‘Game of Thrones’ season 8 may not air till 2019

While “Game of Thrones” fans have had to endure a slightly longer wait for season 7, which returns to HBO on July 16, now comes news that the eighth and final chapter in this saga may not make it to the air until 2019. Creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who craft almost all the scripts, are being free rein by the paycaster head of programming Casey Bloys to take as long as they need to plot out the final six episodes.

While we won’t know for a while when we will see the resolution of the long-simmering battles at the heart of this Emmy champ, we can dissect the first extended trailer for the seventh season of this epic series (watch above). We have been waiting almost a year for a look at what lies ahead for the warring factions.

We already knew from the first teaser trailer that Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) each approach the Iron Throne. After they took a seat in turn, we got a glimpse of the Night King. What does this all mean? While we will get some answers this summer in the seven episodes to air, the big questions likely won’t be resolved till the eighth and final season in 2018.

Among the clues spread out in the two-minute trailer were these key seven moments:

Cersei Lannister is still on the Iron Throne
After her son, King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), killed himself , she seized the Throne at the end of season six and remains there. As she intones in the trailer, “Enemies to the east, enemies to the west, enemies to the south, enemies to the north — whatever stands in our way, we will defeat it.”

Daenerys Targaryen declares her intentions
This daughter of a king has spent the whole series planning her revenge on those who deposed her late father after he wen mad. “I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms, and I will,” she declares as she amasses an army to take back the Iron Throne.

Jon Snow returns to fight for his birthright
Snow is also the heir to the throne, though his lineage is via illegitimacy which may lessen his claim for control of Westeros. He warns that “the great war is coming.”

The Night King is poised for attack
Snow’s warning could well be about this long-time enemy, who is gathering together his army of White Walkers and plotting his invasion from the north.

Daenerys may be turning to Ellaria and Olenna
While Daenerys has the right to the Iron Throne, she lacks the might. With Varys (Conleth Hill) now in Dorne, could there be an alliance to come with Ellaria (Indira Varma) and Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg)?

Littlefinger continues to threaten Sansa
Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) has long lusted after Sansa (Sophie Turner) but may finally have met his match as Snow confronts him in a stand-off at Winterfell.

Jorah Mormont may be back
Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), a one-time ally of Daenerys, was beset by the deadly disease Greyscale. He left her to search for a cure and we get a glimpse of a diseased arm that could be his.

Since “Game of Thrones” premieres in July, it won’t have any new episodes to compete in the 2017 Emmy cycle. That’s good news for virtually every other drama series on the air since “Thrones” has monopolized the awards, winning 24 prizes in the last two years alone, including Best Drama Series both times (2015, 2016). Overall it has won 38 Emmys, more than any other primetime scripted series in history. But from the looks of the new trailer, “Thrones” might be back for more trophies in 2018.

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