In Depth

Game of Thrones death toll reaches 150,966

A new video claims to show the demise of every living being in the show - but have some deaths slipped under the radar?

Game of Thrones: 'Extraordinary' season 7 will be shorter

4 January

Iain Glen has revealed that the Game of Thrones production team is taking just as long to make season seven, despite it being three episodes shorter than the previous series.

The Scottish actor, who plays Ser Jorah Mormont in the fantasy drama, said the long shooting schedule was necessary to perfect the seven episodes of the show's penultimate season.

"I think the scale and size of the set pieces, the world that is being created, it's just getting more and more extraordinary and they feel they need that time to shoot seven hours as opposed to ten," Glen told the Radio Times.

He also hinted that the show's scattered cast of characters will be sharing more screen time in the next season.

"This season you feel that the drama is moving towards its end game," he said. "More characters are overlapping so we are seeing a lot more of each other than perhaps in the past."

However, fans who gobbled up season six in April last year will have to wait a little longer for their fix this time around – season seven won't arrive on our screens until the summer.

Glen also said that he believed there were 15 hours left before the saga draws to a close. "But that could change," he added

Glen's comments match a previous statement from showrunners David Benioff and Daniel Weiss that says that the final two seasons will contain between 13 and 15 episodes.

Speaking to Deadline last summer, Benioff described how all the pieces are now in place for an epic final showdown in Westeros.

"Daenerys is finally coming back to Westeros; Jon Snow is king of the North and Cersei is sitting on the Iron Throne," he said. "We're definitely heading into the end game now."

Game of Thrones: Five ideas for HBO's possible spin-off

16 December

US TV network HBO has confirmed it is in "advanced talks" over the possibility of a Game of Thrones spin-off show.

Currently one of the most-watched shows globally, Game of Thrones is nearing its end and has only two more series expected to air.

However, fans will no doubt be pleased to hear HBO's chief executive Richard Plepner says a separate show is likely.

"There might be some brand extension that would be exciting. It certainly has not escaped the producers," he told the Hollywood Reporter.

However, Plepner remained coy about any prospective details. "Right now we're focused on finishing the series with the kind of energy and excitement that everyone has come to expect. We're going to do that while at the same time parallel processing very embryonic stages of other possibilities."

If a spin-off is on the cards, it will not air until at least 2018, after Games of Thrones finishes.

With the history of Westeros so varied and detailed, which era would fans most like to see brought to life?

Robert's Rebellion 

The television series begins with Robert Baratheon on the throne, reminiscing about the great civil war that resulted in the fall of House Targaryen 17 years earlier. The events of Robert's Rebellion, also known as the War of the Usurper, are mentioned repeatedly on the show: the houses rebelled against the rule of Aerys II Targaryen, an erratic and murderous king, who was ultimately betrayed by his Kingsguard Ser Jaime Lannister. Ned Stark and Robert fought against the Targaryens after Lyanna Stark - Ned's sister and Robert's betrothed - was kidnapped by Prince Rhaegar. 

Robert eventually killed Rhaegar with a blow to the chest from his war-hammer and Ned later found his sister, who had just given birth to a baby boy. She had only the chance to extract a promise from her brother - widely thought to be an oath to look after her son, Jon Snow, as if he were his own - before she died.

The birth of the White Walkers

The origin of the White Walkers was touched upon in season six, through one of Bran Stark's flashbacks. The ancient race of humanoid ice creatures were created thousands of years before the period in which Game of Thrones is set, by the Children of the Forest, to protect themselves from the First Men. Such a prequel might also include the "Long Night", the longest winter in history, during which the White Walkers descended on Westeros, killing all in their path and reanimating the dead as zombie-like "wights". They were finally defeated in the War for the Dawn, after which The Wall was raised and the Night's Watch was founded.

The Reign of the Mad King

The rule of Aerys II Targaryen might not offer wars for the throne, but it would chronicle the demise of the Mad King and a lot of brutal executions. It would also offer viewers a glimpse of their favourite adult characters as children, including the Lannister siblings and Ned Stark - and perhaps offer an explanation as to why Aerys II was shouting "Burn them all" before he died, as seen in one of Bran's season six flashbacks.

The Doom of Valyria

Daenerys Targaryen's three dragons have provided several great action scenes in Game of Thrones – but what if there were hundreds of them? The Doom of Valyria would make for exciting television, as catastrophic volcanoes and earthquakes destroyed the city of Old Valyria and wiped out most of the dragons. Viewers were given a glimpse of the city's remains during season five, when Tyrion Lannister and Ser Jorah Mormont sailed from Volantis to Meereen.

