Game of Thrones' final season is still months away, with the final six episodes not arriving until spring of 2019. But with Halloween over, winter is coming, and with it the first significant details of what went into making the final season of the biggest show on the planet. This week, fans got not only their first image from the final episodes but details about Game Of Thrones' finale battle, which has been described as "epic," and the most expansive ever seen on either the big or small screen.
But with so many spoilers having to be kept under wraps, little is known about the battle itself save one thing: The clues been in front of viewer's faces the whole time.
According to Entertainment Weekly, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss had fudged the size and scope of the way the story ended when first pitching the show to HBO. Benioff admits:
The lie we told is the show is contained and it’s about the characters. The worlds get so big, the battles get so massive.
But though size and scale enter into it, what really matters is everything at the end ties into the beginning:
Author George R.R. Martin, whose series of novels forms the basis for Thrones, had revealed to the duo the broad strokes of how his Song of Ice and Fire saga secretly ends, including a description of an epic final battle that’s been teased from the show’s very first scene.
The opening scene of Game of Thrones, above, focused on a moment north of the Wall. It is taken directly from the first novel's opening prologue, as Gared, Will, and Ser Waymar Royce, three rangers from the Night's Watch, head out to track a band of wildling raiders in the forest not far from Castle Black. Will stumbles across a terrible scene where White Walkers have dismembered wildings into a pattern in the snow, Royce sneers at him, but it's to his detriment not to listen. But the end of the scene, wights have risen up and killed him. Will runs for his life.
The next time we see him, Ned Stark beheads him for desertion.
Since then, Game of Thrones has traveled hither and yon, across the Narrow Sea and back again, all the way to Dorne's southern seas and all the way back North where the story began in Winterfell. But the real enemy has always been the one Will encountered in the very first scene. Despite the distractions of the games for power people play in King's Landing, in the end, it's this threat everyone will have to face, from Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen to Sansa Stark and Cersei Lannister.
The only question is how the characters will respond. Who will foolishly ignore it like Royce? Will they turn and face the enemy and die, trying to take them down? Or will they turn tail like Will and run?
Game of Thrones Season 8 is expected to arrive sometime in the first half of 2019.