One of the most watched shows on #television has begun to signal its end. HBO's fantasy mixed political #drama #Game of Thrones finished its sixth season only a month ago, but the wheels for its conclusion have already been set in motion. According to showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, only two more seasons will be made, each with less episodes than the regular allotted ten. Season 8 will be the last time we see beloved characters such as Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen on our screens. Network president Casey Bloys officially confirmed this plan yesterday, saying Benioff and Weiss had a specific goal for ending the show in mind.

"Believe me, as the new [programming executive] coming in, if I could get them to do more, I would take 10 more seasons," Bloys told the press in response to queries about ending the series with an eighth season.

A Song of Games and Thrones

The news of Game of Thrones' eventual end arrives alongside high anticipation for the sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, aptly titled The Winds of Winter. Its been five years since the last book, A Dance with Dragons, with still no word on the follow-up's release date. Because of this, Benioff and Weiss had to write some of Season 5 and most of Season 6 with an outline of future plot points given to them by Martin, as well as adding their own content. This resulted in a mixed reception of the two seasons among book fans, with particular criticism directed at changes to the Dorne storyline.

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This hasn't slowed the series' popular appeal, however, reaching ratings of up to 8.89 million and bagging a whopping 23 Emmy nominations for this year. Unfortunately, dedicated viewers will have to wait a little longer for Season 7, which will begin airing in summer 2017 as opposed to spring.

Speculation is coming

Even with the news of Season 8 being the series' last, fan speculation hasn't decreased in the slightest. Questions like "Will Jorah find a cure for his greyscale?" and "Is Euron Greyjoy planning to attack the mainland?" have been swimming in the minds of fans. Season 6's last episode, appropriately titled "The Winds of Winter," threw a monkey wrench into many of the established power dynamics in Westeros. With (spoiler warning) Cersei seizing control in King's Landing, Walder Frey dead at Arya's hands, and Daenerys on her way across the Narrow Sea, numerous story points are set to converge with one hell (or hells) of a bang. Character Drama isn't being left out either, with Jon and Sansa's possible conflict over rule of the North (likely worsened by Littlefinger) and Bran carrying the secret of Jon's true parentage. Of course, these all seem like small potatoes compared to the true threat beyond the Wall: the White Walkers, ready to bring another long night.