After six seasons of being told that "winter is coming," winter is indeed finally here (on TV at least). Game Of Thrones Season 7 premieres this Sunday, July 7 at 9 p.m. on HBO. The epic George R. R. Martin book series turned Emmy winning television show has gripped audiences since it premiered in 2011. What began as a myriad of separate character stories, has become one intricately woven tale of power, consequences, and the ultimate fight between good and evil. Though fans may want the show to extend forever, the series is actually pretty close to a conclusion. How many episodes does Game Of Thrones Season 7 have? According to Entertainment Weekly, the season is a bit shorter than usual, clocking in at only seven episodes.
Every season of Game Of Thrones up until this point has been 10 episodes long. The decision to split the final 13 episodes into two seasons of seven and six episodes respectively is a break from tradition for the series — but for fans who don't want it to end, maybe a more welcome choice.
For creators David Benioff and D.B Weiss, the choice to limit Season 7 to seven episodes came out of a desire for a conclusive end. As Benioff told Deadline:
"It’s two more seasons we’re talking about. From pretty close to the beginning, we talked about doing this in 70-75 hours, and that’s what we’ll end up with. Call it 73 for now... We’re trying to tell one cohesive story with a beginning, middle and end. As Dan (Weiss) said, we’ve known the end for quite some time and we’re hurtling towards it."
With the book series as a guide, the map of the story has been written for quite some time. Even though the book series isn't fully published yet, author George R.R Martin has had personal conversations with the creators, detailing his vision for the end. In 2014, Benioff spoke to Vanity Fair about getting all the info about the end from Martin.
"Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be. If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character."
So, it seems that the show creators have been writing towards a specific end since the very beginning.
And, while the show might have the fan power to last longer, the creators believe it's better to go out on a high than a low. As Weiss said to Deadline, "Like President Obama, we want to leave while all the people watching this show are really into it. Get out at a high point and not have it be, well thank god that’s over."
And, if you're worried about there not being that many episodes to bask in this season, fret not. Some of this season's episodes will even be longer than ever before, which helps make up for the shorter season. In the same Entertainment Weekly article from above, Benioff said of Season 7's episodes, "One will be our longest episode ever — it’s coming in around 90 minutes." So, you're basically getting a Game of Thrones movie at that point.
For fans that want to keep the fun going long after Season 8, there's also hope. There have been rumors of spinoff series almost since the show began, and HBO president of programming Casey Bloys spoke to Rolling Stone about the future of the show in a way that should please fans.
"Making Game of Thrones as good as possible is the Number One goal, and then we'll see about these [spinoff] scripts. You're not going to see a situation where the next show in the Thrones universe launches off the back of this one ... The bar set is so high that my hope is to get one show that lives up to it."
Our world may be in the middle of summer, but in Game Of Thrones, it's about to get real chilly. It may only be seven episodes but Season 7 is sure to be just as good as those that have come before it. So settle in and watch it all unfold.