Game of Thrones has spent so long stalling potential plots that it was beginning to seem like the show would never come to an end. Season 6 saw some of those plots start moving at last, and the finale featured most of the main players passing points of no return. Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss had previously stated that they were only looking for two shortened seasons after Season 6, and the end finally seems relatively nigh. According to Benioff in the wake of the Season 6 finale, they have big reasons for ending the series sooner rather than later.
In a chat with Deadline, David Benioff had this to say about the decision to end Game of Thrones after Season 8:
So there we have it. The showrunners haven't decided to end Game of Thrones because they're tired of the world of Westeros or because they feel they're running out of story to invent for the characters. David Benioff and Dan Weiss want to tell a complete story that doesn't needlessly meander for the sake of producing as many episodes as possible. HBO programming chief Michael Lombardo had previously said that the network was hoping that the showrunners would come around and agree to more of the wildly successful series, but it looks like Benioff and Weiss are sticking to their guns about Season 8 being the end.
David Benioff had more to say about how many episodes are left and why the Season 6 finale took them past a point of no return:
Considering that we've had sixty hours of Game of Thrones over the first six seasons, only getting thirteen episodes combined for the last two seasons sounds painfully short. We should only be in for seven next year. Still, if David Benioff and Dan Weiss can squeeze everything they need to into those final thirteen, it should be best to conclusively end rather than drag out the finale. A Season 8 conclusion is slightly unfortunate for A Song of Ice and Fire book fans who have been hoping for new material before the show ends. Two more years sounds like plenty of time for George R. R. Martin to churn out the next installment in the saga, but he's already kept us waiting for five years. It's not hard to imagine that Season 8 could finish before Book 6 hits the bookshelves.
Game of Thrones has only just finished Season 6, so it'll be a while before we get to see what the showrunners have in store for what looks to be the penultimate season of Game of Thrones. For a peek ahead, check out our breakdown of what we know so far about Season 7.