Everything you need to know about season 7 of 'Game of Thrones'
From the new trailer to dragons the size of airplanes, season 7 of Game of Thrones is finally starting to come into focus.
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
With only a few anxious months until HBO kicks off the seventh season of "Game of Thrones," the rumors are heating up as to what fans can expect from the greatest fantasy drama on television. How successful will Daenerys and her dragons be in taking on King's Landing? Will Jaime and Cersei come to blows? How will the White Walkers finally be defeated? And what in the world is Littlefinger up to?
We can't wait to receive at least a few answers to these questions and more. In the meantime, we're gathering up the latest hints and teasers available leading up to the season premiere. So check back often to read the latest on Westeros below.
Winter is coming this summer
For the first time in its six-season history, "Game of Thrones" is skipping its traditional springtime premiere in favor of a July 16th premiere date. The chief reason for the delay has nothing to do with the production and everything to do with the weather.
"We're starting a bit later because, you know, at the end of this season, winter is here, and that means that sunny weather doesn't really serve our purposes anymore," American showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss explained. "We kind of pushed everything down the line so we could get some grim, gray weather even in the sunnier places that we shoot."
Filming took place in cities and locations throughout Spain and Iceland. Like the production for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," the showrunners also took advantage of the wilds of Northern Ireland for certain scenes.
The premiere date was 'melted' live on Facebook
In an unusual but highly clever marketing move, HBO used Facebook Live to announced the premiere date of the new season. The date was etched on a slab embedded in the middle of a block of ice. In order to speed up the melting and reveal the numerals, fans were encouraged to type "DRACARYS!," the command Daenerys gives her dragons to attack, to activate two blow torches pointed at the ice. At one point, an astounding 1.5 million people were tuned in live to watch the melting unfold. Despite some initial glitches, the date was finally revealed to be July 16, 2017.
Here's the first trailer
As soon as the premiere date was announced, HBO also surprised fans with a teaser video. The short computer-animated bit features audio snippets from previous seasons, all the while showing off the various animal mascots of the warring houses of Westeros. It ends with Jon Snow saying, "There's only one war that matters. The great war. And it is here," while zooming out on the blue eye of a White Walker.
The second trailer spotlights the major players
If you want to be picky, the second trailer for S7 of "Game of Thrones" does feature some new footage. It is, however, specifically made for the promo and does little more than reference the three major players –– Cersei, Daenerys and Jon – vying for the throne.
There are a couple things to look for. For one, the song the trailer is set to is an original, eerie, remix of "Sit Down" by British rock group James with some appropriately matching lyrics.
"Having read the books, and watched the series twice, I was very excited when 'Game Of Thrones' asked to use 'Sit Down' for their preview," James member Tim Booth said in a statement. "I think the last two songs used were 'Heroes' and 'Wicked Game' – so we are in great company. We thought they would make their own version, to suit the landscape of the series, but apparently, they were attached to the original."
It's also worth noting that Daenerys is not seated on the Iron Throne, but what appears to possibly be a seat at Dragonstone; the ancient island fortress ruled by her ancestors. Nice.
The third trailer finally pulls back the curtain on Season 7
After months of patient waiting, the first real trailer for S7 of "Game of Thrones" has finally arrived. The nearly two-minute preview highlights all of the major players making plans for war, with clips of battles, dragons, and other surprises interspersed. All of it is wrapped in the overarching dread of the approaching winter and the evil that lies in its wake.
"If we don't put aside our enmities and bound together, we will die," Ser Davos Seaworth warns in the trailer, "and then it won't matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne."
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, cast members revealed that this season's pace will be dramatically different from previous chapters.
“This season is really different than any other season because it’s accelerating toward the end, a lot of stuff collides and happens much much quicker than you’re used to seeing on "Thrones," Kit Harington told EW. "It’s so different than what everybody is used to. It’s quite exciting.”
Go behind the scenes of Season 7's fashion
Leave it to HBO to turn a season seven fashion featurette into an epic easter egg hunt. Since it's release, the video has been poured over by fans interested not in the series' approach to costume design, but what the short behind-the-scenes clips might portend for our favorite characters. For instance, based on the appearance of Arya Stark's sword "Needle" in the crypt of Winterfell, it's now widely assumed that she will have a much-anticipated reunion with her sister, Sansa.
Besides learning more about the creative fashion behind HBO's fantasy drama, it's now also possible to purchase clothing inspired by the series. Los Angeles-based Elhoffer Design has created a "Dragon Queen Maxi" dress after a similar outfit worn by Daenerys Targaryen in season six. Should you want something more battle-ready, there are also plenty of shops on Etsy selling garments more suited for battling everything from dragons to white walkers.
It will feature the shortest season yet
Not only do fans of "GOT" have to wait longer to get their fix of Westeros, but it will be over almost as quickly as its begun. HBO has confirmed that season seven will, somewhat fittingly, comprise only seven episodes, down from the previous season lineup of 10. Sadly, it's only downhill from here. Season eight, the expected last season of the series, will only span a total of six episodes.
As for why HBO is truncating the series, it appears that it's a quality-over-quantity decision. There are also rumors suggesting that each episode may last longer than previously and that we may get a kind of two-hour series finale setup.
"There are 15 more hours left in 'Thrones' as we understand it, but that may change, but that’s as far as we know," Scottish actor Iain Glen told Radio Times. "I think the scale and size of the set pieces, the world that is being created it’s just getting more and more extraordinary and they feel they need that time to shoot seven hours as opposed to 10."
