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game of thrones season 7 jon snow hbo

HBO's mega-hit Game of Thrones has been off the air for more than a year now, and fans are still months away from getting any new episodes. Details about what's to come have been relatively scarce, but HBO chief Richard Plepler is one who has already seen all six installments that will comprise the eighth and final season. While Plepler obviously isn't going to drop tons of spoilers about what's in store, he shared his thoughts on what he got to see:

It's a spectacle. The guys have done six movies. The reaction I had while watching them was 'I'm watching a movie. [David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] knew the bar was high. They've exceeded the bar. I've watched them twice without any CGI and I'm in awe. Everybody's in for an extraordinary treat of storytelling and of magical, magical production.

Any fans who were bummed at the news that Game of Thrones' final season would also be its shortest should be relieved by Richard Plepler's recent comments to Variety. The prospect of six movies rather than six regular episodes of television is worth getting excited about, even if we don't yet know what those "movies" are going to be about. Expectations have been building throughout the series' longest hiatus to date; it sounds like executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss didn't hold back in producing something epic.

The news that Richard Plepler viewed the final six episodes without CGI and was still blown away certainly has me intrigued. Although Game of Thrones certainly has a lot going for it beyond special effects, a lot of the biggest sequences in recent years have required dragons and/or ice zombies. There was even a zombie polar bear in Season 7 that wasn't exactly created by the show putting makeup on a real bear.

Bonus footage that has been released in years past proved that Dany on a dragon looks pretty silly without CGI, and Season 7's epic loot train attack that saw Drogon unleashed on the Seven Kingdoms for the first time was not quite as impactful without the special effects. However Game of Thrones handled its Season 8 sequences that will require special effects, they clearly were impressive enough in their own right for Richard Plelper to enjoy the ride.

One huge battle sequence will undoubtedly have at least some practical effects, as the set involved was reported burning by folks in the surrounding area, and Game of Thrones uses real people for its battles rather than CGI warriors. I'd be interested in seeing footage without the effects added in, although ideally not until after I'd seen the finished product.

Once Thrones is over, I'll take any content I can get. It will likely be a while before the prequel, and there's no saying when George R.R. Martin will get around to finishing Winds of Winter. The second volume of his newest published project doesn't have a release date yet.

A very quick clip of Season 8 released recently as part of a larger HBO programming trailer, and it showed Sansa yielding Winterfell to Dany (and Jon), and the Lady of Winterfell didn't look 100% thrilled about it. The context for that scene should be explained early in Season 8, as we already know how the season will begin.

Game of Thrones will premiere Season 8 on HBO in April 2019. For some viewing options in the meantime, check out our midseason TV premiere schedule.