After months of speculation, HBO has FINALLY revealed when you can return to Westeros for your next Game of Thrones fix.
The penultimate season of Game of Thrones grows nearer, and fans’ excitement over what will happen next in the seven kingdoms of Westeros is reaching fever pitch.
Information about the new season had been scarce, with GoT obsessives only knowing that they would have to wait a little later than April, the traditional time for new seasons to air.
However, after HBO whetted the appetite with a poster teasing the new series, they FINALLY unveiled the show’s premiere date – although the bizarre Facebook Live reveal did not quite go to plan.
Here is all you need to know:
When will Game of Thrones Season 7 air?
At long last, HBO have revealed that Game of Thrones Season 7 will premiere on July 16th – UK viewers can catch it on Sky Atlantic, although it will be in the early hours of July 17th.
Fans, however, were left baffled by the announcement on Facebook Live, which involved an ice block melting to unveil the date, only for the video to cut out for about 20 minutes without warning.
Accompanying the announcement was the first trailer to tease the new series, with Jon Snow warning that “The Great War is here”. You can watch it below:
With winter falling across the seven kingdoms for the upcoming series, the show creators decided they needed to film later in the year to capture the authentic change in climate where the show is filmed.
Traditionally, Game of Thrones airs in the UK on Sky Atlantic at roughly 2am simultaneously with HBO in America (airing on the East Coast at 9pm) so fans on both sides of the Atlantic can view the show – with the episode repeated at 9pm in the UK on the same day.
Filming for season 7 is believed to have continued into February 2017.
Which characters are coming back for series 7 of Game of Thrones?
Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion), Lena Headey (Cersei), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime), Sophie Turner (Sansa) and Maisie Williams (Arya) have all reportedly signed up for a seventh season back in 2014 – so expect them all to return.
Whether all of those characters will survive beyond season 7 is a mystery, however, with previous stars of the show being ‘optioned’ for future seasons but then brutally killed off unexpectedly.
One such example is Natalie Dormer whose Margaery Tyrell was something of a fan favourte, but she was killed off in a wildfire explosion at the end of season 6 despite being optioned for season 7.
Reports have suggested the five ‘main’ stars of the bulging GoT cast (Kit, Peter, Lena, Emilia, and Nikolaj) have been optioned for an eighth run of episodes in June 2016 – with each star banking $1.1million (£885,000) per episode.
Sophie Turner has hinted, however, that “not all” of the current cast will make it to the last ever episode in season 8 – and some favourite could yet die in season 7.
Others returning in Season 7 include Aidan Gillen as Petyr Baelish, Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth, Carice van Houten as Melisandre, Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand, Nathalie Emmanuel as Missander, Rory McCann as Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, Conleth Hill as Varys, Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, John Bradley as Samwell Tarly, Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth, Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane, Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark, Jerome Flynn as Bronn, Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont, and Hannah Murray as Gilly.
Sadly, in February it was revealed that Game of Thrones star – and the UK’s tallest man – Neil Fingleton, has died, aged 36.
The actor and basketball player, who played Mag the Mighty in the hit show, reportedly died of heart failure.
What other familiar faces can we expect to return in Game of Thrones season 7?
A plethora of other stars are said to be signed up for the 7th season in supporting roles including Dame Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell and Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy.
Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson as Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane, Jessica Henwick as Nymeria Sand, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers as Tyene Sand, Pilou Asbæk as Euron Greyjoy, Bella Ramsey as Lyanna Mormont, and Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm are all expected to return.
While Joe Dempsie who plays Gendry (and potential heir to the coveted Iron Throne) has been spotted in Northern Ireland and is expected to return to the show after last being seen rowing away in season 3.
Meanwhile Bridget Jones and Harry Potter star Jim Broadbent has been added to the cast and Mixed Martial Arts athlete Conor McGregor will also have a guest spot.
Jason Momoa has teased fans that his long-dead Khal Drogo could make a return to the show – as he continues to drop hints on socail media of his involvement in the show once more.
Chart topping band Bastille may also appear in the show after rumours suggest they will follow Sigur Rós, Coldplay drummer Will Champion and Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody in a guest music capacity – while rumours that Dame Angela Lansbury would guest star have been debunked.
How many episodes will there be in Game of Thrones season 7?
While every season of Game of Thrones so far has had 10 episodes, season 7 will only have seven.
This is down to the fact that the Game of Thrones book series – A Song of Ice and Fire – is expected to contain only 7 volumes (with five released so far).
Therefore HBO are milking the franchise for all it’s worth by breaking the final volume into two seasons of TV – with the final eight season expected to have six episodes.
How dark can we expect Season 7 of Game of Thrones to get?
In a word: Very.
Show star Alfie Allen (Theyon Greyjoy) has already teased season 7 will push all the characters to their limits – with lots more dragon action, and plenty more torture coming.
According to fan website Watchers on the Wall, Alfie opened up on the seventh series at Malta India Fan Convention, and said it promises “more of the same but better.”
He added: “There will be more dragons… lot’s more torture!”
Speaking about his character’s mental state, Alfie reportedly added that Theon is “skittish and full of fear…Basically, and then that can kind of, I guess, evolve into rage, which you might see…who knows?”
Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, has also revealed season seven will end on a “massive cliff-hanger”.
She made the confession in a chat with Time Out magazine, revealing the storyline will “crash down” as Game of Thrones moves towards its conclusion.
There is nothing left for us but to wait for all this to happen, until then stay tuned on Moviepedia for more news.