2017 is most unlike past years for Game of Thrones fans, as this will be the first time we have to suffer through the beginning of summer before being allowed back into Westeros, and all for a smaller batch of episodes than we've gotten before. Unfortunately, it gets even more drastic in 2018 for Season 8, Game of Thrones' final year, and it has now been confirmed that the fantasy's swan song will last for exactly six episodes.

I know what you're thinking: six episodes can't possibly make for enough runtime to properly send Game of Thrones out on a narrative high. But there's a good chance that by the time we actually do get to Season 8, the argument will exist that it wouldn't make sense for it to be any longer. As in, there could be a mighty large excision of major characters in the also shortened Season 7, so that there aren't nearly as many people clamoring for the Throne next year.

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Because there's obviously no way a war with the White Walkers can occur without mass losses. And as the first big teaser for Season 7 has shown us, not one of the show's central Houses is safe from possibly getting destroyed in the future. Maybe that Season 8 premiere will just be one big funeral for everyone who dies gruesome deaths in this year's finale.

jon snow horseback game of thrones season 6

Of course, many fans are hoping that fewer episodes doesn't necessarily mean a huge drop in overall story, and that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will just make every episode an extended effort. Six 90-minute episodes would be like nine average-length installments, guys. That's still a shorter season.

So we now have a little more info about Season 8, thanks to the post above, which came during Game of Thrones' panel at this years SXSW festival . Still, we're waiting on something more substantial about the plot of Season 7. At this point, we basically only know who some of the new cast members will be, such as Jim Broadbent, as well as who will be stopping in for a cameo. We also know that the story apparently gets so intense that it made filming that much more engaging and emotionally daunting. But for me to offer up two actual plot points that will be so engaging, I would speaking without any proof.

In case you weren't one of the thousands of people who sat around last week watching a giant block of ice melt as slowly as is customary for giant blocks of ice, maybe you didn't see that HBO finally announced Season 7 of the epic adventure will debut on Sunday, July 16, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Fix yourself a nice cold beverage with some of that ice and head to our midseason premiere schedule to see what else is coming to your TVs soon.

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