While HBO is gearing up for its first Emmy season without Game of Thrones leading the nominations pack, Game of Thrones is gearing up to film the final run of six episodes that will conclude the saga of Westeros. Filming will not begin until next month, but ahead of the actors' arrival, there's a flurry of activity to get sets built, costumes made, props ready, and locations dressed. And a brand new Game of Thrones Season 8 photo of one of those set pieces has now surfaced, bringing with it speculation of what it could mean for the final season.
The following photo was snapped at Titanic Studios in Belfast, Ireland, where Game of Thrones has been prepping sets both for in-house and various Irish on-set locations ever since production started back in 2010. Outside one of the sound stages, an eagle-eyed fan spotted not one, but three huts — two on the smaller end and one larger.
There's only one image that made it to the net, of the smaller hut, but for those familiar with the building codes on the Great Grass Sea, as well as those in the town of Vaes Dothrak, these will look highly familiar.
That is a Dothraki hut, the kind we last saw back in Season 6 when Daenerys was taken to the Vaes Dothrak to live out her life in endless widowhood. The third larger hut, it is suggested, looks not unlike the one we saw Dany burn down, and all the Khals with it.
So what gives?
Well, Dany is bringing along her entire Dothraki horde to Winterfell next season, even if they're riding across the Riverlands and she and Jon are taking a boat. Winterfell is currently under a snow emergency warning for the next several years, and while the keep is spacious enough that those who live in Wintertown supposedly can all come in and use it as an emergency shelter, it's not really equipped to house 40,000 Dothraki screamers.
What they need is an open field -- the kind that conveniently surrounds Winterfell. But in the snowbound conditions, tents are not going to hold up. What the Dothraki are going to need, especially if they're not going to be moving on immediately to fight the Night King, are several thousand units of affordable housing, stat.
If we're seeing Dothraki huts being built for the horde outside the Winterfell walls, that suggests that Jon Snow isn't planning to use Winterfell as a pit stop on the way to fight the Army of the Dead. The Dothraki are quick builders, having lived nomadic lifestyles, but huts like these suggest a more semi-permanent residency.
If Dany's army is planting roots at Winterfell, does this mean that Jon is going to hole up in the place where it all started to face the end of the world? It would make sense, story-wise. Winterfell has always been positioned as one of the most important locations in Westeros. And, Jon just fought a battle to take it back, so he's probably pretty eager to use it. It's why he originally agreed to help Sansa -- he wanted Winterfell as a base of operations to fight the Night King.
With Jon's true identity probably coming out in the first episode of the final season, if not the second, he and Dany are going to have an issue of who is the rightful heir to the throne. My assumption was that Dany would take off, with her forces but without Jon, in a rage.
But if the Dothraki aren't going, does that mean someone (maybe Sansa?) will talk political reason into the angry Mother of Dragons and convince her to stay and fight? And then, once that's over, they can argue about who gets that ugly chair? Let's hope this is proof of that.