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It's a bit depressing to think about, but each day brings us closer to the end of HBO's Game of Thrones. The fantasy series is one of the most popular shows on TV, with fans of George R.R. Martin's novels having followed the characters for decades. And with just a handful of episodes left before the Great Game ends, fans are eager to know what to expect when Season 8 premiers sometime in 2019. And while the overall plot is still very much a mystery, two more characters have just been announced to return in the final season: Ned Umber and Alys Karstark.
Ned Umber and Alys Karstark (played by child actors Harry Grasby and Megan Parkinson), made their Game of Thrones debut in the first episode of Season 7. After being named the King of the North, Jon Snow is holding court in Winterfell with the Northern Houses. After defecting to House Bolton in the wake of the Red Wedding, Smalljon Umber and Harald Karstark died during the Battle of the Bastards. As such, the new younger heirs gained power over their Great Houses, and once again pledged fealty to Winterfell, and Jon Snow.
This report from Watchers on the Wall is sure to be exciting for fans of Winterfell, and the drama that occurs between the Northern Houses. While we're constantly being reminded that "The North remembers", they don't always do the right thing. The Red Wedding shook the entire area of Westeros, as the Boltons were rewarded as Wardens of the North by House Lannister after massacring the Starks at The Twins.
The North is about to go through the ringer once again, if the cliffhanger ending of Season 7's finale is any indication. The Night King now has a zombified dragon, and was able to blow a hole through The Wall. With the dead now able to descend upon Westeros proper, Winterfell seems like it's going to be right in the line of fire. Luckily, Jon, Dany and her other two dragons are headed back up North, and will hopefully be able to save their many supporters in the Stark stronghold. But how the Northern Houses respond to this unprecedented danger will no doubt be fascinating. Perhaps Ned Umber and Alys Karstark will take up arms along pint sized badass Lyanna Mormont and defend their home from wights.
Unfortunately, Game of Thrones fans will have to wait quite some time before we get any answers about the eighth and final season. The series is looking poised for a 2019 premiere, as early reports from the cast have indicated the series will be shooting through the end of the summer. The pressure is on for HBO to end Game with a satisfying conclusion, so hopefully Season 8 will be worth the wait.