Some teasers are already in the wild
Game Of Thrones Season 7 Teaser pic.twitter.com/LSXausjOIW— Game of Photos (@gamofphoto) March 5, 2017
Some "In Production" teasers from HBO have managed to be smuggled online. These appear to be nothing more than behind-the-scenes shots, but that hasn't stopped the Internet from attempting to squeeze some plot details from each.
The first features Oathkeeper, one of two blades made from the sword of Ned Stark's Ice. The other shows British actress Lena Headey, who plays Cersei Lannister, getting her makeup whipped into shape while sitting on the Iron Throne. There's not much here as far as we can tell, but they're both worth watching nonetheless!
How will the Lord of Light factor in?
At the end of season six, Melisandre, a Red Priestess of the Lord of Light, had been banished from the North by Jon Snow. The character, played by Dutch actress Carice van Houten, is seen headed south to destinations unknown.
One theory has her teaming up with Thoros of Myr, Beric and the Hound. Thoros, played by British actor and comedian Paul Kaye, is a good candidate for a partnership because he's a red priest and noted warrior.
The other possibility? Melisandre finds refuge in Meereen, relying on the kindness of another Red Priestess named Kinvara. Played by actress Ania Bukstein, a rising Israeli star of the stage and cinema, Kinvara appeared briefly in season six to help Tyrion Lannister bring peace to the city. Could she possibly hold the key to helping Melisandre regain favor with the King of the North?
The first teaser poster hints at a climactic showdown
The first teaser poster from HBO for season 7 reveals the coming battle between fire and ice. You can interpret this in a variety of ways, but the most heavily embraced theory is that the fire will come from Daenerys’s dragons and the ice from the undead White Walker army. Less clear is if this battle will happen in season seven or be saved for the final stretch of episodes in season eight. Either way, based on earlier scenes of conflict, the special effects alone should rival anything we've seen from Hollywood in recent years.
The second poster hints at the cold big bad
As Cersei, Daenerys and Jon Snow all move their respective forces towards conflict, there's one major player as-yet in the shadows preparing to destroy them all. As HBO's second poster reveals, the coming of winter brings with it a supernatural evil that the major players have yet to figure out how to fully defeat. While in-fighting between the major clans seems all but inevitable, it's possible that all of the warring parties will have to come together as allies in the end to defeat the blue-eyed, undead white walkers.
The dragons will be jumbo jet-sized
Ever since the debut of Daenerys’ trio of baby dragons at the end of season 1, fans have watched in both fascination and horror as they've quickly grown in both size and appetite. And if you thought their shadow on the landscape was imposing last season, just wait until you see what's flying our way this July.
“The dragons this year are the size of 747s,” American filmmaker Matt Shakman, one of four directors helming season 7, told Entertainment Weekly. “Drogon is the biggest of the bunch – his flame is 30-feet in diameter!”
For reference, this means that each dragon will have a wing span of at least 210 feet.
George R.R. Martin is still lending a guiding hand
While the first five seasons of "Game of Thrones" mostly followed the narrative laid out by American author George R.R. Martin, last year's season six marked a departure. This is largely due to Martin's sixth book, "The Winds of Winter," taking much longer to complete than expected. Nonetheless, Martin has remained in touch with the producers and writers to provide some guidance on the final two seasons. In other words, expect at least a few more surprise moments on par with that incredible Hodor reveal in season six.
As for those fans worried the new seasons will spoil the books, don't. According to Benioff, the differences far outweigh the similarities.
“So much of what we’re doing diverges from the books at this point," he told Entertainment Weekly last May. "And while there are certain key elements that will be the same, we’re not going to talk so much about that – and I don’t think George is either. People are going to be very surprised when they read the books after the show. They’re quite divergent in so many respects for the remainder of the show."
Jim Broadbent is going to play a major role
British actor Jim Broadbent, best known for films like "Moulin Rouge!," the "Harry Potter" franchise and even Menahem Golan's "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace," will have a major role in season seven of "Thrones." While HBO generally keeps a tight lid on character details, Broadbent was more than happy to flesh out his role in an interview with ScreenCrush.
“I’m a maester, an archmaester. I’m an old professor character,” Broadbent said, adding that he shares most of his scenes with Samwell Trly, played by English actor John Bradley.
Broadbent, who scored his first Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the 2001 drama "Iris," also revealed that he will have a major scene in five of the season's seven episodes.
Singer Ed Sheeran will have a cameo
British singer Ed Sheeran is making the jump from radio (and the dance floor of every wedding over the last several years) and into the world of "Game of Thrones." During a panel at SXSW in Austin, showrunners Benioff and Weiss confirmed that Sheeran would have a guest role during one of the episodes slated for season 7. Amusingly, Sheeran's appearance was something of a gift to English actress Maisie Williams.
“For years, we tried to get Ed Sheeran on the show to surprise Maisie, and this year we finally did it,” Benioff said.
While we have no idea what Sheeran's role might be, something about his grey-blue eyes has us thinking he'd make the perfect addition to the army of the undead White Walkers.
There may be actually an ice dragon
According to rumors, an ice dragon may make an appearance in season seven of 'Game of Thrones.' (Photo: Fil.Al/Flickr/Creative Commons)
Last November, a Reddit user posted and then quickly deleted key plot points for season seven. One of the major reveals was none other than the presence of an ice dragon. While George R.R. Martin has mentioned ice dragons in previous novels, this one will apparently be born by the death of one of Daenerys’s dragons. The Night's King will then apparently resurrect the dragon as an undead, blue-eyed, fire-breathing wraith.
Of all the rumors out there, this is one we absolutely would love to see come true.
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