There's no doubt that expectations are high for the final season of Game of Thrones. It's one of the most popular and closely followed shows in all of television right now, and the build-up to Season 8's half-dozen movie-length episodes has been intense.
We know a big battle with wights at Winterfell is nigh and that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) are going to come into the thing as more than just allies. We also know that Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) is still Cersei Lannister, meaning she wants to employ some of that "chaos is a ladder" technique Petyr Baelish used to talk about.
What we don't know is who will emerge victorious — or die — and how the series will end. Will Dany finally ascend the Iron Throne, or will her ambitions be thwarted by the Night King? We'll have to wait and see what happens in the show's final episode, but Game of Thrones creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff are already bracing for some disappointment.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, the pair detail their decision to helm the show's grand finale, saying, "When something has been sitting with you for so long, you have such a specific sense of the way each moment should play and feel. ... So it's not really fair to ask somebody else to get that right. We'd be lurking over their shoulder every take driving them crazy making it hard for them to do their job. If we're going to drive anybody crazy it might as well be ourselves."
The upshot of taking the helm is that the two have total control over the show's final moments; the downside is that they're going to be completely responsible if fans don't like what they've created, and Weiss and Benioff are steeling themselves for at least a few negative reactions.
"We want people to love it. It matters a lot to us. We've spent 11 years doing this," Weiss said. "We also know no matter what we do, even if it's the optimal version, that a certain number of people will hate the best of all possible versions. There is no version where everybody says, 'I have to admit, I agree with every other person on the planet that this is the perfect way to do this' — that's an impossible reality that doesn't exist."
Surprisingly, it's the Breaking Bad finale, which was widely loved and felt conclusive for most fans, that they're drawing inspiration from. "I'm hoping for the Breaking Bad [finale] argument where it's like, 'Is that an A or an A+?'" Weiss explained. (Hopefully our heroes don't suffer the same grim fate as pretty much everyone on Breaking Bad, though — or is that supposed to be a clue, too?)
As for how they'll handle live reactions to the finale, well, Benioff told the mag he'll just get drunk and keep a healthy distance between himself and the digital realm. Fair enough.
Entertainment Weekly has also rolled out a bevy of new Game of Thrones character covers, and not only do some of the characters have some slick new duds, but there are some pairings in the images that seem to confirm some long-simmering conflict ahead: The Hound and The Mountain, Ser Davos and Melisandre, and Euron and Theon Greyjoy in particular.
Game of Thrones Season 8 will premiere on HBO on Sunday, April 14 at 9/8c.