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Game of Thrones' deadly finale teased by HBO execs

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Mar 13, 2018, 12:27 PM EDT

Producers and executives have been notoriously tight-lipped about Game of Thrones since the show’s inception, but a particularly fiery panel discussion seems to have hinted at some major spoilers for the show’s finale. Major, deadly spoilers.

HBO SVP of drama Francesca Orsi spoke on a panel at the INTV Conference in Israel about the network’s future and the future of dramatic television, but conversations often turned to their hit adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s novels.

While continuing the show through “three, four, five” spinoffs was teased — with the alternative being compared to “corporate malfeasance” — the main draw here was the show’s eighth and final season finale. A table read by the cast of their final six scripts “was a really powerful moment in our lives and our career,” Orsi said. “None of the cast had received the scripts prior, and one by one they started to fall down to their deaths. By the end, the last few words on the final script, the tears just started falling down. Then there was applause that lasted 15 minutes.”

Obviously we don’t know whom this refers to or how they fall down to their deaths (Poison? Exhaustion? Pushed from a tower after unwittingly spying an incestuous relationship?), but the deaths are here and they promise to be everything the masochistic Thrones fan base has been clamoring for and/or dreading since the beginning.

Character turnover is the show’s bread and butter, but in this final season, it seems even more motivated than the Red Wedding. A great final war is what the show has been building to, the combined armies of man against the magical armies of the unholy undead, but will a final battle doom the characters we love?

We’re not sure, and Orsi certainly wasn’t going to clarify. Instead, most of the panel’s other GoT-focused time was spent looking at the high-level elements of running the show and its spinoffs. For instance, the network has definitely budgeted these spinoffs at and beyond the scope of the original’s first few seasons — there’s just too much expectation now, with Orsi noting that “$50 million [per season] would never fly for what we are trying to do. We are going big,”

Game of Thrones will end (and more spinoff news is sure to come) in 2019.

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