“Game of Thrones” season eight runtime — troubling or exciting?

Game Of Thrones season 8, HBO, 2019

The runtime for Game of Thrones' season eight episodes has officially been confirmed.

Game of Thrones season eight is predicted to be one of the biggest events in television history. In terms of technical achievement, the series has proved monumental and has played a significant role in the “television has overtaken film” argument. So, it comes as no surprise that audiences are hailing it as a twenty-first-century masterpiece of sorts. 

Remarkably, the series has managed to attract such a broad audience. The series first premiered on HBO in April 2011 to immediate acclaim, marking the arrival of a bold new world. Of course, Game of Thrones is based on the books written by George R. R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire, the first novel of which the series borrows its title from. Since the show's origins in 2011, each series has grown in ambition, scope and as a result, budget. 

It appears that season eight has been crafted with the attitude that no expense should be spared. The first episode is scheduled for release on April 14, 2019, and the final episode is set to conclude the series on May 19. With six episodes in total, there's a great deal of narrative to pack in; however, it looks like this has influenced the runtime significantly. 

As reported by Empire, some of the runtimes will be feature-length. The first two episodes will average at fifty-six minutes in length. On the other hand, the subsequent four episodes average at eighty minutes in length each. Essentially, audiences will be treated to four feature-length Game of Thrones episodes. Inevitably, this news has been met with overwhelming enthusiasm, but doesn't it just help settle the aforementioned debate?

There is no definitive answer, just opinion. Yet, it seems that by narrowing down the number of episodes and making them longer, the “television has overtaken film” argument takes a severe blow. Television episodes shouldn't be feature length, as this kind of defeats the point. The creators clearly feel that the episodes will benefit from expanding their runtime, and with Game of Thrones already considered the most filmic of all series, you can take this announcement as proof that the creators want to give us films rather than simply a final series. To achieve something more cinematic, the creators are admitting that, to do so, the episodic sixty-minute structure may not cut it.

Others are doing this too. Recently, it was announced that Nicolas Winding Refn's upcoming TV series - Too Old to Die Young - will be comprised of ten ninety-minute episodes; essentially, we have ten connected features on our hands. However, both examples can also be used to argue in favour of such a statement. With television episodes aspiring to be longer, TV may literally be becoming film. It's a tough debate and one we'll likely see grow even more complicated in the next few years. 

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