Two familiar faces grace the cover of the November issue of Entertainment Weekly, though there are key changes to their appearances that will likely have Game of Thrones fans freaking out. Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington, in full Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow costumes, are EW’s new cover stars, and we’ve got so many questions about what’s to come in the eighth and final season of this epic fantasy show.
As reported by People, Clarke and Harington’s snowy embrace is the first official photo from the new season of Game of Thrones, which is already telling. They’re sporting fur coats and gloves, likely to fend off the winter chill, but they also have their hair pulled back — perhaps so they’re ready for battle?
Daenerys’ hairstyle is brand new, and Jon has a cut on his face that looks fresh, though there’s no blood to be seen. Are they fighting for Westeros together? Have they realized they’re related yet? Do they really have to be this photogenic even in the middle of winter, which has finally come?
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The first official photo from #GameOfThrones’ final season is here! 😱 How do you end the biggest show on TV? Blood, sweat, and lots of tears. Get behind-the-scenes details in our exclusive report from the set. Click the link in our bio for a preview, and pick up an issue on newsstands starting 11/2. #GoT 📷: Helen Sloan/HBO
It’ll be a while before we learn the answers to any of those questions, so buckle in for the ride. The final six episodes of Game of Thrones were shot over 10 grueling months, according to People, because the cast and crew were so invested in getting the final hours right for die-hard fans. Since the final season will reveal these characters’ fates, which haven’t even been published yet in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series, it’s a pretty big deal.
“It’s relentless; scenes that would have been a one-day shoot five years ago are now a five-day shoot,” Harington said in the EW interview, per People. “They want to get it right, they want to shoot everything every single way so they have options.”
Clarke added, “[Camera] checks take longer, costumes are a bit better, hair and makeup a bit sharper — every choice, every conversation, every attitude, has this air of ‘this is it.’ Everything feels more intense.”
As for what we can expect from the final season plot, co-executive producer Bryan Cogman said, “It’s about all of these disparate characters coming together to face a common enemy, dealing with their own past, and defining the person they want to be in the face of certain death. It’s an incredibly emotional haunting bittersweet final season and I think it honors very much what [author George R.R. Martin] set out to do — which is flipping this kind of story on its head.”
All this build-up is killing us, especially with this brand-new photo in the mix. Previously, Sophie Turner hinted that fans will likely be divided by how Game of Thrones ends, and Peter Dinklage was just vague enough about the fate of his character, Tyrion, to make us shake in our proverbial boots. Meanwhile, we also learned about an important returning character and started stocking up on tissues, because we know we’re going to need them.