‘Game of Thrones’ is almost coming to an end when the eighth and final season airs on HBO from April 14. Taking another step towards the inevitable finality, HBO has revealed the runtimes and airing dates of all the episodes of Season 8 of ‘Game of Thrones‘. While we had reported that the first two episodes stood at 54 and 58 minutes respectively, we now know that the remaining four of the six-episode series will be more than an hour long, keeping to the rumors of finale episodes having movie lengths. Notably, Winter is Coming had first revealed the estimated runtimes of the episodes of ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8.
As things stand in terms of runtime, episode 3 has the longest runtime at 1 hour and 22 minutes. Episode 4 is 1 hour and 18 minutes long, while both the penultimate and ultimate episodes 5 and 6 are timed at 1 hour and 20 minutes. The release dates reveal that new episodes of ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 will be arriving every Sunday starting from April 14 and ending on May 19. Clearly, the consecutive release dates display HBO’s intention of not taking any dramatic extra-week breaks while the final season is airing.
What stands out from this information is that the finale is not the longest episode of the season, although it comes close. The longest is episode 3 of Season 8 of ‘Game of Thrones’. Our guess is that the show will build towards the first major battle between the White Walkers and the people of Westeros in this episode. If you remember the latest trailer, we were given glimpses of the Starks having joined Daenerys Targaryen and her massive army, and they were all preparing for war. Since Winterfell is the biggest challenge to the White Walkers once they enter Westeros after we saw them break through the wall at the end of Season 7, there is a good chance that the first epic battle will be fought here. Content-wise, it also makes sense that the first two episodes will be shorter, since they will not move the story forward as much, instead focusing on reminding audiences where all the major characters are on the map. Notably, ‘Game of Thrones’ has always followed the pattern of building towards a climax or a twist and it seems like this is the exact format they are going with, in the final season as well.
Collider has jokingly mentioned how Sundays shall be called ‘The Long Night’ henceforth when the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ airs. This is not surprising since the show has gone on to become a pop culture phenomenon and as fans will be watching eagerly to finally witness who survives the army of the dead and gets to sit on the Iron Throne. While the runtimes add up to more than six hours of the cool spectacle that shall unfold in the ‘Game of Thrones’ universe, it is understandable why HBO would need to have such long episodes in the finale, not that we are complaining. In order to tie in all loose ends, they require a long runtime since the world of Westeros is complex and over the seven seasons, we have been introduced to a bevy of characters. Moreover, Season 8 will apparently see some characters meeting and interacting for the first time as Westeros tries to present a united front against the White Walker invasion. In light of all the character interactions, the runtime of the episodes seems adequate for ‘Game of Thrones’ to satisfactorily deal with its rich and complex content.