There's been a lot of confusion regarding the release of "Game of Thrones" Season 8, ever since Joe Bauer, the show's visual effects supervisor, told the Huffington Post that the final season wouldn't be eligible for the next year's Emmy awards [VIDEO]. This statement led many people to believe that the long-awaited season will premiere sometime in the summer of 2019, given the fact that the Emmy eligibility cutoff date is May 31.

But just when we thought that we would have to wait even longer than expected for "Game of Thrones" to return, HBO came out and made an official clarification about when they would be airing episodes.

HBO on Emmy eligibility and 'Game of Thrones' Season 8 release date

A little while ago, Casey Bloys, HBO's programming president, said that "Game of Thrones" will return during the first half of 2019 [VIDEO] with its final season. And this new report confirms just that. "There have been reports over the weekend claiming the show's return has been delayed to mid-2019 making it not eligible for Emmys until 2020," the reliable source from Entertainment Weekly said before confirming that that's exactly what "the first half of 2019" means.

That's certainly a relief, but it was the last part of this statement that got us all hyped up for next season.

"HBO expects the show will air all its episodes in time for the 2019 Emmy eligibility cut off.[sic]"

What does this mean exactly? Well, I am glad you asked. Let's do the math. If there are six episodes total in Season 8 and HBO said that the show will air all of the final season's episodes just in time for the 2019 Emmy eligibility cutoff, which is May 31, then that means they will probably drop it on April 21 (Easter).

The exception to the rule

But before you mark your calendars, you should be aware that there's an exception to the rule that says that a season has to air the bulk (not all) of its episodes before the cutoff date in order to be eligible for that year's Emmy awards. "Game of Thrones" already used this exception back in Season 5, when the last two episodes aired after the cutoff date and the season finale ended up winning two Emmy awards.

So if we take this exception into the account, and "Game of Thrones" airs four out of six episodes before the cutoff date, just like they did in 2015, then the final season would have to air on Sunday, May 5 at the latest. That is still "the first half of 2019," just as the programming president said, meaning the "GoT" season premiere is much closer than previously thought.