The anticipation has peaked for close to two years and now finally, the eighth and final season of American cable network HBO‘s television show adaptation of George R. R. Martin‘s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series of books, Game of Thrones, is here with us.
As the years have gone by, the number of episodes of each successive season began to dwindle. While seasons one to six of Game of Thrones had ten episodes, season seven had seven episodes, while season eight will have a mere 6 episodes. However, the newest season will clock some of the longest runtimes we have witnessed in the modern television era, with episodes one and two boasting an hour long, as the rest of the episodes easily reach 80 minutes – like watching 6 movies really.
The latest season of the show will feature content not available yet in Martin’s series of books, though the author has worked very closely with the television adapters David Benioff and D.B Weiss using unpublished source material, and an envisioned culmination. Martin has intimated that the book itself will still pack a number of surprises for avid readers.
Trailers and teasers of Game of Thrones season 8 have largely centered on the ripple effects of the destruction of The Wall, and the coming of the White Walkers back to Westeros, led by the Night King. The material has mostly explored the alliance of Danaerys and Jon, the desolation of the Northern Kingdom of Winterfell, the obstinate and isolationist nature of Cersei Lannister, while her brother Jaime is seen battling, as well as the onset of a reckoning we’ve been waiting for for so long, a face off with the Night King.
In the run-up to the show, there’s been plenty of activity to mark this decade-long milestone for the show: online, there has been ‘Inside Game of Thrones‘ and ‘The Cast Remembers’ series on YouTube, exploring the experiences of cast members of the series since it’s inception 10 years ago. Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryan), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Rory McCann (The Hound), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Lena Heady (Cersei Lannister), John Bradley (Samwell Tardy) and Kit Harington (Jon Snow) are just some of the actors who have shared their reflections on growth, challenges and iconic moments on the set of the increasingly large production that is Game of Thrones – filming for this season took 10 months in over 5 countries.
Since season one, characters in the series have bled #ForTheThrone, in often dire, and mostly grotesque moments (none knows the cost and the extent more than the Starks of Winterfell, honestly). This year, the show has been asking fans around the world, what they would do #ForTheThrone, a marketing effort which bore lots of fruit, further fuelling the hype for season 8. The American Red Cross caught on quick with the bandwagon, and from earlier February this year, has been calling on fans and the general public, to Bleed #ForTheThrone and donate their blood to boost hospital supplies for those in need.
In Kenya, Multichoice Africa‘s broadcaster DSTV partnered with the Kenya Red Cross for a similar blood drive in mid-March, calling on fans to show their loyalty and Bleed #ForTheThrone as well, harnessing the pop culture of the land of Martin’s fictitious continent of Westeros, to shore up blood banks in the real world. Most recently, as part of an awareness campaign, the Australian Red Cross came up with a list of Game of Thrones characters who would be categorized as war criminals – surprisingly Cersei doesn’t rank highly, but The Mother of Dragons and Jon Snow do!
Season 8 of Game of Thrones begins streaming Sunday April 14th 2019 on HBO, and will be available in Kenya on Monday, 15th April 2019 at 10.00pm on Showmax and at 11.00pm on Mnet on DSTV.