Game of Thrones Season 8 may not be so different from previous seasons, at least for the first two episodes. While speculation has run rampant that the six-episode final season would feature “super-sized” installments running over 60 minutes in length, the runtimes for the first two episodes have reportedly been revealed, and they’re perfectly in line with previous seasons.
HBO’s schedule has revealed (via Winter Is Coming) that Season 8 Episode 1 will run 54 minutes in length, while Season 8 Episode 2 will run 58 minutes in length. That’s about the standard length for an episode of Game of Thrones, and with only six episodes in total for the final season, probably isn’t what fans were hoping to hear.
But it does correspond with earlier leaked runtimes, which pegged the first two episodes at 60 minutes and the final four episodes at 80 minutes in length. Indeed, the massive Battle of Winterfell episode is rumored to run an epic 90-minutes alone, so perhaps these first two installments are merely setting the stage for what’s to come.
Which, again, is in line with previous seasons. As opposed to other shows, Game of Thrones tends to build throughout a season, climaxing around the penultimate episode with some major twist or event, then letting the season finale serve as a denouement. It’s unclear if that’s what’ll happen here—surely the series finale isn’t just one giant epilogue—but it’ll be interesting to see how things are structured.
Despite being the shortest season in episode length, Season 8 actually carried with it the longest production schedule in Game of Thrones history, with filming taking place over the course of a whopping eight months throughout 2017 and 2018. It’s a herculean effort whichever way you slice it, so even if the first two episodes are merely an hour each in length, we’ll no doubt see a lot of that effort onscreen.
Hold tight, folks. The final season of Game of Thrones begins on April 14th.