While no official premiere date has yet been set for HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 8, it’s final season, some story details and character locations may be starting to firm up. Now since the season is currently filming, and with the premiere likely not arriving until sometime in 2019, there’s a lot that can change between now and then. So we’ll take these comments from the show’s star John Bradley (a.k.a. Samwell Tarly) in stride for now.
Speaking to TV Guide, Bradley commented on the current state of Season 8, the pressure that the entire creative team is under to deliver on one of the most anticipated final seasons in years, and just what the cast of characters will be going through in these last episodes. Sure, there’s some fluff talk about “raising the stakes” and giving fans a satisfying conclusion–something George R.R. Martin himself has yet to do–but then Samwell went and said something slightly more interesting.
Here’s the general boilerplate from Bradley about their approach to Game of Thrones Season 8:
“The stakes definitely feel ramped up. We know that we’ve got a real job to do. This has been a part of people’s lives for so many years. This is our eighth season, and we are kind of feeling the pressure to get it right because we want to satisfy people. We want to give people a payoff that they’re going to be happy with. We know how militantly passionate the fans of this show can be — in a good way — and we just kind of want to give them an ending that they deserve.”
Now for the interesting bit. Bradley also mentioned that each of the characters, of whom there are now fewer than ever before thanks to the crucible that is this kill-happy fantasy show, will find themselves in unfamiliar situations, both existentially and physically:
“These characters are so detailed and so rich, you can feel that you’ve got a pretty good handle on your character. You can predict how your character will react in any given circumstance, but when you place these characters in a new environment, it’s always putting them under a microscope, and you constantly have to reexamine your character. Each of the characters this year is placed in a completely alien environment at some point in the season that they’ve never been placed in before. The thrill is seeing how they react to it and how they respond… This season, I think, more than any other is stretching these characters.”
Since Game of Thrones more or less had its characters spread all over Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms previously, it would make narrative and practical sense to bring them all together in the final season. That’s going to make a lot of them uncomfortable, but just who ends up where remains to be seen. Be sure to let us know your thoughts and predictions in the comments because it’s going to be a while before anyone knows for sure.