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Game of Thrones to run at least eight seasons with possible prequel series

While the fate of just about any Game of Thrones character is always uncertain, the future of the hit HBO series is a little more predictable — particularly with the recent announcement that the show will go on for at least eight seasons.

During the network’s presentation at this year’s Television Critics Association event, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo confirmed that at least two more seasons are planned after the sixth season of the popular show.

Related: Game Of Thrones Ends Season Five With Fire, Blood, And Falling Snow

“Seven seasons and out has never been the [internal] conversation,” said  Lombardo (as reported by EW). “The question is, how much beyond seven are we going to do? Obviously we’re shooting six now, hopefully discussing seven. [Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] feel like there’s two more years after six. I would always love for them to change their minds, but that’s what we’re looking at right now.”

Along with giving fans something to look forward to for the next few years, Lombardo also addressed the recurring question of whether the series will stray even further beyond the source material with potential spinoff or tie-in projects. While he indicated that there aren’t any firm current plans to do so, the possibility is one that the network has considered.

“There’s enormous storytelling to be mined in a prequel, if [George R.R. Martin] and Dan and David decide they want to tackle that,” he said. “At this point, all the focus is on the next few years of the show. We haven’t had any conversations about that at this point.”

As is the case with just about anyone connected to Game of Thrones these days, Lombardo also fielded some questions about a certain character whose death in the most recent season has been the subject of much speculation.

“Dead is dead is dead.” said Lombardo. “He be dead. Everything I’ve seen, heard and read, [the character in question] is indeed dead.”