The story of Nymeria

The warrior queen Nymeria, an ancestor of House Martell, is a legend in Game of Thrones after leading the Rhoynar refugees to Dorne a thousand years ago. The Rhoynar people were on the verge of being conquered by the Valyrian Freehold and its dragons, but Nymeria rallied survivors and sailed to Dorne, where she had their 10,000 ships burned so nobody would turn back.

She married a local king, Mors Martell, and together they unified all of Dorne. Two centuries later it became the last of the Seven Kingdoms. Nymeria is revered as the founder of Dorne and her name became popular in the realm. Even in Winterfell, young Arya Stark chose to name her direwolf after the warrior queen.

Game of Thrones: What will happen when two key characters meet in season 7?   

4 November

Grainy footage has emerged of a scene that Game of Thrones fans have been looking forward to for six seasons.

The video, shot by a covert onlooker, shows Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) meeting for the first time. The scene was being filmed for season seven on the islet of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in the Basque Country, Spain.

"San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, topped with a hermitage and connected to the mainland by a winding footbridge, looks particularly photogenic, and the coast has been touted as a potential landing point for Daenerys and her Unsullied/Dothraki army," says the Daily Telegraph.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"102512","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

The footage provides confirmation that the two characters will meet but little information about what they say to each other and what will happen next.

At the end of season six Dany's eyes were set on the Iron Throne, while Jon needed help to defeat the White Walkers. It is rumoured that Daenerys teams up with Snow, now King of the North, after seeing a White Walker for herself.

Another leak suggests the Night King, who leads the White Walkers, may kill one of her dragons and resurrect it to destroy The Wall.

Meanwhile, neither Jon nor Daenerys are aware that they could be related. If Jon is indeed the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, he would be Daenerys's nephew, but only Bran Stark and Howland Reed know of the connection. 

Jon's Targaryen blood is consistent with a theory that he is one of three "dragon riders" needed to reclaim the Iron Throne with Daenerys, according to a vision she had in season three. The third dragon rider is believed by some fans to be Tyrion Lannister. 

During Daenerys's vision, she walks through three areas: a Dothraki tent (representing her), the Wall (possibly representing Jon) and the throne room in King's Landing (possibly referencing Tyrion's service as Hand to King Joffrey at the time).  

Westerosi legend suggests they must also be "born of blood", and Daenerys, Jon and Tyrion all killed their mothers in childbirth.

The Mad King Aerys II Targaryen, Daenerys's father, was particularly fond of Tyrion's mother, Joanna Lannister. In the book A Dance with Dragons Daenerys is told that her father "took liberties" during the bedding ritual at Joanna's wedding to Tyrion's father Tywin.

When Tyrion shoots his father at the end of season four, Tywin utters: "You are no son of mine." 

Fans believe this might be more than a dying retort.

How would a Game of Thrones/Westworld crossover work? 

20 October

HBO has been hoping to replicate the success of Games of Thrones with its new sci-fi drama Westworld – but George RR Martin had his heart set on something even greater.

The Song of Ice and Fire author approached Westworld showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy about the idea of a Game of Thrones/Westworld crossover.

So how would it work?

In the first three episodes of HBO's Westworld, the action has taken place in a highly realistic amusement park based on the American Old West. The resort is populated with lifelike androids, which exist purely to play a role in the guests' fantasies: be it drinking, sex or murder.

However, in the 1973 sci-fi film, on which the series is based, there is also a Roman World and a Medieval World, which Martin suggested could be replaced with a Westeros World for the TV show, filled with android hosts modelled on Game of Thrones characters.

"It's like how Universal has its Wizarding World of Harry Potter park and Disney is creating a section of its park based on Star Wars, except with all the interactive sex and violence that Westworld offers its hedonistic guests," says Entertainment Weekly (EW). "Then HBO could even resurrect popular dead characters such as Khal Drogo and Ned Stark."

 Will it ever be a reality?

Nolan and Joy appear to have politely declined.

Nolan told EW they "love George" and it is "flattering he would encourage a crossover", but his wife took issue with the premise of dragons in Westworld.

"I need to believe that dragons are real," said Joy. "I want them be a real thing. So as much as I love George, I can't lose that for myself."

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