Why Season Seven of Game of Thrones is going to be much shorter than you want it to be

As we all have a come down from the intensity and magnificence of the Season 6 Game of Thrones finale, all eyes are on the future of the series. A lot of people are asking if Season 7 will be the last, wondering when we’ll get to see it and all the meanwhile, rumours are circulating that the season will be the shortest so far.

The news was first reported earlier in the year, when David Benioff and D.B. Weiss spoke to Variety about their plans for the end of the series, saying, “I think we’re down to our final 13 episodes after this season…”, and expecting these episodes to be spread out over two years, though confirming that no final decisions have been made, .

While the six seasons to date have been consistently 10 episodes in length, this sets up the next season – suitably set up to be the most epic of the entire series so far – to be reduced in its length to 6 or 7 episodes. The move may disappoint some fans, but given the production time and cost per “epic” episode (the last two being of particular mention – “Battle of the Bastards” alone being rumoured to cost some $25 million), it may be what’s needed to deliver the most satisfying ending possible to fans. “It’s crossing out of a television schedule into more of a mid-range movie schedule,” D.B. Weiss said in the Variety interview.

This will see the final 13 episodes split into two halves throughout 2017 and 2018 – we would expect in their usual April slots – as they wrap up the series in two parts, in a similar way to Harry Potter or Mad Men. In theory, this will allow them to give each episode the production time they need, and the pay off that fans deserve. So it’s not all bad news – but it does mean the wait between the two final seasons are going to be the most painful yet.

Thrones re-enters production for Season 7 next month.  It airs on HBO in the USA and on Showcase in Australia. The Complete Season 6 is available digitally from today.