HBO will make Game of Thrones fans wait until 2019 for final season

Enlarge/ We edited the front of the latest Game of Thrones HBO calendar to reflect today's final-season announcement.HBO/Aurich Lawson

Last month, HBO offered a sneak peek at series, specials, and films to expect from the cable network in 2018. But its new-year teaser reel had one obvious omission: any declaration about the future of Game of Thrones, other than a brief shot of a few series characters. It turns out that fans were right to raise their eyebrows at this reel.

HBO issued a Thursday announcement to confirm that Game of Thrones' eighth—and final—season will debut in "2019." The network didn't hint at either a month or release window. Instead, it confirmed that the season will contain six episodes and offered a list of writers and directors on board, including longtime TV series contributors David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Otherwise, the announcement contained nothing in the way of plot or character hints, let alone a trailer. The show's official Twitter feed simply told fans, "Send a raven."

The result: GoT will have its first full year off the airwaves since its 2011 debut. HBO hasn't yet announced firmer plans about an oft-rumored GoT prequel series—and, geez, there are five series possibly in the works—so it's unclear whether fans will have to wait similar amounts of time for any other TV series to kick off. Meanwhile, George R.R. Martin remains coy about whether his long-awaited book follow-up, The Winds of Winter, could arrive before HBO's final season starts.

Considering the official divergence in plot and narrative between the book and TV series, however, it could make more sense for HBO to take its bow first and let Martin's vision conclude with fewer distractions. (Martin has teased a second unreleased book, A Dream of Spring, as the print series' finale, so either way, HBO will almost certainly wrap its full-series vision first.)

HBO has hinted at plans for massive and epic episodes to wrap the series, which means the full-scale military bombast of season seven will likely be topped in 2019.

  • Determine your own fate before learning which of your favorite GoT characters will die in the eighth and final TV season via this official Tarot deck, coming in March 2018.
  • That's your choice for the Death card, HBO? I can dig it.
  • Official GoT beers will land throughout 2018 from Ommegang Brewing. The first is "a big, bold barleywine brewed for Tyrion Lannister."
  • "Music is here" is a pretty weak tagline, but this orchestral concert tour, lumbering across the globe all year and arriving in North America in September, will almost certainly be all kinds of epic.

Need additional GoT content while waiting for HBO's conclusion? I've put together a small gallery of various series-affiliated merch and distractions set to arrive by 2018's end. Hopefully, this stuff keeps your Westeros-obsessed self occupied for at least another full calendar year.

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