Time dropped a cover story on Game of Thrones today that goes deep on how the biggest show on Earth gets made. It's a Herculean, global task, and the article is a fascinating read. Peppered throughout are tidbits and teases about what's coming up in Season 7 — and beyond. Here are the seven best.
1. There's a fight so big it will break the internet
Time's Daniel D'Addario witnessed the production of a battle scene that left him breathless even without seeing the final product. He can't disclose what it is, but writes "Thrones has been promising this clash all along, and when the time comes, the Internet will melt." Not only is this a sly reference to the infamous Facebook Live premiere date reveal debacle, it's also a clue. D'Addario is writing about the battle between the army of living, led by Jon Snow (Kit Harington), and the army of the dead, led by the Night King, and the way he puts it, it's gonna make "Hardhome" look like a Worldstar video. The moment that breaks the internet could be when Jon Snow is revealed to be Azor Ahai, the prodigal Prince Who Was Promised, which probably will happen.
2. Seriously, this show is gigantic
The studio in Belfast is called Titanic Studios, named for the most famous ship built in the city's famous shipyards, and it's an apt name: "The battle was filmed in what was once a Belfast quarry, drained, flattened out with 11,000 square meters of concrete and painted over with a camouflage effect--all of which took six months and required special ecological surveys."
3. Nymeria the direwolf is almost definitely coming back
In a section about the myriad problems showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have to deal with, D'Addario writes "wolves described in the script as 'skinny and mangy' showed up to the shoot looking fluffy and lustrous." One of those wolves has to be Arya's direwolf Nymeria, who's been on her own in the Riverlands since Arya (Maisie Williams) sent her away for her own safety way back in Season 1. She's been out there so long she's now skinny and mangy. Since Arya is also in the Riverlands once again, chances are there's going to be a reunion. And chances are your heart will explode.
4. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau doesn't like to think about the whole incest thing
While Lena Headey loves to talk about and think about her character Cersei's incestuous relationship with her brother Jaime, the guy who plays Jaime isn't into it. "I've never really gone too deep into the whole sister-brother thing because I can't use that information. I have to look at her as the woman he loves and desires. Lena's a very good actress, and that's kind of what carries the whole thing," Nikolaj Coster-Waldau said, adding, "I have two older sisters. I do not want to go there. It's just too weird."
5. Benioff and Weiss know how it all ends
The showrunners are writing the final six episodes of Season 8 now, and detailed outlines of every episode have been drawn up. "We know what happens in each scene," Weiss told D'Addario, and they were working on the series finale while he was there. The ending is no longer just something they're thinking about; they're hammering out the details.
6. Benioff and Weiss are even more intense than they used to be
Thanks to the CIA-like security put in place to prevent leaks as well as the fact that they're working without a template set by George R.R. Martin's books, the story is all on them, and Benioff and Weiss have gotten a little dictatorial. "I think they feel this is truly theirs now, and it's not to be tampered with," said Coster-Waldau. "I've just sensed this last season that this is their baby: 'Just say the words as they're written, and shut up.'" It sounds like Coster-Waldau might be getting tired of this whole Game of Thrones thing, doesn't it?
7. There's a bunch of new Season 7 photos
The feature came with 10 previously unreleased Season 7 photos, including a 'ship-baiting one of Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) at Winterfell and some cool behind-the-scenes shots of the camera equipment, which is so high-tech but still protected from the elements by plastic garbage bags.
Game of Thrones premieres Sunday, July 16 at 9/8c.