Game of Thrones Season 8 has a reduced episode count compared to previous seasons, which has been a bit of a point of disappointment for some fans. Now, there may be a bit of additional disappointment to be had as the official run times for episodes 1 & 2 have hit the web, and they're shorter than what was originally expected. The final season premiere clocks in at 54 minutes, and episode 2 will run for 58 minutes.
That's lower than the previously announced hour both episodes were set to run, although not by much. It's not a huge deal, of course, but it does stand to question if the remaining season's estimated 80 minute run times will actually be shorter as well. That's certainly a possibility, given neither of these episodes exceeded their hour mark. Fans can still hope but not assume the remaining season episodes will end up running anywhere from 72-84 minutes.
It's not quite movie length for Game of Thrones fans who expected the delays were to make each episode feature length, but it's not as bad as it sounds. With the estimated time factored in with the actual episode lengths, Game of Thrones Season 8 at max will be 7.2 hours long. In comparison, Season 7's episode run time is 7.4 hours (rounded up) and that season included the series' shortest episode "Spoils of War."
"Spoils of War" may be the most evidence Game of Thrones has to show time does not equal quality, as its "Loot Train Attack" scene with its fire stunts and masterful choreography is one of the best action sequences the HBO drama's ever done. If there are any fans worried about episode run times being shorter than advertised, this is a perfect episode to revisit to prove the best of scenes can unfold in any amount of time.
It's also important to remember the previously released run times were just estimations. It was merely a way for HBO to give a ballpark of time to block for each episode regardless of whether it was known that was going to be the actual length. Editing and other work surely knocked some lengths down, but again, the original intel on run times wasn't really for audiences to know.
Plus, there's no guarantee each episode will be shorter than its advertised time just because the first two episodes were. There's still a chance for one, two, or all four of those remaining episodes exceed the 81 minute run time of "The Dragon and the Wolf," which is the longest episode of Game of Thrones to this point. It may not go much further beyond that, but as long as the content is thrilling, who needs that record broken?