Arya Stark in the Season 7 trailer

The summer months are an interesting time for avid TV watchers, as most shows are on hiatus. But then there are massively popular series that run exclusively during the summer, like HBO's megahit Game of Thrones. And while Games' millions of fans are dismayed at the shorter episode count for its next two seasons, there may be a silver lining that will make the community very happy. Because Season 7 may end up containing longer episodes, starting with the untitled premiere episode. Because Season 7's premiere will be the show's longest premiere episode since the very first episode.

This news coms to us from the Independent, which reports that Season 7's first episode will run for 59 minutes. This is nearly ten minutes longer than last season's premiere "The Red Woman", which picked up immediately after Jon Snow was stabbed to death by members of the Night's Watch. And with Dany finally sailing to Westeros, it seems like a great time for an extra long season opener. Plus, longer episodes will help Season 7 feel just as epic as its first six, thus quenching fan thirst for blood and drama.

News of Game of Thrones' extended episode is sure to delight the fandom, and will hopefully be a sign of things to come over the course of Season 7. The cast of Game have admitted to having more work to do (and therefore more screen time) this season, as there are less characters and settings to explore in the soon to be completed series. So perhaps the entire season's episodes will be extended, thus making the shorter episode count an easier pill to swallow.

It does seem like the folks behind Game of Thrones are cognizant of fan reaction. Toward the middle of its long tenure, the series suffered a bit from a pacing problem. The large ensemble cast was spread across various locations in Westeros, and it seemed like crossovers and reunions would never happen. But Season 6 broke the mold in many ways; Sansa and Jon finally reunited, Arya returned to Westeros from Braavos, and Dany set sail to conquer the kingdom. And although some critics claimed these plot points were just fan service, it helped to validate the community that has been supporting the series for years.

With just two short season of Game of Thrones left, we should expect the action to be fairly non stop. The cast has already revealed that Season 7 will be a far quicker paced outing than the rest of the show's long run, and the trailer has teased plenty of war sequences and dragon action. And if the new episodes are consistently extended (similar to what The Walking Dead did this year), then fans should be able to grapple with the shorter episode count and the show's eventual conclusion.

Game of Thrones will return for Season 7 on July 16th, 2017. Be sure to check our summer premiere list to plan your next binge watch.

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