The first Game of Thrones fan convention, Con of Thrones, wrapped on July 2nd in Nashville after a weekend of buildup for the return of the show for its seventh season on HBO on July 16.
From a review of the speaker agenda and online reports coming out of the convention, it wasn’t heavy on major spoilers or dish, but there were a few intriguing tidbits. Among the biggest is that episodes could be getting much longer as the show heads to its conclusion. While the number of episodes has shrunk, with seven slated for the upcoming season and just six for the yet-to-be-produced final batch, Season 8, the length will likely move toward feature range of 80-plus minutes next season, according to sound designed Paula Fairfield. She said Season 7 episodes will be their customary hour-long duration, but the finale of Season 7 clocks in at 82 minutes. In Season 8, the episode could be in the 80-plus-minute range of a feature film, as series like Sherlock and Black Mirror have done.
Another panel, cheekily called “Ghosts of Westeros,” brought together characters who have died on the show to recall the filming of their deaths. Miltos Yerolemou, who plays Syrio Forel, demurred when the moderator asked if he might not be a ghost of Westeros after all and that he could return alive. Showrunners and HBO are legendarily paranoid about any plot details leaking out about the show, and Yerolemou cited that cone of silence in his dodge.
While the inaugural Con of Thrones featured few current cast members, many of them have started making the publicity rounds ahead of the season launch. In one interview with the Sunday Times magazine in the U.K., star Sophie Turner said the show served as “sex education” for her.
“The first time I ever found out about oral sex was from reading the script. I was like … ‘Wow! People do that? That’s fascinating!’” the magazine quotes the 21-year-old saying. “I guess that was my sex education.” The sense of enlightenment also applied to the grueling rape scenes her character, Sansa Stark, was subjected to last season. “Sexual assault wasn’t something that had affected me or anybody I knew, so I was pretty blasé about the whole thing,” she said. “Naively so. And then I shot the scene, and in the aftermath there was this huge uproar that we would depict something like that on television.” At first, she felt that “maybe we shouldn’t have put that on screen at all,” she recalled. But then she started to feel that the violent depiction could raise awareness around the issue of sexual assault.
HBO has announced major GoT promo plans for Comic-Con, which Deadline will cover with our usual gusto. Be sure to check back here often as the countdown to the new season continues.