This coming weekend, Game of Thrones returns to HBO for its eighth and final season, marking the end of the epic dark fantasy adaptation of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice novels. However, for creators and showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, they have known how the series would end for quite some time.
While promoting the upcoming season, Benioff recalled that the two began actively plotting the broad strokes of the final season during Season 3, with Weiss confirming they had been planning the series' ending for the past five years.
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"When you’ve been working on something for 10 years, knowing you’re writing the last episodes is harder because there’s a lot more weight and pressure on those scenes. 'Is a line right?' seems more important than in seasons past," Weiss told Entertainment Weekly. "On the other hand, the motivations behind each scene are something you’ve been thinking about for five years, so the foundations in your mind are stronger for what you’re putting on paper. But you still find yourself spending a lot more time to get it right."
While Benioff and Weiss had worked with Martin previously, the final novels in the bestselling series have yet to be completed and are not tightly plotted yet, with the showrunners hoping the novels offer their own, fresh experience after the series concludes this year.
Season 8 of Game of Thrones premieres April 14. The HBO drama stars Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark and Kit Harington as Jon Snow.