'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Run Times Reveal a Dragon-Sized Binge-Watch

By Eric Francisco and Meredith Jacobs
on
Filed Under Entertainment, HBO & TV Shows

If you’re organizing Game of Thrones watch parties for the show’s final season, you might want to prepare the couch with pillows and blankets for your tired friends. As the eighth season of Game of Thrones comes near, fan blog Winter Is Coming rounded up a list of episode runtimes — and they’re long.

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While the first two episodes of Season 8 clock in under an hour — which is pretty standard for Game of Thrones — it’s episodes three to six that will be extra long, almost as long as feature-length movies.

With talk among critics concerning how “cinematic” the HBO series has been these last eight years, these long run times really drive home the point that Game of Thrones isn’t just big TV. It’s movies.

Some of the official run times for Game of Thrones Season 8 differ from what Winter Is Coming reported, but here are the times reported by Variety and Entertainment Weekly and confirmed by HBO.

  • Season 8, Episode 1 (airing on April 14) will be 54 minutes.
  • Season 8, Episode 2 (airing on April 21) will be 58 minutes.
  • Season 8, Episode 3 (airing on April 28) is one hour and 22 minutes.
  • Season 8, Episode 4 (airing on May 5) is one hour and 18 minutes.
  • Season 8, Episode 5 (airing on May 12) is one hour and 20 minutes.
  • Season 8, Episode 6, the finale (airing on May 19), is also one hour and 20 minutes.

One hour and 18-20 minute run times are short movies, but they’re long by Game of Thrones metrics. In Season 7, the longest episode was the finale, which clocked in at one hour and 21 minutes. The fact that Game of Thrones is doing three episodes almost that long is pretty astonishing. HBO is not screwing around. Season 8 is going to be big, and audiences are going to literally feel it.

The only other information available about these episodes is that they’re rated TV-MA and Episodes 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 have “Adult Content.” Given that the show was once called “Tits and dragons” by former guest star Ian McShane (bless him), this is of little surprise to the Game of Thrones audience.

What is interesting, and maybe weird, is that Episode 1 does not have that same “Adult Content” claim. While it’s unlikely the show will soften up in any way, it’s curious if the highly anticipated premiere will keep clear of its usual toolset of gratuitous blood, violence, and nudity.

We’ve previously heard about these run times. In January, a French news site, Première, attended an event for France’s OCS, the home of HBO’s programming, and revealed the first two episodes would be 60 minutes long and the remaining four episodes would each be 80 minutes in length. It’s likely that OCS wasn’t given the exact run times yet because HBO didn’t have them yet.

If you look at the run times for the previous seasons, for the most part, the first two episodes do tend to be on the shorter side compared to the rest of the season. However, you also have to take into account that six of the past seven seasons were 10 episodes long. It makes sense to have the final season, which is only six episodes, feature longer run times. It also makes sense for the Game of Thrones series finale to be one of the longest episodes in the show’s history.

So, what we’re saying is, don’t drink too much homemade meade and ale if you have to drive home after Game of Thrones on Sundays. It’s going to be late. Maybe hitch a ride from Dany’s dragons. They’ll get you home in no time.

Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. on HBO.


Related video: Game of Thrones Season 8 Trailer

Dragons, battles, and Jon Snow, oh my!