(Photo by Amy E. Price/Getty Images for SXSW)
We got a whole mess of information about Game of Thrones seasons 7 and 8 at this year’s South by Southwest festival. Cameos! Season length! White Walker dragons (maybe)! This week on the Small Council, we decided to have a free-for-all. Which tidbit interested you most, and why? What does it portend, for the show or otherwise?
Warning: Razor’s entry contains slight SPOILERS.
DAN: Why does juicy information always come at once? Not half a week after HBO debuts a premiere date and teaser for season 7, showrunners David Benioff and Weiss drop all kinds of info nuggets at SXSW. In the interest of completion, let’s hit the highlights.
- As suspected, Game of Thrones season 8 will consist of six episodes.
- They gave us a breakdown of who’s writing what in season 8: Dave Hill will write Episode 1, Bryan Cogman Episode 2, and Benioff and Weiss will save the final four for themselves.
- Someone asked Benioff if it was possible for a White Walker to control a dragon. His response: “Maybe.” Ooooooooh.
- A Game of Thrones spinoff or prequel may well happen, but Benioff and Weiss probably won’t be involved.
- Ed Sheeran will have a cameo appearance in season 7. Weird as it sounds, this is just a higher-profile version of the show’s well-known predilection for giving cameos to musicians.
And some of the less surprising highlights:
- Tyrion will have the best line of dialogue in season 7. Well…yeah.
- Three visual effects teams worked simultaneously on season 7. Prettiness is coming.
- Maisie Williams made a little joke about Sansa dying, but I wouldn’t read too deeply into it. She was just having a laugh.
Of all the news up there, the most notable is probably the bit about season 8 only having six episodes. I mean, we’ve basically known that for a while, but it’s good to have confirmation. Or terrible, depending on your point of view.
Look at it this way: if Game of Thrones season 6 was a loose (like, extremely loose) adaptation of The Winds of Winter, then seasons 7 and 8 can serve as a 13-episode adaptation of A Dream of Spring. Back in the day, the show adapted one book per season, and this way there’ll be three extra episodes. We’re actually getting more than we expected.
I know there are lots of holes in that analogy, but I’m trying to head off complaints that we’re being gipped because the final two seasons won’t be 10 episodes apiece. I’ve made plenty of peace with it. Now it’s all about looking forward to July 16.
— Game Of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) March 9, 2017
SARAH: First off, I’m wildly jealous of everyone who got to go to the panel because Arya and Sansa are my favorite characters, and I adore Maisie and Sophie. If I could give Corey the evils for getting to go and look upon their fair visages, I would. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet three GoT cast members so far and I even got a very long hug from Daniel Portman (he wanted to make it awkward), but meeting Maisie is my ultimate stalker goal. (Yes, I just did a shameless name-drop. Apologies.)
Now to talk about something people care about. Regarding the information from the panel, I actually don’t think we’ve learned anything that we didn’t already know or assume. The confirmation of season 8’s six-episode run has upset people, but it doesn’t bother me at all. D&D think that six episodes is enough and I trust their judgement despite their past missteps (Dorne), dubious decisions (Dorne), and complete failures (Dorne).
Consider this — the Starks have Winterfell. Cersei is at war with Dorne and the Reach. Daenerys is making her merry way towards a storm of catastrophes in blissful ignorance. With every character in position, more or less, there’s not that much left to do besides confront the White Walkers and settle the country’s fate. How long will the final battle against the Walkers take? One episode? Two? I’m confident that the show can wrap up in thirteen episodes and I’m jazzed about it. We’ve been given one more year of hype to look forward to.
Something that made me laugh was news of Ed Sheeran’s cameo. I only know a couple of his songs, but as a fellow ginger, I firmly believe that Game of Thrones can never have enough redheads. We know that he was cast as a surprise for Maisie Williams, who is a huge fan, so I think it’s likely that they’ll share a scene. That leads me to suspect that he’s playing one of the many Frey children, and that Arya will dispose of him in a characteristically horrifying manner.
RICHARD: It still boggles my mind that D&D think they can wrap this all up in 13 episodes. But then again, HBO gave them carte blanche, so this must be exactly what they need, and I should be thankful they’re not milking the cash cow by generating 20 episodes packed with filler. I find comfort in Dan’s interpretation of the 13 remaining episodes being a lavish adaptation of A Dream of Spring, and my own personal vision of a White Walker dragon.
But I really want 20 episodes. It’s not based on logic. I just do. I’m already waiting years ahead of reality for the sequel/spinoff announcements to start coming. Eight seasons of Game of Thrones: Robert’s Rebellion will suit me just fine. Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) ought to do it.
COREY: First off, I should say that I was there for the Game of Thrones panel, along with many panels before that, and nothing was generating the chatter that Game of Thrones was. I heard former Vice President Joe Biden’s name a few times in the hallways of the convention center, but Game of Thrones had all the buzz. The three previous panels held in the same hall ran about at about 25% capacity, while Game of Thrones didn’t have an empty seat.
As for the panel itself, there wasn’t so much news as confirmation of things we already knew, or at least suspected. That’s not to say that it wasn’t exciting, because it was. Benioff and Weiss come across as quite the pair, with Benioff being the diplomat and Weiss maintaining a hard exterior. Likewise with Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner, Turner shines as the more charismatic of the two. Williams joke about Sansa dying in season 7 was rather hilarious in person, but it was odd to see some fans running with it and taking it as fact.
Ed Sheeran appearing on the show? Yawn. He’s likely to be in the background of some large group shot, so it’s hard to get excited about something like that. I had held out hope that season 8 might end up being more than six episodes, but it seems Benioff and Weiss have a pretty clear plan in mind at this point. The on-set stories the duo shared were fun to hear, but I would have preferred more about the last two seasons of the show, even if I should have known better than to expect loose lips from the showrunners.
It might sound like I’m complaining, but the panel was a ton of fun. Balancing my Ipad on one leg, a notepad on the other, and my phone in hand was rather tricky, but it was worth it. If Game of Thrones does a panel next year, I will once again forgo bathroom breaks and lunch to be in the front row.
RAZOR: I usually don’t get overly excited about these conventions that take place months in advance of the next season, even when the showrunners and two main cast members appear on stage. The usual questions were asked, and the usual dodging answers were given. I did not expect a trailer or any sort of footage, nor did I expect Benioff or Weiss to give us any juicy morsels to help pass the time until July 16 and the premiere of season 7.
However, I was intrigued by the non-answer Dan Weiss gave regarding the ice dragon. We’ve heard spoilery rumors about the Night King raising a dragon from the dead, and to have Weiss play coy with his answer makes me wonder if it will actually happen. Since we now know that Daenerys’ dragons will be the size of Boeing 747s come July, to have one of her own slain and raised to be used against her would certainly even the playing field.