Game of Thrones EPs Talk 'Cohesive' 13-Ep End Game 'Without Padding'

As if Sunday’s crazy-town Game of Thrones finale didn’t serve as enough confirmation, HBO’s dragons-and-drama juggernaut is nearing the finish line. And no amount of pressure — public, presidential, or otherwise — will change that, according to exec producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

In an interview with Deadline, the pair were asked about the possibility of continuing the still-wildly-popular series — which counts President Obama among its fans — beyond the previously-announced 13-episode split-season swan song. “Like President Obama, we want to leave while all the people watching this show are really into it,” responded Weiss. “Get out at a high point and not have it be, well, ‘Thank God that’s over.'”

Benioff added that the decision to wind things down is “not just [about] trying not to outstay [our] welcome,” adding, “We’re trying to tell one cohesive story with a beginning, middle and end… We’ve known the end for quite some time and we’re hurtling towards it. Those last images from [Sunday’s finale] showed that. Daenerys is finally coming back to Westeros, Jon Snow is king of the North, and Cersei is sitting on the Iron Throne. And we know the Night King is up there, waiting for all of them. The pieces are on the board now… and we are heading toward the end game.”

The EP went on to explain that GoT was never intended to be “an ongoing show, where every season [we’re] trying to figure out new storylines. We wanted it to be one giant story, without padding it out to add an extra 10 hours, or because people are still watching it. We wanted to something where, if people watched it end to end, it would make sense as one continuous story. We’re definitely heading into the end game now.”

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28 Comments
  1. Ws says:

    I still wish they wouldnt split the last season… just do one final 13 episode season instead of two really short seasons.

    • Erin says:

      Yes, that’s exactly what they should do, not drag it out.

      • Matt says:

        I thought that too. But then I realized it essentially doubles the budget for the last 13 episodes. Since the ending will likely be dragon and White Walker heavy, not to mention I want to see some epic battles and special effects, this is a good thing. Good things come to those who wait.

    • irishrose4583 says:

      I”m with you! At this point the books are never going to catch up

    • Wordsmith says:

      I’m fine with the split, as long as the division makes sense story-wise. One season of the fall of the Lannisters and the Return of the Dragons, then one season of dead vs. living – a final “Song of Ice and Fire,” as it were.

    • kate says:

      agreed. I don’t mind cutting the episode count from 20 to 13, but air it all at once and be done with it, none of this shortened seasons crap. mad men did that, and it was a disaster.

      this is all because harry potter and the deathly hallows was done as 2 films. maybe it started earlier, but I definitely feel like that was the start of what should be one thing being split into two. it worked for HP but not for other things.

      • Bem Vintender says:

        Sopranos started it, at least for TV, in 2006.

      • KCC says:

        If you want to see them all at once, wait until 6 or 7 weeks before the start of season 8 to watch season 7 then go right into season 8. There you go, 13 straight weeks of GoT. It’s not when they air, but how good the episodes are that matters.

    • Derrick says:

      I totally agree, as a fan, with your sentiment. However, I wonder if part of the rationale for two shorter seasons was considerations for the schedules of the actors and actresses involved…?

    • l.u.c. says:

      Well if what they don’t want is for the fans to say, “Thank God it’s Finally Over!” then please don’t drag the ending out, HBO. Waiting a WHOLE YEAR for 7 episodes then another WHOLE YEAR for the final 6, is going to be super frustrating. No reason HBO cannot increase GOT’s budget for all 13 episodes to be made at once. The excitement for an extra long final season would be out of this world!

  2. Kevin K says:

    HBO should agree on the terms that GoT should do the final 13 episodes with next season having seven and the final season (eight) doing six. Who knows if all good or bad things must come to an end in 2018. No complaining

  3. Ryan H says:

    My concern with split seasons is the show had arguably their best season in terms of suspense and surprise because no one knew what to expect – the last book hasn’t been released – splitting the last episodes up over two seasons opens up the possibility the book will be published revealing the ending. Know the show deviates and modifies parts of the books but the end game is the end game. Also the books have become more known and publicized – especially that the last one hasn’t been published – so I think it’ll really sale once released, especially if before the show ends.

    Maybe that is what the show creators want – to give Martin his dues.

