It’s been two years since Jon Snow trended on Twitter, but at last, the Long Night is over. The countdown to season 8 has come to an end. Game of Thrones returned to HBO and Sky Atlantic with its eighth and final season early this morning.
While it may bring a tear to your eye, at least your Mondays will now be filled with some fire-breathing, white-walker fighting excitement for the next two months.
With schedules already cleared and parties planned, here’s everything you need to know about this year’s most anticipated cultural event.
What time does Game of Thrones air in the US?
Fans in America were able to tune into the first episode of Game of Thrones on HBO at 9pm Eastern time on Sunday, April 14.
So when can I watch it in the UK?
At the rather uncivilized hour of 2am this morning, the episode was simulcast in the UK. It being Sunday, you might have been better off going to bed at a normal time, staying well clear of Twitter (and any mad friends who, armed with Pro Plus and RedBull, barely slept a wink), and waiting for this evening, when the episode runs again at 9pm.
While it may be hard to resist the temptation of being the first to watch it at 2am, at least for the next few weeks you'll actually have some motivation to get out of bed on a Monday morning. Just think... you can enjoy watching Jon Snow on your TV screens, glass of wine in hand, every Monday night for the few weeks (here's praying he survives the Night King every episode!)
How can I watch in the UK?
On Sky Atlantic and NOW TV. So if you haven't already got one of these TV packages, it's time to sign up (or invite yourself round to a friend's for dinner. Whether they actually watch the series is irrelevant, just come armed with a good bottle of red.)
To freshen up your memory in the interim, or re-live your favourite scene (in which your favourite characters haven't yet been gruesomely butchered), you can watch every episode from season one to season seven on NOW TV with a 7 day free Entertainment Pass trial.
How many episodes are there to watch?
For fans who seethed with anger at the last series' measly seven episodes (down from the customary ten), series eight delivers yet another blow. The shortest series yet, there will be only six episodes.
What is each episode length?
On the plus side, each episode will be up to 80 minutes long, with HBO CEO Richard Plepler saying every episode feels cinematic.
The first episode is supposed to be shortest length at 54 minutes, while the penultimate episode and the finale will last 80 minutes.
The final episode will air on May 19, but let's try our best not to think that right now.
Watch the latest Game of Thrones trailer
The trailer for the second episode of season eight was released after episode one, Winterfell, aired on HBO and Sky Atlantic in the early hours of the morning. Here's a trailer breakdown of what we can expect in next week's episode.
On March 5, Sky released their official Game of Thrones season 8 trailer. It hinted that Arya Stark may face her death in the forthcoming final series — find out exactly what the trailer means for season 8 and the ending of Game of Thrones.
Best Game of Thrones events in London
To really get you into the spirit of all things Westeros, London is playing host to a fantastic selection of Game of Thrones events.
So, if you fancy feasting like a king, drinking as hard as Cersei, or taking a seat on the Iron Throne, here's a round up of the must-attend happenings in the city this Spring:
- Dinner is Coming - Up until 2 June, you can attend a murderous feast and feel just like you're sat at Joffrey and Margaery's wedding
- Sit on the Iron Throne - Ok, so you may not be a true heir to the Westeros throne but you can't rule it out - Jon Snow still doesn't know he secretly is! You'll soon have the opportunity to feel like a true King or Queen by taking a pew when the Iron Throne arrives in King's Cross on April 15
- Celebrate the music - On April 23, the London Palladium will be celebrating hit fantasy music from Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit with a special orchestral concert
- Rave of Thrones - See Brixton like you've never seen it before and dance the night away at Electric Brixton-turned snowy Winterfell on April 26
If travelling to London isn't your thing, why not celebrate the new season by throwing your very own Game of Thrones themed party at home. What better excuse than the final season to finally add some Westeros-style interior to your living room.
Is there a Game of Thrones prequel?
For a large number of fans, life simply doesn’t have purpose without Game of Thrones. So what to do when it comes to an end, other than cosplay and creating your own forum? (Please don’t.)
Thankfully, HBO know where the money is, and a spin-off show is on the horizon.
HBO have confirmed there is more to come from the world of Westeros, as they plan to work on a prequel series based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series. But with no confirmed director or cast, it’s hard to tell exactly when, or what, HBO have got lined up. Although HBO head of programming Casey Bloys recently told fans: “You’re not going to see anything air anytime close to the season eight finale”.
Let the countdown begin.
Watch season 8 of Game of Thrones through NOW TV with a free 7 day trial of their Sky Entertainment pass