Game of Thrones fans can rest easy: The show”s penultimate season is set to debut on July 16.
The HBO mega-hit”s seventh installment was postponed from its usual Aprilstart date due to weather-related production delays; the show takes place in the ominous “winter,” but the North Ireland, Spain and Iceland set did not quite match the Westeros weather during the usual production schedule.
“Winter is here, and that means that sunny weather doesn’t really serve our purposes anymore,” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss told the UFC Unfiltered podcast.”So we kind of pushed everything down the line, so we could get some grim, grey weather even in the sunnier places that we shoot.”
HBO took to Facebook live to announce the premiere date, airing a video of a block of ice to over 150,000 fans. As a flame melted the ice—fans commenting with “fire” or “dracarys” sped up the melting process—the date was revealed. The videowas marred by glitches, but finally worked about an hour after the scheduled time.
The season was delayed so the icy atmosphere of the ominous “winter” could be perfected.
Courtesy of HBO
The season will include threeveteranGame of Thronesdirectors—Alan Taylor, Jeremy Podeswa and Mark Mylod—and newcomerMatt Shakman, as well as the usual cast of characters. While much else is secret, the theme of contrasting fire and ice was promoted on the season”s poster.
With each episode in season 6 coming in at around $10 million, the show costs HBO a pretty penny, but that has paid off in the series” large and loyal following. That season”s finale—the most recent episode—garnered a series-high of 8.9 million viewers in live-plus-same-day viewership. For some perspective, the first season”s finale garnered only 3 million viewers (and was still considered a hit). Overall, last season”s episodes averaged 23 million viewers each across multiple platforms.
While fans may lament the wait for a new season, other shows are likely rejoicing, as the air dates disqualify the set of seven episodes from the 2017 Emmy Awards. The Television Academy traditionally awards Game of Thrones generously, with the show snagging 23 nominations and 12 wins last year. This year, other dramas will hope to pick up awards usually dominated by the critical darling, including that of Outstanding Drama Series, which it has won two years in a row.
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