It's hard to overemphasize the disappointment fans felt when they discovered there would be no new episodes of their favorite HBO drama in 2018. But a network executive has finally explained why Game of Thrones isn't coming back until 2019, and it's actually for a really good reason: They want to get Season 8 right. And if that means throwing some more time and money at it, then that's what they're going to do. So you can rest assured that they're aren't needlessly wasting your time or playing hard to get, or whatever else was running through your mind when you heard there would be another whole year of hiatus.
HBO Programming Chief Casey Bloys spoke to Entertainment Weekly in a story published Friday, and he had this to say to critics questioning the delay:
"Here’s what I’ll tell you: They take the time they need to do the show at its highest level of quality. As the show has gone on, it’s gotten bigger — big battle scenes, big special effects. These things take time."
It all basically comes down to one question: Do you want it done fast, or do you want it done right? Ideally, the answer would be both. But barring that, fans can probably agree that they want the show's final season to be the very best it can be. And that means that co-creators Dan "D.B." Weiss and David Benioff need to take some extra time to make sure no corners are cut or loose ends left untied. They can't leave things unresolved, and they don't have another season of wiggle room with which to explain away issues retroactively. You only get one shot at a final season, and this is theirs.
In short, all eyes are on the co-creators, and Bloys wants to reassure fans that their faith is in good hands.
"Here’s the one thing I can assure you: Dan and Dave were not sitting around on a beach waiting to go back to work. They’re perfectionists and this is the soonest it can come back at a level of quality that they are comfortable with."
As a Game of Thrones fan, it's hard to argue with that logic. Given the choice between a half-assed final six episodes in 2018 and a fully-formed, completed six episodes in 2019, the decision is clear. You're going with the latter. And even if you don't feel that way now, waiting for the episodes, you'll surely feel that way later, watching them for a second, third, or 100th time. Season 8 will be forever, and once it's made its way to your screen, you'll be glad they put the time in.
And to be fair, it's not like the creators have another option. The show gained popularity and critical acclaim for its attention to detail and far-ranging storylines, so it would be strange for them to turn their backs on those strategies now. The show has filmed everywhere from Ireland, to Malta, to Iceland, to Morocco, and taken on some of the most ambitious fight sequences in modern television.
They've populated a world with more characters than it's possible to keep track of, including multiple complicated, strong, three-dimensional women, and juggled literally dozens of storylines. They did all this while creating a show for one of the most vocal fanbases out there right now, without letting themselves get derailed by the enthusiasm fandom, or writing at a faster clip than George R.R. Martin himself, or any of the many obstacles that popped up along the way.
And that was just the first seven seasons. Season 8 will need to match everything Weiss and Benioff have done before, and find new ways of impressing an audience grown used to their tactics, not to mention wrapping up all the various storylines. All of which — it's safe to say — might take a minute.