,

The Final Season of Game of Thrones Will Only Have Six Episodes

The final season was long expected to be much shorter than usual.

When season seven of Game of Thrones airs this summer, it won’t quite be the end, but it’ll be close to it — at SXSW in Austin, Texas over the weekend, the show’s producers confirmed that season eight will only have six episodes.

The producers have long been up front with the fact that season eight will be the end — based on the A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin, the series had been planned with a definite beginning, middle, and end from the start (they’re not pulling a Lost here). That’s despite the series of novels still not being finished — the sixth and seventh books are yet to be published, and you could hardly put it past Martin to add an eighth, too.

Not much was said about what would happen during seasons seven and eight at the SXSW panel, which featured producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss along with actresses Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams (Sansa and Arya Stark). But, with leaks purportedly coming out months ago, if you really wanted to spoil yourself, you probably could have by now.

Season seven of Game of Thrones will premiere on July 16 of this year, and then the dragons, at long last, will come to Westeros (or they’ll all die over the sea, who knows). Oh, and about rumors of a possible spin-off series? We heard that HBO reps had pitched the idea to the showrunners, but apparently Benioff and Weiss passed. Of a possible new series, Benioff said, “I think they should get new blood in.” Or out, as the case may be.

Via Entertainment Weekly