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Game of Thrones season 7 to premiere summer 2017 with only SEVEN episodes

It surprised absolutely no-one when HBO renewed (opens in new tab) Game of Thrones (opens in new tab) for season 7. What did come as a shock were rumors that the series might return with a much shorter episode count (opens in new tab) and a delayed release date (opens in new tab). Well hold onto your leather britches, folks: today both of those rumors were confirmed (opens in new tab) by the network.  

As expected, season 7 has its episode count reduced from the usual ten to a mere seven. Showrunners DB Weiss and David Benioff already commented (opens in new tab) that the plan for the final two seasons is to wrap up the show in roughly 13 episodes. Palpitations aside, it's not entirely a bad thing. Season 6 ploughed through its story much faster than previous seasons. Now that we're headed into the final stretch, who wants a 2-3 episode arc that dawdles around somewhere no-one's bothered about? (ahem, Dorne.) 

Normally there's a year-long gap between seasons, but that too is set to change. Due to the whole 'winter is here' thing at the end of season 6, showrunners aren't concerned with shooting in sunny locations. If Westeros is meant to be grey and bleak then it might be difficult to believe if everyone's strutting about with a tan. So unlike the show's typical spring start, cameras will instead roll at the tail-end of this summer. That means we won't be seeing any new Thrones until summer 2017. Yes. A whole year from now. 

On the bright side - perfect time to start that seasons 1-6 rewatch, no? 

Images: HBO   

Gem Seddon is GamesRadar+'s west coast Entertainment News Reporter, working to keep all of you updated on all of the latest and greatest movies and shows on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Outside of entertainment journalism, Gem can frequently be found writing about the alternative health and wellness industry, and obsessing over all things Aliens and Terminator on Twitter.