Prepare to spend 2018 away from Westeros. HBO has announced that Game of Thrones will return for its final season in 2019.

Season eight will consist of just six episodes, though it wouldn’t be unrealistic to expect that each will be feature length. Season seven, which aired in mid-2017, had seven episodes, of which many were more than an hour long including a 90-minute finale which was the most-watched episode in the history of the series. Season seven overall was the highest-rating season for the show, and we can only imagine season eight will be even bigger.

Directing the final season will be David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, David Nutter, and Miguel Sapochnik. It will be written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, and Dave Hill. George R. R. Martin remains credited as co-executive producer.

Production on Season 8 has already begun and is expected to run into mid-2018. With this being the final season, it is expected to resolve the long-running conflict between the great families of the Seven Kingdoms and reveal who ends up on the Iron Throne. The television series is based on the A Song of Ice and Fire series of books by Martin, but has progressed beyond the novels.

“The book series and TV adaptation go their separate ways,” Martin told Metro last August. “On the screen characters are killed right and left. About twenty of them have died already, which are quite alive to me and will appear in a new book.” Benioff and Weiss also insist that the show and books are now quite divergent.

Who do you think will end up on the Iron Throne? Let us know in the comments.

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Shona is an aspiring fantasy author who geeks out over books, video games and TV shows. She loves bringing kickass characters to life through cosplay and is Australia's Lara Croft cosplay ambassador. A huge fan of Nintendo, she's been running a Legend of Zelda fan site since 2001. She indulges her interest in technology through her job as a telecommunications engineer.

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