Ahead of the launch of the highly anticipated sixth season this Sunday, HBO has officially renewed ratings giant Game of Thrones for a seventh season of heart pounding drama. News of the renewal won’t come as much of a surprise as the series is HBO’s biggest export, but last week showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss gave fans cause for concern. 

“I think we’re down to our final 13 episodes after this season. We’re heading into the final lap. That’s the guess, though nothing is yet set in stone, but that’s what we’re looking at.”

Should it come to pass that seasons seven and eight are more mini-series in length, then the forthcoming season will be the last run comprised of ten instalments, and that makes me sad. I know that quality should always come before quantity, but I’m nowhere near ready for Game of Thrones to end. 

Naturally, HBO are also in no rush for Game of Thrones to conclude and programming president Michael Lombardo is optimistic that there’s some wiggle room over the future of the series beyond season eight.

“That’s my understanding from them right now, those have been the conversations we’ve had. Because where these narratives go, it feels like another two years to them. As a television executive, as a fan, do I wish they said another six years? I do. I’m always an optimist, and I do believe we will figure this out.”

HBO has yet to make any official decisions over the episode count, but according to Variety the two showrunners want more time to produce each episode as the current schedule is more in line with a big budget movie than a TV show. Game of Thrones will resume production over the summer, so we should find out before then how many episodes season seven will contain.