*Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones, Season 6*
The knee-jerk reaction to the news that Game of Thrones Season 7 will take even longer to reach our TV screens is one of dismay; after all, waiting until April was already asking a lot of us. Season 6 was arguably the best so far, taking dramatic strides toward the mammoth finale to the entire series, concluding at the stage where fans are desperate to find out what happens next.
There is no doubt the lack of Game of Thrones leaves a noticeable void, with no other show really comparing to it. But there are larger things at play than fan's desire, as show runners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss illustrated when they shared the news. In an interview with the UFC Unfiltered podcast, they said:
"We don’t have an air date yet. We’re starting a bit later because at the end of this season, ‘Winter is here,' and that means that sunny weather doesn’t really serve our purposes any more. So we kind of pushed everything down the line, so we could get some grim, grey weather even in the sunnier places that we shoot.”
Winter Is Here
But while the news is frustrating, there are positives we can take (yes, really!). The Known World is an expansive fictional universe, brimming with jaw-dropping storylines, Hollywood-esque battle scenes, and an immersive and varied environment. The latter is a huge draw of the show, and careful consideration needs to be taken.
Filming locations for the show include Northern Ireland (Riverlands and Winterfell), Iceland (North of The Wall, unsurprisingly), Croatia (King's Landing) and Seville, Spain (Dorne). Presumably, producers will be waiting until later in the year for those usually sun drenched locations to look a little more dark and dreary.
With Winter finally arriving at the end of Season 6, part of the immersive experience will be capturing the claustrophobic feeling of a dense, inescapable winter, as well as a foreboding reminder that with winter comes the White Walkers.
The news also serves as confirmation we'll be seeing much more of the undead over the next two seasons as winter falls over Westeros, with the climax no doubt leading up to the battle against the Night's King and his corpse compatriots.
A Return Of The Prince That Was Promised?
The long awaited arrival of winter also opens the door for one of the biggest foreshadowed storylines to finally be realised on screen; the return of the Prince that was Promised, Azor Ahai. For those unfamiliar, Azor Ahai was a legendary warrior who defeated the White Walkers with his special sword, Lightbringer.
He's the chosen one who is expected to help defeat them this time around, and despite Melisandre's constant speculation, we still aren't sure who this could be. It's more than likely the final two seasons will build up to this reveal, as well as depicting Azor Ahai's battle against the White Walkers. In a nutshell, everything we've seen so far will fade into insignificance compared to what is to come.
Those of you who enjoy a little speculation as to what will happen over the next two seasons, can check out a theory on the ending. Whether or not that theory is true, we're guaranteed some intense viewing.
Filling In Background Knowledge
But away from the news giving us some exciting insight into what could come next in terms of storyline, there are some more positives. There is no doubt Game of Thrones, which can be a confusing tangle of characters and storylines, is made richer by a background knowledge of the books or the extended universe.
Now we have a little extra time to leisurely re-watch every episode, or reread all of the books. That can't be a bad thing, can it?
How do you feel about the Game of Thrones delay?
All images credited to HBO