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‘Game of Thrones’ season 7 has come! Here is everything we know so far

'Game of Thrones' season 7 finale photos tease the longest episode yet

game of thrones season 7 photos news casting s7e7 6
Macall B. Polay/HBO
Being a Game of Thrones fan has required extra patience this year. After eschewing the usual production schedule to get the right weather to finally allow winter to come to Westeros, the show’s season 7 premiere was pushed back until summer. In the meantime, we had to obsess over any and all pieces of information we could find.

And now those days of waiting are over. The season has been a crazy one — even for Game of Thrones — as the stakes have never been higher now that the series finale is just a handful of episodes or so away. There are more interesting storylines in progress, especially with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) coming to make her claim on the crown on the backs of her dragons. The great game could play out in so many ways, and it continues to be fascinating to watch it develop.

There is a lot to tie up as we go through the show’s final episodes, so prepare yourself with everything we know so far — but be warned that there will be spoilers ahead.

The longest episode yet

Game of Thrones still has a lot of ground to cover and a finite number of episodes to do it, so we’re getting a supersized season 7 finale. Clocking in at 79 minutes, 43 seconds, the episode will be the longest to date. Called “The Dragon and the Wolf,” it will bring together some of the show’s major players, as we saw in the finale’s promo (below). HBO released new photos Wednesday, and they offer a closer look at what our heroes and villains are up to.

There is a lot of brooding in the newest photos, particularly back at Winterfell. Both Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and her brother Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) appear lost in thought. Meanwhile, the Lannisters — Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) — seem to be getting ready for the big Dragonpit meeting. They’re also shown in the midst of it, along with Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington).

Missing from the photos is Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), who suffered a huge loss last episode when one of her dragons was killed. It’s hard to say if this next episode will go any better for her. Although her Dothraki army and the Unsullied are ready for the rendezvous, you never know what Cersei has up her sleeve.

We’d put money on this finale being an intense one. At nearly an hour and 20 minutes, how could it not be? Prepare yourself accordingly.

Game of Thrones: Season 7 Finale Preview (HBO)

Episodes leak early

In the wake of a hack where the culprits pilfered scripts, treatments, and full episodes of HBO series, including Game of Thrones, season 7episode 4 was leaked ahead of its August 6 air date. Later, episode 6, titled “Beyond the Wall,” found its way onto the internet early. However, this time it isn’t hackers to blame — it’s HBO itself. Specifically, HBO Spain and HBO Nordic, both of which accidentally let the episode out early. The mistake was quickly caught and corrected, but not early enough, as episode 6 quickly made its way to sketchier corners of the web. Change a few pronouns around, and the whole thing could be a subplot of the show.

Whether you seek out the episode or not, spoilers are still a threat. In fact, between this and leaks that occurred during production, spoilers for season 7 of Game of Thrones have been especially difficult to avoid.

To the wall and beyond

After a brief break from battle in episode 5, Game of Thrones is setting up another likely clash in episode 6, “Beyond the Wall.” This time, it looks like the fighting will be happening outside of the Seven Kingdoms. HBO’s latest episodic photos, released Wednesday, show Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and his motley crew on their hazardous northern mission. Their goal is to capture a White Walker, which is insanely risky. They will have to fight to survive, and the photos show that. Multiple images picture the men with their weapons at the ready, hinting that they will be faced with scary threats.

Again, HBO has released photos without an episode synopsis, so that leaves us with fewer clues than we would like. We won’t complain, though, because what we have seen guarantees another intense episode.

There is no sign of the ever-diabolical Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) in the latest photos, but we do see two images of her rival queen, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). In both, the Mother of Dragons is shown strategizing with her hand, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage). Meanwhile, another woman in charge, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) has her own concerns; she appears in photos with Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and Arya Stark (Maisie Williams). Sansa’s little sister could be one of her concerns after Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen) schemed to pit them against each other with his letter stunt in episode 5.

The aftermath

Game of Thrones left us with quite the cliffhanger at the end of episode 4, The Spoils of War, so we are anxious for episode 5, Eastwatch, to reveal the fate of Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn). To pique our already high curiosity, HBO has released eight new episodic photos, hinting at more conflict.

Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) is prominent in the photos, and his expressions and overall demeanor look sad and conflicted. Sure, that could mean that his brother Jaime is dead but we don’t think so. If that were the case, the series would be passing up an intensely interesting storyline. This is, of course, pure speculation, but what if Jaime instead survived and became a prisoner to Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)? If that were the case, Tyrion’s loyalties would be torn, and his and Jaime’s positions would be reversed from when he was a prisoner and Jaime helped him escape.

Once again, HBO has released the photos without an episode synopsis, so we don’t have as many hints as we would like. The photos do show us, though, that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys are again in close proximity, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) is plotting, Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) is scheming, and Sam Tarly (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) are problem-solving.

The battles continue

Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) may have seemingly gained the upper hand against Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), but the fight is not over yet. Season 7, episode 4, titled “The Spoils of War,” will pick up with more action, and HBO teased upcoming developments by releasing new photos on Wednesday. Unfortunately, they didn’t come with an episode synopsis, so we’re left with even less information than usual.

Again, there is a lot from Dragonstone this week. As we saw in the episode preview, Daenerys will be reeling from her recent setbacks. It looks like she will be spending a lot of time with her advisers, as well as with Jon Snow (Kit Harington). Meanwhile, back at Winterfell, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) also appears serious, even distraught. There’s also an ambiguous image of Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen). We never know what he is up to, but we assume it’s no good.

Another noteworthy aspect of the latest batch of Game of Thrones photos is the presence of Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen). We see him in two of the photos, one close-up on the beach and another helping bring a boat ashore. He recently regressed when given the chance to try to save his sister, Yara (Gemma Whelan), from his cruel uncle Euron (Pilou Asbaek), so maybe he will get a chance to redeem himself.

Crazy as it sounds, episode 4 will bring us beyond the halfway point of season 7. Where does the time go?

A Targaryen reunion

Everyone has been waiting to see the surviving Starks together again, but the reunion we’re getting first, it seems, is that of the Targaryens. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) made it clear in episode 2, Stormborn, that he intended to meet the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), not realizing he is actually headed to his ancestral home. Based on new photos from season 7, episode 3, The Queen’s Justice, it looks like he and his long-lost relative will come face to face.

With the episode entitled The Queen’s Justice, it isn’t clear who is the titular ruler. The queen in question could be Daenerys, but it could also be Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). Given how many photos feature people in Dragonstone, we tend to favor Daenerys in this case, but we never discount Cersei. Both she and Dany are mentioned in the episode synopsis:

“Daenerys holds court. Cersei returns a gift. Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) learns from his mistakes.”

The images are mysterious, especially the photos of Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) because their eyes look troubled but we don’t have enough context to say why. We are also worried about what Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) is up to with Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), especially with Jon away from Winterfell.

A storm ahead?

Episode 2 brings us back to Dragonstone, as we see in the photos released leading up to it; the images show some of the key players on the island. We also get another look at how Sam Tarly (John Bradley) is occupying himself at the Citadel and what members of the Stark family are up to elsewhere.

The synopsis teases a bit more:

“Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) receives an unexpected visitor. Jon (Kit Harington) faces a revolt. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) plans the conquest of Westeros.”

Everyone is on a unique path, and in some cases, literal ones. Both Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and Jon are headed off on horseback, while the others are making moves while staying in one place. It will all culminate in what sounds like a very eventful series of events. Westeros never gets boring, that is for sure.

First stop: Dragonstone

With fans counting down the hours till season 7’s July 16 premiere, HBO saw fit to dole out more enticing photos. The latest batch come from the premiere episode, Dragonstone.

The photos build on the episode synopsis, which tells us:

“Jon (Kit Harington) organizes the defense of the North. Cersei (Lena Headey) tries to even the odds. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) comes home.”

The title, Dragonstone, presumably comes from House Targaryen’s castle, where the photos seem to show her returning. In one, she ascends the steps to the throne we saw her take in previously released footage, and we suspect it is the one in her ancestral home. With a Targaryen so close to King’s Landing again, no wonder Cersei has to strategize.

None of the Starks makes an appearance in the images, but we do get an interesting hint. Among the photos showing action in the north is one of Meera with the Night’s Watch. Since she has reliably stuck with Bran over time, it seems likely that one more Stark child could be getting closer to Winterfell.

The photos tease additional storylines as well, such as Brienne continuing to train Podrick and the growing importance of Lyanna Mormont. With so many questions left unanswered, the sooner Sunday gets here, the better.

