If HBO decides to move forward with Game of Thrones Season 7 (spoiler alert: they will), the cast is in for a significant pay increase. While the pay cable network previously picked the show up for Season 5 and Season 6 at the same time, they faced a potential road bump when it came to a potential seventh season of the incredibly popular series. When actors initially sign contracts for a TV series, their options normally span multiple seasons that keep them obligated to appear for years to come—unless they get killed off, of course. It turns out the Game of Thrones cast contracts went up through Season 6, but with showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss recently revealing that their game plan is to conclude the show with Season 7 (or maybe Season 8), a renegotiation process was necessary to ensure the cast will be intact for the end game.
And so the news comes today that, while HBO hasn’t officially ordered a seventh season of Game of Thrones just yet, they have completed renegotiations with the actors’ contracts to include an option for Season 7 with a big pay increase to boot. More after the jump.
Per THR, HBO has successfully locked up the Game of Thrones cast for a potential season seven, but not without some well-earned raises. In exchange for agreeing to return for Game of Thrones Season 7 should that come to pass (again, it will), the cast will receive raises that will reportedly make them among the highest paid on TV.
The cast is divided into two tiers with two different pay levels. The “A” tier includes Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, all of whom are paid at the highest level on the show. They are said to have renegotiated their contracts in tandem. The “B” tier, which is paid less than the “A” tier but is still said to be scoring raises for Season 7, includes Natalie Dormer, Sophie Turner, and Maise Williams—an MVP who, in my humble opinion, wholly deserves to be in the “A” tier.
There is also a lower tier of actors who will receive much smaller pay increases (Hodor!), but with a show as successful and popular and integral to HBO’s slate as Game of Thrones I imagine their salaries aren’t terribly low; at least I would hope not. As this is Game of Thrones we’re talking about, the fact that these actors are signed through Season 7 doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll make it all the way through to the end of the series, but if Benioff and Weiss decide to show mercy to their characters, they will be contractually obligated to remain onboard.
Production is currently underway on the show’s fifth season, but as we saw towards the end of Season 4, Benioff and Weiss are really starting to make the show their own as George R.R. Martin continues to toil away on the final two books in the series. At this point, it’s almost a guarantee that Game of Thrones the show will end before the book series, but as the show has really started charting its own territory, hopefully fans will see this as getting two different endings as opposed to simply spoiling the books.