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The end is nigh for Game of Thrones, and fans have to prepare themselves for however the saga manages to wrap itself up in the reduced number of episodes that remain before the final credits roll. The show will conclude after its eighth season. If George R.R. Martin had his way, however, Game of Thrones would have lasted for way longer than just those eight seasons. The A Song of Ice and Fire author had this to say about how much longer the HBO saga could have run before running out of steam:
We could've gone 11, 12, 13 seasons. David and Dan have been saying for like five seasons that seven seasons is all they would go. We got them to go to eight but not any more than that. There was a period like five years ago when they were saying seven seasons and I was saying 10 seasons and they won, they're the ones actually working on it.
While George R.R. Martin would have Game of Thrones going on for at least another three seasons if he had the ultimate say in the series' longevity, his comments to Variety indicate that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss were adamant that the Seven Kingdoms action end sooner. The showrunners once stated that they would end the series after seven seasons -- which made a great deal of sense back when it was still somewhat feasible that there would be at least six of the seven planned A Song of Ice and Fire novels available as detailed source material -- but upped that to eight. It's worth noting that both of those final two seasons had reduced episode orders.
At least the eight season total is a bit of a compromise between what George R.R. Martin (and likely HBO, what with Game of Thrones as their highest-profile and most popular series) wanted and what David Benioff and Dan Weiss felt comfortable doing. As much as fans would undoubtedly keep tuning in for however much longer the series could have run beyond eight seasons, it may be for the best that Benioff and Weiss don't have to stretch the story out further than they'd like. Besides, more than half of the Seven Kingdoms are already in shambles, and the army of ice zombies approaches from the North. If the showrunners had needed to stretch the story more, either Dany might still be over in Essos or Game of Thrones would be out of Kingdoms by the end!
I do have to wonder if David Benioff and Dan Weiss would have felt differently if they hadn't run out of source material. Fans have been waiting for the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire book series since 2011, and despite Martin's occasional suggestions that The Winds of Winter would be coming soon, there's still no end to the wait in sight. Although Martin has given the showrunners some details about how the story is eventually going to end, they've had to literally go off-book for a few years now. Maybe Game of Thrones would have lasted longer if more books were available.
We'll likely never know. At this point, we can only cross our fingers and hope that Game of Thrones Season 8 arrives sooner rather than later in 2019. Only a quick glimpse of new footage has released, and Kit Harington's hair indicates that reshoots aren't out of the realm of possibility. The good news is that there are some fun options coming to primetime in the fall lineup in the not-too-distant future.