Summer ushers in winter

In honor of the first day of summer, HBO gave us … winter. We have no complaints about the irony, though, because it came in the form of a new trailer — and perhaps the most riveting one to date. Our attention was quickly captured by the blockbuster-worthy battle scenes, and most of all, the hints of possible betrayal within the Stark family.

Game of Thrones Season 7: #WinterIsHere Trailer #2 (HBO)

Specifically, the trailer provides an interesting look at Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and her complicated relationship with both Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington). The three are the only characters who speak in the preview, and their words and the presentation of them seem telling. Sansa may be the first one we see in the new preview, but it is Littlefinger’s voice that accompanies shots of her.

“Don’t fight in the north or the south,” he says in voice-over, as if he is directing her moves. “Fight every battle, everywhere. Always. In your mind.”

In contrast, Jon, Sansa’s family member and ostensible ally, is focused on uniting people, seeming as earnest as ever.

“For centuries, our families fought together against their common enemy, despite their differences, together,” he says. “We need to do the same if we’re going to survive, because the enemy is real. It’s always been real.”

When Sansa finally speaks at the end of the trailer, her words are much more cryptic and don’t seem to bode well for Jon.

“When the snows fall, and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives,” we hear her say.

Her words coincide with an image of Jon in battle, and with the wolf representing the Stark family, she seems to be hinting that he or another Stark could die. Clearly, there is a lot to wonder about between now and Game of Thrones‘ July 16 return.

Prepare for an epic finish to season 7

Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann) Helen Sloan/HBO

Many fans of the series were dismayed to find out that season 7 would consist of just seven episodes, rather than the usual 10. Still, there’s hope yet for Thrones fanatics; HBO has released information regarding the lengths of each episode of season 7, and we’re in for a treat: Episodes six and seven will be the longest to date for the show, clocking in at 71 and 81 (!) minutes, respectively. The previous record was held by season 6’s The Winds of Winter, which ran for 68 minutes.

Below, you can see the lengths of each episode of season 7. HBO hasn’t released the titles of the episodes yet.

Episode 1 59 minutes
Episode 2 59 minutes
Episode 3 63 minutes
Episode 4 50 minutes
Episode 5 59 minutes
Episode 6 71 minutes
Episode 7 81 minutes

The Stark siblings have finally reunited … on the cover of EW

The four surviving children of the Stark family — Sansa, Bran, Aria, and Jon Snow — have been separated since the tumultuous events of season 1 tore their family apart. We’ve eagerly awaited their reunion since then, but seeing all four Starks back together on the show still has not come to pass. Thankfully, we can get a glimpse of what that moment may look like — if it ever comes at all — thanks to a series of covers and cast photos from Entertainment Weekly.

Game of Thrones’ plot thickens, the pace quickens

Game of Thrones season 7 may be shorter than its predecessors, but it will be just as action-packed, if not more so. The cast and showrunners recently discussed a big change with Entertainment Weekly, warning that we’ll have to adjust to a new and very different pace.

“Everything happened quicker than I’m used to,” Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime Lannister, said. “A lot of things that normally take a season now take one episode.”

With how the story has developed, the pace change was inevitable. For six seasons, the characters have been on a collision course, and that collision is about to come.

“Things are moving faster because in the world of these characters, the war that they’ve been waiting for is upon them,” showrunner Dan Weiss said. “The conflicts that have been building the past six years are upon them and those facts give them a sense of urgency that makes [the characters] move faster.”

It may take some adjusting, but Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow, thinks fans will enjoy the new tempo.

“It’s so different than what everybody is used to,” he said. “It’s quite exciting.”

A great trailer for the great war

After being teased with posters, photos, promotional videos, and agonizingly brief snippets of footage for the last few months, fans finally got an official, full-length trailer for season 7 of Game of Thrones on May 24, 2017.

Game of Thrones Season 7: Official Trailer (HBO)

As the trailer makes all-too clear, the great war is nigh for the competing factions vying for control of the Iron Throne. With the dragons and army of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) en route to Westeros and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) occupying the throne, a clash is imminent — but all of the parties involved face an even greater threat from the north in the form of the terrifying Night King and his White Walkers.

The eye has it

A short but creepy promotional video released by HBO suggests that the deadly Night King has his gaze firmly set on Kit Harington’s Jon Snow, whose image can be seen in a reflection in the eye of the White Walkers’ leader.

The promo was posted on Instagram by the official Game of Thrones account and zooms out from an up-close image of one of the Night King’s cold, blue eyes to reveal the character’s familiar — and nightmarish — shadowed face.

