Few other shows get anywhere near the discussion that Game of Thrones generates especially when it comes to the length of certain episodes. There’s almost an obsessiveness to it in some ways, a desire for more generated by the fact that we only have six episodes left before the curtain falls. If each episode was ten hours long you better believe people would still be watching.
If there had been no hype around this subject over the past year or so, there’s a good chance fewer people would actually care about the subject now. Yet, we’ve seen headlines for months ballyhoo about how this season is going to have the longest episodes ever and how many of them are going to feel like movies. There are only six episodes, and because of that (and the insatiable search for Game of Thrones-related content in general), the run time matters so much more than it probably would if there were a longer episode count. Remember when there were ten episodes a season? Those were the days…
This brings us now to the primary subject that we have to discuss today. As first discovered by Winter Is Coming, the season 8 premiere will run for approximately 54 minutes. Meanwhile, the second episode is going to contain closer to 58 minutes’ worth of content. Neither one of these episodes is getting anywhere close to “longest episode ever” territory.
So have some little birds over at HBO betrayed us with some of their hype, or is there something larger going on here? Let’s answer those questions with a “no” followed soon after by a “yes”. The plan has always been for the first two episodes of the final season to be a little bit shorter; it is the final four episodes that are going to balloon into a different stratosphere. We’re still not even 100% that these longer episodes are actually a good thing; having more content can be bad if some of that content doesn’t matter. You don’t want to see an episode that is just overstuffed for the sake of being “long” and “epic.” We don’t think that’s happening with Game of Thrones (it’s such a pain to do longer episodes internationally that we don’t think that HBO would go through the trouble unless it matters), but we won’t know for certain until the episodes air.
What is paramount for Game of Thrones season 8 is that it makes the most of the time that it has. Make every single second of every scene noteworthy, and give you a sense of despair, of carnage, and also of hope. The recently-released season 8 trailer is the calm before the storm, and we gotta say that it’s really not that calm either. Its purpose seems to be throwing all the pieces on the board before the Battle of Winterfell, the biggest TV fight of its kind in history. Producing it was beastlier than any of Daenerys’ dragons and the end result could rival the Red Wedding in terms of character deaths, tears, and people trying to embarrass their friends by filming their reactions (remember when that was a thing?).
What do you think about the first Game of Thrones season 8 episode lengths?
Do you really care at all how long specific episodes are, or is this something that we’re all just wading in the weeds on while we wait for the sweet, sweet content? Share now in the comments. (Photo: HBO.)