    • Ws says:

      They’ve already covered the stuff from the next book… the last book will certainly not be out before 2018.. and most likely GRRM will die before he finishes it.. The show will have to resolve everything.

    • Christopher says:

      There is no reason to worry about the books now spoiling the end of the TV show because there is more than one book left. The end of the book series will not be contained in the next book “Winds Of Winter” which still appears to be a good amount time off in the future. There is at least one more book after that. Everything I’ve read about the series is that GRR Martin has 2 books left (possibly even 3) because he has so much ground to cover. So, there is absolutely no way that the final book of the novel series will be out before the TV show wraps up, it is not a legitimate concern. It’s been 5 years and Martin still hasn’t finished Winds Of Winter (not even with the added fire that the HBO series must have lit underneath him), there is no way that he’s going to publish the next 2 or 3 novels in 2 years time.

      I don’t even know that Winds of Winter novel will be able to take the story as far as this past season has since GRRM will actually have to make some of these extremely abbreviated plot lines make sense in the context of the larger world of the novels. For instance, I doubt that Arya makes it back to Westeros in the span of the next novel, and I would be surprised if Dany’s fleet actually takes leave from Slaver’s Bay / Dragon’s Bay by the end of that book as well. A lot of stuff kind of just happened in this season – which works for TV, but doesn’t really work at all in the context of primary source material.

    • Christopher says:

      I just went and checked the wiki and there are 2 planned books left, The Winds Of Winter, and A Dream Of Spring. Like I said above, I doubt that the The Winds Of Winter is able to even cover all of the ground that this season of GOT did. And really, I don’t think that GRRM is going to be able to wrap up the series with just those two books, If I was going to put money on it, I would bet that there will be an 8th book. The world in the novels is about twice the size as the world in the TV series and there is infinte more leg work for GRRM to do in the books to put all of the pieces on the board in Westeros.

  4. peterwdawson says:

    Wouldn’t shock me if Season 7 wraps up the conflict between the three real remaining factions (Daenerys’s big ol’ alliance, Snow’s northern army and the remnants of the Westeros royal forces under Cersei), and then the last six address the White Walkers. Probably have the season finale be the white walkers finally reaching the Wall on mass. Littlefinger, general discord within King’s Landing, and dealing with Euron Greyjoy will probably be major subplots, and they may yet pay off the Brotherhood without Banners…

  5. Jerry Riggs says:

    Have they actually formally announced Season 8 yet?

  6. N says:

    I was on the fence about splitting the final 13, but after the last 2 weeks I have full faith in the creative team and they have been adamant about doing it this way for a while now so I have to believe this is the best way to wrap the show. I would make sense to have season 7 focus on wrapping up the conflict between houses, aligning Daenerys and Jon, wrapping up the Lannisters story line and witnessing the fall of the Wall and Castle Black to White Walkers. Season 8 will be entirely about the war with the White Walkers.

  7. Walkie says:

    I get that 20 more episodes are too many.
    I’d like them to do 16 however.
    Do (2) 8 episode seasons.

  8. BillyBobJohnson says:

    Then don’t drag out the ending by splitting the last season in half over two years. I’m sure that was an HBO decision, not a production decision. Greedy b****rds.

  9. l.u.c. says:

    I just hope that the stories tighten up – no more Tyrion making jokes with Missandie and Grey Worm, no more Dorne (a mention that Dorne supports Dani is good enough), no more dicking around the countryside with the Brotherhood – and focus heavily on the characters we really care about (ahem, Jon).

  10. tahonia says:

    With Haven, they stiffed the actors who were under contract for a finite number of “seasons” not episodes, so the last season was overly long, and split into 2 halves, so the actors’ contracts did not have to be renegotiated….. Can you imagine needing to extend those contracts?

  11. Phoenix5634 says:

    By trying to go out while they are on top, and hurdling toward the end, the EP’ have done exactly what they claim to be trying to avoid. They’ve sabotaged their own work by letting their egos get to them. The show was only getting more popular and more interesting, until they started trying to wrap things up, when the story is literally only in the middle of the plot. It’s like they said to themselves; “Oh, the climax of the plot is coming, we better cut dialogues, storylines and rush things”…

  12. David Rambo says:

    Show all episodes at once! Geesh! great series but I agree it’s time to go! Season 6 was quite boring with the exception of the last 2 episodes. Love the show time to go!!!