#GameofThrones Season 7 begins 7.16 on @HBO. #GoTS7

A post shared by gameofthrones (@gameofthrones) on

And as Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) learned the hard way in the previous season, once the Night King has you in his sights, there’s very little you can do to avoid his attention.

There be dragons!

It’s no secret that Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons were going to play a key role in the battles to come, but fans got their first look at how big of a presence the dragons will be in a series of promotional photos for the season.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The first official look at a dragon in battle during Game of Thrones season 7 arrived via Entertainment Weekly, which revealed a batch of sneak-peek photos from the show’s seventh season.

Also among the new photos was a shot of Kit Harington’s Jon Snow astride a mount in Winterfell and an image of Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) similarly ready to ride off to destinations unknown.

A song of ice, fire … and ginger?

Ed Sheeran is the latest musician set to guest star on the series, following in the footsteps of Coldplay’s Will Champion, Of Monsters and Men, and more. It turns out that showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss had been trying to get Sheeran on the show for years to surprise Maisie Williams (Arya), who is a big fan, as they explained at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, in March. It seems like an odd reason for casting a tentpole series, though it seems Sheeran’s appearance will be little more than a cameo.

Fittingly, Sheeran was set to share the screen with Williams and even play a song for her during his roughly five-minute stint on the show. He dropped that tidbit while appearing on the U.K.’s Hits Radio in late April. Apparently, her character will approve of the song and he’ll make it through his cameo alive and without having to get naked — a rarity on Game of Thrones.

A look at winter

The first Game of Thrones season 7 photos were released on April 20, and they served as a good reminder of who is still alive and will be part of the action as we enter the dreaded winter — at least initially. Let’s face it: The original cast has been decimated over the years, so the first batch of images was helpful for keeping track of everyone still above ground.

As the photos show, a few Lannisters are still standing, namely, Cersei (Lena Headey), Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage). The Starks continue to be a threat as well, with Sansa (Sophie Turner), Arya (Maisie Williams), and Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) still kicking, along with their faux half-brother and actual secret cousin, Jon Snow (Kit Harington). Meanwhile, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is getting ready to make her move. Other supporting characters will play into the great game as well.

The long walk

At the end of March, HBO unveiled the first Game of Thrones season 7 teaser trailer. It centered on just three of the show’s many beloved characters: Cersei, Daenerys, and Jon Snow. With that being the case, it didn’t do much to satisfy our curiosity about what exactly will happen in season 7. Still, the preview built up excitement like a promo for a prizefight by showing us three Iron Throne contenders, each looking ready to take on whatever threats arrive.

We’d have liked to have seen some White Walkers or other season 7 action, but at least the music was fitting.

Cliffhanger warning

There’s a lot we still don’t know about what lies ahead, but one thing we do know is that season 7 will leave us in suspense. Maisie Williams warned in late January of a “huge cliffhanger.” At the time, not even she and her cast mates knew which characters would survive to see the eighth and final season.

“It’s exciting,” she told Time Out London at the time. “I really felt like at the end of last season, everything was set up for how it was going to end. Every character came to a little junction in their lives. Now we’re all going to crash down together to however this show ends.”

The waiting game

Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) and Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) Helen Sloan/HBO

As mentioned above, production had to be delayed from the usual April premiere (which has now past) to give showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss the grim weather they wanted to shoot a Westerosi winter, meaning the entire schedule was altered. The change was confirmed in mid-July 2016, and then we spent several more months in limbo waiting for the premiere date to be revealed. Finally, after much hullabaloo (in the form of fire melting a massive block of ice), HBO announced in early March that season 7 would arrive on July 16, 2017.

Unfortunately, the reward for us on the other side is smaller than usual in terms of episode count. Games of Thrones season 7 comprises just seven episodes. Don’t feel too let down, though. Maisie Williams promises that the season will be just as intense — if not more so. After reading the scripts in late August, she teased that “nothing will prepare you.” As each season has ramped up, the production costs and value have increased, making the last season almost like a thread of stand-alone films. Season 7 promises to offer an even bigger cinematic aesthetic.

And so goes another wild, addicting ride.

Updated on 08-23-2017: Added finale photos as well as episode title and length.

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Stephanie Topacio Long
Stephanie Topacio Long is a writer and editor whose writing interests range from business to books. She also contributes to…
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