With only six episodes left until the series is over for good, Game of Thrones fans know that every minute — nay, every second — of screen time that these characters get could mean the difference between life and death. Which is why many of you will be disappointed to learn that the precise length of the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere has been revealed and will clock in at less than an hour — as will the second episode of the season as well.
According to Winter Is Coming, HBO has updated its schedule, listing the runtimes for the first two episodes, which will air on April 14 and April 21, respectively. Episode 1 of Season 8 will be a total of 54 minutes in length, while Episode 2 will come in just under the hour mark at 58 minutes. Given the super secretive nature of the show, none of the episodes have been given titles yet, but regardless, it's definitely a bummer to know that we'll be receiving less Game of Thrones content than expected.
Back in November, series director David Nutter announced during a Reddit AMA to fans that all of the episodes in Game of Thrones Season 8 would be at least 60 minutes in length. “Season 8 episodes will all I think be longer than 60 minutes," Nutter stated at the time. "They’ll be dancing around the bigger numbers, I know that for sure.” But apparently, due to the various editing that's taken place since then, that sentiment is no longer accurate anymore.
Obviously, one could argue that 54 minutes and 58 minutes are basically an hour, so what's the big deal. And normally, that's a fair assessment to make. But considering this is the final few episodes we're ever getting of Game of Thrones (at least with these particular characters at this particular point in time) every single moment counts. Think of all the wild things that have happened on this show in the past over the course of just a few minutes. (Red Wedding anyone?)
So yeah, in the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal, but there's a lot of extra content that could've been put in during an extra six minutes of the premiere. Think of all the possible dragon footage we could've been given in that time frame!
The good news is that there's a decent chance these will be the shortest episodes of the season. Back in January, an Orange Cinema Series presentation about GoT Season 8 alleged that the last four episodes would each have a runtime of 80 minutes. If that ends up being true, then those episodes should more than make up for the shorter first two episodes of the season.
At the end of the day, we simply have to trust that the creative minds behind the series know what they're doing and wouldn't edit out anything important. It's just hard to grapple with the fact that the show is ending, so the idea of any amount of footage being cut feels like a gut-punch to the heart. We'll just have to make the most of every second that is given to us and hope that our favorite characters come out on top.