To say that death does not take a holiday during Game of Thrones‘ farewell season is, apparently, a massive understatement.
Speaking at the INTV conference in Israel on Tuesday, HBO’s SVP of drama Francesca Orsi recalled being present at the table read for the drama’s final six episodes. “It was a really powerful moment in our lives and our careers,” she shared during a panel titled The Best of HBO (per our sister outlet Variety). The exec then went on to drop this killer, cryptic tease: “None of the cast had received the scripts prior, and one by one they started falling down to their deaths.”
At the conclusion of the marathon Season 8 read-thru, Orsi said everyone participated in a 15-20 minute standing ovation. “It was amazing,” she enthused. “By the very end, everyone looked down and looked up and tears were in their eyes.”
In January, HBO confirmed that the Emmy-winning juggernaut’s six-episode swan song would not air until 2019 — a controversial decision HBO president Casey Bloys later defended to TVLine. “It was based on when [showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] felt that they could deliver a show that they are most proud of,” he maintained. “So I don’t know that it’s a delay as much as it is ‘This is the time required to deliver at the level that they think the fans expect.’”
Later that month, star Maisie Williams narrowed down the return date to April 2019, before echoing Bloys’ assertion that, “You would not want to rush this season at all. We owe it to our audience and our fans to really do this final season to the best of our abilities.”