The Song of Ice and Fire is about to reach its crescendo sooner than you think — and it will likely involve Sansa Stark. At SXSW, it was confirmed that the final season of Game of Thrones will be nearly half the length of its ten-episode early seasons, with just six episodes.

This has several intriguing implications on the story. Mainly, it bodes well for Sansa’s future, as showrunner David Benioff revealed that she is one of his favorite characters.

“To be honest, even in the books, book readers would always hate Sansa, and I always loved her because she seemed like a real person,” he said at SXSW. “Yeah, she’s really annoying sometimes, and she’s a stuck-up teenager sometimes, but she goes through one of the most interesting journeys …She’s always been one of my favorite characters.”

It also means that Season 7 and Season 8 will be more like two halves of a whole than any prior season. This is because Season 7 will also be shorter at just seven episodes. The usual format of Episode 9 being the “shit goes down” hour and Episode 10 being the “loose ends” hour will be shaken up. Expect Season 7 to end with a killer cliffhanger. It also means the stretch to the end of the series will be packed with nonstop action, as Iain Glen, who plays Jorah, recently explained that shorter seasons mean less filler and more action.

But it could very well mean that Jon Snow won’t find out about his real parents until Season 8.

Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres July 16 on HBO.

Photos via HBO