We’ve known for a long while that the seemingly penultimate season of Game of Thrones wouldn’t be coming in the show’s usual spring slot on HBO—but today, the company finally confirmed just when we’ll be going back to Westeros: July 16. But bloody hell, did we have to go through a mess to know it.
The date means fans are going to have to wait a little longer than usual to see what’s in store for Cersei, Jon, Dany, and everyone else, although we’ve already heard a lot of teases about what’s to come over the past few months. The wait however, won’t be anywhere near as interminable as the way HBO actually let fans learn about it, however.
You see, this reveal was preceded by a much-hyped, frankly disastrous Facebook Live event—in which over 130,000 increasingly annoyed Game of Thrones fans watched a giant block of ice melt to reveal the release date, repeatedly typing the word “fire” into the comments to make it melt faster courtesy of a nearby flamethrower. Except, the stream abruptly ended before the date could be revealed, leaving fans out of the loop as to what the hell was actually going on.
When it returned, the ice block was now flanked by two different flamethrowers—only to end abruptly a second time and come back with the flamethrowers on full blast. Presumably because HBO realized that even Game of Thrones fans weren’t desperate to pretty much watch the equivalent of paint drying for this long just to learn a release date, and decided to end this nightmare quicker. Here’s the teaser that played when it was finally over:
There’s no new footage, but there is some new dialogue, after flashbacks throughout the past six seasons of show—most intriguingly, it’s Jon Snow saying “There is only war that matters: the Great War, and it is here.” Which is pretty gosh darn ominous.
Even then, it still took 70 minutes to get there. But at least now we know when Game of Thrones is back. And that I also know I never want to watch ice melt as a social activity ever, ever again.