Game of Thrones is famous for killing off characters, so experienced fans are right to worry if their favorite surviving characters will make it out of the upcoming final season alive. The odds aren’t great, especially considering that HBO executive teased that Season 8 will be a bloodbath, and that longtime characters are going to methodically bite the dust.
While speaking at Israel’s INTV Conference on a panel called “The Best of HBO,” the network’s senior vice president of drama Francesca Orsi recalled how the cast’s first table read of Season 8 was a pretty brutal experience.
“None of the cast had received the scripts prior, and one by one they started falling down to their deaths,” Orsi said.
Since there are only going to be six supersized episodes in the last season, it’s probably safe to assume that fans can expect at least one major death every episode. The cast, some of whom have been on Game of Thrones since 2011, was pretty emotional.
“It was amazing,” Orsi said. “By the very end, everyone looked down and looked up and tears were in their eyes.”
Now, HBO’s programming president Casey Bloys and Emilia Clarke have both confirmed that the network is shooting multiple endings to avoid leaks, so it’s possible that characters who die in one filmed ending might actually survive when the final episodes that air. But, it’s unclear if those alternate endings were part of this table read, so the body count and the cast’s emotional response to the deaths were probably legit.
And, really, the most surprising thing HBO could do is not kill a bunch of characters to end Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones Season 8 will premiere sometime in Spring 2019.