Hold onto your swords, Thronies, because we finally have our first look at Game of Thrones' final season. While HBO has stayed mum about when Season 8 is hitting our screens, Entertainment Weekly has featured a new photo of Jon Snow and Daenerys on its most recent cover, and the shot of the characters cuddling in fur cloaks is truly chilling (no pun intended). The first Game of Thrones Season 8 picture of Dany and Jon will have you begging for the show's return ASAP.
Appearing on the cover of EW's Nov. 9 issue, the photo shows Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) staring directly at the camera and definitely wearing their best warrior faces. The photo's snowy background emphasizes the pair's wintry looks, so if your Halloween spirit is still thriving, feel free to emulate Dany's furry coat and snow-white milkmaid braid when the November temperature dips. While the picture is technically a press shot and not an official image from an upcoming episode, the duo's close embrace suggests that someone hasn't clued them in on their family connection yet. The Season 7 finale in August 2017 saw Dany and Jon consummate their relationship, but unbeknownst to them, they're actually aunt and nephew.
Still, cute photo, right?
The cover reveal subsequently sent Thronies into a frenzy on Twitter.
Although the last season of Game of Thrones includes only six episodes, the grueling filming schedule lasted 10 months, emphasizing the epic level of cinematography, costumes, and acting we should expect next year. Speaking to EW, Harington said of the lengthy shoot:
It’s relentless; scenes that would have been a one-day shoot five years ago are now a five-day shoot. They want to get it right, they want to shoot everything every single way so they have options.
Filming finally wrapped in July 2018, prompting heartfelt social media posts from several cast members. As HBO has stated the show will return in the first half of 2019, all likelihood points to the season premiere airing in March or April as per earlier seasons' schedules. But given this cover image's frosty theme, is HBO subtly hinting at a January or February release?
As for what fans can expect from the show's closing year, it's as unclear as the characters' family trees sometimes seem. The plot of the TV show no longer follows that of George R.R. Martin's original book series, and the production team even used a "drone killer" to disable any aerial devices trying to sneak photos of the Northern Ireland set. We can presumingly expect to see Dany and Jon learn that they're related, and the truth may or may not affect their feelings for each other. Based on internet theories, fans may even see Dany reveal that she's pregnant with Jon's baby.
On a deeper note, a North-bound Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) may partner with the lovers in Season 8, while the story also ought to address whether illegitimate King of the North Jon will claim his rightful throne ruling the Seven Kingdoms. Viewers are ultimately anticipating a major battle that not every character will survive, but for now, we can only rely on this cryptic Season 8 summary from executive producer Bryan Cogman, who told EW:
It's about all of these disparate characters coming together to face a common enemy, dealing with their own past, and defining the person they want to be in the face of certain death.
Here's hoping that Jon and Dany's cover image is only the first of more teaser photos to come. Season 8 of Game of Thrones premieres on HBO in 2019.