Winter is coming this summer, as the season 7 premiere date for HBO’s massive hit has finally been revealed.
The seventh and penultimate season will premiere on July 16.
The announcement was made in an elaborate reveal on a live video on the show’s Facebook page watched by over 150,000 fans, as a block of ice was melted by a flaming torch. Fans were encouraged to leave comments with the word “fire” and “dracarys” to speed up the melting; the reveal was also interspersed with short videos of the show’s stars like Alfie Allen breathing fire.
Much to fans’ frustration, the first iteration of the live video — which was scheduled for 11amPT — ended abruptly with no reveal of the date, prompting many Twitter jokes about “Sopranos”-like endings. A second version ended without a reveal as well.
According to a source familiar with the situation, the failures with the “GOT” live-streams were not due to Facebook’s systems being unable to handle the load. In the past, Facebook Live has handled much higher-volume broadcasts. The source said Facebook’s engineering teams were in the process of determining the cause of the outages.
Production on the show delayed the premiere of the series past its usual April start date, in order to capture the weather the producers wanted. “Now that winter has arrived on ‘Game of Thrones,’ executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss felt that the storylines of the next season would be better served by starting production a little later than usual, when the weather is changing,” said Casey Bloys, HBO programming president. Production was based in Northern Ireland, with additional portions filmed in Spain and Iceland.
The later airdate means that Season 7 will miss the eligibility window for the upcoming 2017 Emmys. “Game of Thrones” scored 23 Emmy nominations last year, winning 12 total, including best drama.
Season 7 will consist of seven episodes, as Variety first reported, with Season 8 expected to be somewhere between 6 or 8 episodes.
HBO also released a new trailer for the season. “I know what my father was, what he did. I know the Mad King earned his name,” says Daenerys.
A variety of voices then follows, “Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell — they’re all just spokes on a wheel,” says Cersei. “This one’s on top, then that one’s on top, and on and on it spins. Crushing those on the ground.”
And it ends with an ominous message: “There’s only one war that matters: the great war. And it is here.”
While details of the upcoming season are as scarce as always, a new poster teases a “fire vs. ice” theme.
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