After a long wait – agony, really! - this Sunday, Game of Thrones is finally back for its eighth and last season. The much-awaited finale of one of the most watched and influential TV shows in history, had fans all over world coming up with countless theories about the show’s ending, which has not yet been revealed – and published – in the book series that inspired the show, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin.
After its premiere in 2011, Game of Thrones sparked a cult following all over the world and quickly became a pop-culture phenomenon that broke the internet and world records innumerable times and redefined the genre of fantasy TV dramas.
Whether you have been religiously watching the show over its run or you have been binging the seven seasons over the past month (pop-culture FOMO, anyone?), you better start planning your viewing parties, because, winter is here, and you don’t want to be alone.
In the meantime, we put together everything that you need to know before the premiere (spoiler alert!).
Game Of Thrones is broadcast in 207 countries and territories and simulcast in 194.
The U.S. viewership (in millions) grew exponentially for each season: season one 9.3; season two 11.6; season three 14.4; season four 19.1; season five 20.2; season six 25.7; season seven 32.8.
Over the course of its eight seasons, the show was filmed in ten countries, including Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Morocco, Malta, Spain, Croatia, Iceland, United States, Canada and Scotland.
Titanic Studios in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is home to the six shooting stages that housed the interiors of Winterfell, Castle Black, High Hall of the Eyrie, the Sky Cells in the Eyrie, the Hall of Faces, the House of Black and White, the Great Sept of Baelor, the Great Pyramid of Meereen Throne Room and the iconic King's Landing Throne Room.
In total, the show received 132 Emmy nominations and 47 wins; seven Golden Globe nominations and one win; 18 SAG Award nominations and seven wins; 17 Critics' Choice Award nominations and one win; and seven AFI award wins, becoming one of the most nominated shows of all time.
The show’s final season will be the shortest to date with only six episodes. However, some of them will be much longer than the usual one-hour-long format of previous seasons. The series’ creators have also announced that each episode will be like a mini-movie, both in terms of special effects and scale.
Episode 1: 54 minutes
Episode 2: 58 minutes
Episode 3: 60 minutes
Episode 4: 78 minutes
Episode 5: 80 minutes
Episode 6: 80 minutes
The most revealing teaser released so far is titled “Crypt of Winterfell” and shows Jon Snow, Arya Stark and Sansa Stark in the crypt under their house’s home with a voiceover of Catelyn Stark (infamously killed during the “Red Wedding” episode at the end of season 3). The one and a half minute-long video caused an internet meltdown when it was released back in January and sparked so many theories on the director season eight could take and the future of the Starks.
The final battle against the Army of the Dead is set to become the biggest and longest battle action scene made for a TV show or movie. The episode, directed by Miguel Sapochnik, who also brought to life the incredible “Battle of the Bastards” in season six.
To celebrate the debut of season eight, Now E and HBO GO timed up to bring to Hong Kong the "Game Of Thrones Ultimate Experience," an exclusive exhibition for the show's super fans around the city. The exhibition, which runs at City Plaza in Quarry Bay until April 23, features a reproduction of the Iron Throne, an AR interactive photo zone, an illustrations display zone, an exclusive emblem leather coaster workshop and much more.