More than a year and a half has passed since the seventh season of Game of Thrones came to an end, and the finale was packed with so many long-awaited twists that this long hiatus has been all but painful. How could the show deliver confirmation that Jon is first in the Targaryen line of succession (and hooking up with his aunt), kill off Littlefinger, and take down The Wall to advance the White Walkers into the North, and not expect viewers to go crazy with a long wait?
As a fan who also gets to write about the show on a regular basis, I spent months hoping against hope for the smallest bit of new footage, and even releases like the Winterfell crypt video that clearly weren't going to be part of Season 8 were thrilling. When the new trailer hit, I was among the many viewers watching and rewatching to pick clues out of the mostly context-free preview. The small bits of footage to release since then have received much the same treatment.
Now, with the April 14 premiere of Season 8 finally days rather than months away, I say that the time has come for Game of Thrones to stop releasing new footage of the eighth and final season. That's something I never dreamed I'd argue back when we were starved for content, but here's why I've changed my tune.
We Can Make It The Rest Of The Way
Game of Thrones hasn't aired a single new episode since way back in August 2017. The wait hasn't been easy, especially in the weeks immediately following the Season 7 finale and the days surrounding each crumb of information that has been released. The show held off an almost absurdly long time on showing any substantial footage at all, and yet the fandom is alive and antsy for the new season. Of course we are. This is Game of Thrones!
We've waited this long for Season 8, and we know just enough about how it starts, how huge the battle is going to be, and what it's going to look like to fuel us for the rest of the brief wait before April 14 at 9 p.m. ET. If fans have lasted this long without losing interest (or their minds), then the last days before the premiere can be endured without footage beyond what has already been released, analyzed, and theorized about.
As fans, we've survived what amounts to the Long Winter of hiatuses, and we can continue to wait a little longer. Besides, we can always just reflect on how long readers have been waiting for the sixth book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire saga. By this point, I feel like Game of Thrones prequel will be out before Winds of Winter!
We Wouldn't Learn Much More
What footage has released so far has mostly been without context, showing off things that fans could have figured out themselves based on where Season 7 left off. We see Cersei scheming, dragons flying, armies marching, many of the key players at Winterfell. We see White Walkers and wights on the move.
Have we learned some things? Sure. The trailer confirmed the survival of a couple of characters, as well as that Gendry was not sent off on another rowboat after making the run back to Eastwatch in Season 7. But what little more that releases now that we're so close to the premiere is probably not necessary.
Take one of the recent smaller trailers as an example. In what was admittedly just a quick shot, viewers got a look at what must be the long-awaited reunion between Jon and Arya. Once the excitement of seeing that shot wore off, however, I was a bit disappointed that even part of the scene was spoiled ahead of time. Seeing the whole thing for the first time might have been better than the quick glimpse, and I'm not the only one who kinda wishes that had been kept wholly under wraps.
What little more we might learn might just not be worth it. Context is coming soon. We just have to last a little longer before learning lots more.
We Can Stop Theorizing
Thanks to seven seasons, five books of source material, and more than a year and a half of hiatus, fans have had plenty of time and means to come up with theories about what's in store.
I'm as guilty of it as any, as I've come up with some theories I'm pretty set on, and some are definitely more likely than others. There's at least one that I won't give up on until the final credits roll. I don't think any of us need any more theories, and I doubt that Game of Thrones is going to reveal anything solid to give away the game.
Anything we come up with based on footage that HBO allows to be released at this point probably won't be too accurate. This is the show that found a way to take down drones to prevent spoilers from getting out. Are any big clues about who ends up dead, who ends up in love, and who ends up on (or not on) the Iron Throne really going to be dropped this close to the premiere date?
Besides, fewer new trailers means less grasping at straws. I'll admit that when I saw the recent video showing off iconic weapons and items in the snow in Winterfell, my first thought was whether the shot of an abandoned Needle was payoff on a foreshadowing line from the first book in the saga. My second thought was that I really need to stop watching these trailers and trying to make connections that aren't there.
We're All Going To Watch Already
Let's face it: Game of Thrones could have released absolutely no trailers at all and just put it out there that the new season would premiere on April 14, and plenty of people would have tuned in. Game of Thrones is a rare show that continued to grow its ratings as the seasons passed, and how many folks who have been following the saga this long are going to give up with only six episodes left?
The trailer set a huge new viewing record for HBO, which we can probably take as a sign that the show will be setting ratings records once it gets back into gear. Game of Thrones could go radio silent for the next seven weeks other than the new episodes, and it would do just fine. Fans on social media alone generate plenty of buzz.
The show can simply stop releasing new videos -- or new cuts of existing footage that seem at first like exciting new trailers -- and still count on a massive audience. We're going to watch. Why not hold off on releasing new footage and spoilers?
None of this is to say that I'll refuse to watch any new trailers that release. By this point, I know perfectly well that I probably won't hesitate to click on the new video and see what else I can try to figure out about the new season. I would probably even find new evidence -- or "evidence," as it were -- to support my theory that Game of Thrones will end with nobody on the Iron Throne and the invention of democracy.
But if Game of Thrones doesn't test my resolve with new trailers, I'll be perfectly fine, and I can spend the rest of the wait for Season 8 thinking about everything we know so far. Be sure to check out our rundown of details about what has been released if you want to bone up on Thrones ahead of the premiere on April 14.