Breaking news that is neither breaking or newsy: Game Of Thrones is a big undertaking. This is because the show's source material, the Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R. R. Martin, is an even bigger undertaking. Such a big undertaking, in fact, that sometimes it has seemed like they could stretch the HBO series out into eternity if they wanted. Alas, there actually is some news on the Game Of Thrones front: Executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss say they've got a seven season goal for Game Of Thrones .
This is something that's been hinted at before, and a goal that makes a lot of sense: There's only so long a television audience will stick with a show past a certain point, especially when that show relies so heavily on young actors who are already growing alarmingly fast (as kids do). There's always been an unspoken expiration date, so it's kind of nice to have a spoken one. It also means that where we are now — going into Season 4 — is both a midpoint and, hopefully, a turning point for the series.
“It feels like this is the midpoint for us,” Benioff said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly regarding the goal. “If we’re going to go seven seasons, which is the plan, season 4 is right down the middle, the pivot point.” He continued about the seventh season's symbolism:
I would say it’s the goal we’ve had from the beginning. It was our unstated goal, because to start on a show and say your goal is seven seasons is the height of lunacy. Once we got to the point where we felt like we’re going to be able to tell this tale to its conclusion, that became [an even clearer] goal. Seven gods, seven kingdoms, seven seasons. It feels right to us.
Some challenges are automatically evident with a seven season goal, of course: There was already an abundance of material that would have been difficult to fit into the show from the (rather lengthy) books, and now there's even more. Further... the books aren't even finished yet.
Benioff and Weiss have been made privy to the plot points of the ending by Martin, but what happens if the storylines of the show — which due to their medium require brevity and forward momentum in a way the books do not — meet the stopping point of the published material? There are two unpublished books yet to come (The Winds Of Winter and A Dream Of Spring), the first of which isn't expected to arrive before 2015.
I guess we'll have to wait and see.