Emilia Clarke portrays Daenerys Targaryen in HBO’s "Game of Thrones" series.
Winter is coming this summer, as the season 7 premiere date for HBO’s massive hit has finally been revealed.
The seventh and penultimate season will premiere on July 16.
The announcement was made in an elaborate reveal on a live video on the show’s Facebook page watched by over 150,000 fans, as a block of ice was melted by a flaming torch. Fans were encouraged to leave comments with the word "fire" and "dracarys" to speed up the melting; the reveal was also interspersed with short videos of the show’s stars like Alfie Allen breathing fire.
Much to fans’ frustration, the first iteration of the live video — which was scheduled for 11am PT — ended abruptly with no reveal of the date, prompting many Twitter jokes about "Sopranos"-like endings. A second version ended without a reveal as well.
Production on the show delayed the premiere of the series past its usual April start date, in order to capture the weather the producers wanted. "Now that winter has arrived on ‘Game of Thrones,’ executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss felt that the storylines of the next season would be better served by starting production a little later than usual, when the weather is changing," said Casey Bloys, HBO programming president. Production was based in Northern Ireland, with additional portions filmed in Spain and Iceland.
The later airdate means that Season 7 will miss the eligibility window for the upcoming 2017 Emmys. "Game of Thrones" scored 23 Emmy nominations last year, winning 12 total, including best drama.
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Season 7 will consist of seven episodes, as Variety first reported, with Season 8 expected to be somewhere between 6 or 8 episodes.
While details of the upcoming season are as scarce as always, a new poster teases a "fire vs. ice" theme.
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