Winter is here! Entertainment Weekly pulls back the veil on HBO’s ultra-mysterious seventh season of Game of Thrones and stages a reunion of the surviving Starks.
Separated on the hit series since the very first episode, we brought together Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Sansa (Sophie Turner), Arya (Maisie Williams), and Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) for five collectible covers.
Inside the issue, we journey to Northern Ireland and Spain to get the scoop on this summer’s eagerly awaited seven new episodes — the show’s fastest-paced and most lavishly produced season yet. The Thrones team, led by showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, spent just as many months to create seven episodes as they typically spend making 10.
“I know you probably get sick of hearing us say this, we say it every year, but everybody steps up their game this season,” Benioff says. “It’s kind of astounding to us. In every department, from the acting to the effects, everybody constantly improves.”
Expect massive dragons and even bigger battles (on sea and land). But the aspect that will have fans buzzing the most is who meets who this season. For the first time in the show’s history, all the main characters will be in Westeros — and most of them are itching to kill each other.
“What’s most exciting this season is being able to play interactions between various characters that for years we haven’t been able to play,” Weiss teases.
Put another way: Once Dany and her dragons disembark in Lannister-controlled Westeros the only logical outcome is all hell breaking loose — and it does.
“Dany in Westeros makes Game of Thrones a new show,” co-executive producer Bryan Cogman declares. “It has this amazing ripple effect throughout every storyline that’s very exciting to explore. There’s a pace and urgency that’s very palpable. This is the end game.”
It was the buzz of the year. After the shocking finale of the fifth season of Game of Thrones with the murder of Jon Snow by a group of traitorous Brothers of the Night and no indication from George R.R. Martin (author of the saga, who hasn’t yet published the sixth book and is thus on a lag with respect to the HBO series) as to the fate of the most popular of his heroes, the speculative frenzy of the fans has become a viral phenomenon ready to pounce on any tidbit of news. The hypothesis that he died, case closed, was first undermined by the fact that Kit continued to sport the trademark look demanded by the series, then by some photos stolen from the shooting location in Ireland, despite official statements by the network and the actor. Now we know: Jon Snow is alive. “Having to maintain absolute secrecy for so long has been a formidable test for understanding the psychology of other people on the basis of assumptions made. What I realized is that many people feel they have a much stronger connection with Jon Snow than I do”.