Since 2011, the internet has had a reliable yearly obsession: Game of Thrones. For ten glorious weeks every year, fans have deliberated, debated, and argued over the minutiae of the series, how it relates to the novels, and what will happen next. But 2018 will bring us something new: A Year Without GoT. This is our test-run to experience what it will be like after 2019 comes and the last six episodes air and the show ends for good. Fans aren't the only ones having feelings over this, either. Many of the actors, like Kit Harington, talk about the end of Game Of Thrones like it's the end of an era.
Harington feeling like it's a major milestone in his life for the show to end is understandable. He was fresh out of college when he was hired to play Jon Snow in the original pilot in 2009. He turns 31 this week. (Happy birthday!) He's getting married in a few months to Rose Leslie, whom he met on the set of the series.
Harington has effectively spent the first decade of his adult life working on the biggest show on the planet, with all the fame and economic security that entails. For that to finally go away must be akin to stepping off a cliff, and starting one's adult life all over again.
Speaking to Deadline, Harington admitted this was harder than he expected.
You know I wasn’t quite cynical about things, I’m quite straightforward and English. But, really, eight years of your life is a long time to connect with anything. I didn’t know at the beginning if this would be a show that no one would watch or if it would be a show that a lot of people would watch. And I’ve never been in a situation, a show, that’s lasted this long. In my life it’s pretty significant thing that’s happened to me, and coming to the end of it is understandably quite emotional.
Harington is also extremely nervous about the way the show ends. Not because of the writing, or any plot twist that might get fans up in arms. But in comparison to some of the other actors, Harington's role has always been sort of stiff and dour. (Jon Snow famously never seems to smile.) This has lead to the perception, rightly or wrongly, that he's not nearly as good an actor as some of his counterparts. (Emilia Clarke also gets this critique. It's part and parcel with being the straight lead in an ensemble piece surrounded by character actors.)
For him to stick the landing, as it were, is a high stakes, high-pressure situation. He's worried that he might screw it up.
Whereas before, every year there’s always been a bit of pressure, this season is one where we could easily let people down. Obviously, we don’t want to do that so we’re very much stepping up everyone’s game which is very apparent, at least to me.
Of course, what he's worried about screwing up is anyone's guess. Despite a few rumored leaks here and there, the series has done very well so far in keeping the plot of Season 8 under wraps. Harington is an old hand at not giving away any details. All he'll say is that filming is proceeding apace.
These days are long and a grind but we’ve got the first section out of the way, and all is well.
Filming crews have been spotted at the Winterfell set, and a replica of the streets of King's Landing still rises in Titanic studios. Game of Thrones Season 8 is expected to continue filming through the spring of 2018, with the final six episodes arriving sometime in 2019 on HBO.