to attack Daenerys with her mercenary army, The Golden Company of Essos, once the showdown with the Night King is all done... assuming Daenerys is still alive, anyway. But really: after seven years of blood-shed, how else could Game of Thrones conclude but with more back-stabbing, betrayal, and violence?
Game of Thrones season 8 premieres Sunday, April 14 on HBO.