'Game of Thrones': Here's how many seasons we're getting

The 'Thrones' showrunners had stated in the past that they're aiming for seven seasons, but fans may be getting even more 'Thrones' than that. The fantasy drama airs on HBO and has become the network's most-watched show.

Helen Sloane/HBO/AP
'Game of Thrones' stars Emilia Clarke.

Fans may be getting more seasons of the HBO fantasy drama “Game of Thrones” then they expected.

While “Thrones” creator David Benioff stated in the past that he and co-creator D.B. Weiss were planning on seven seasons of the show (the drama just concluded its fifth), HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said there could be more episodes than that. 

“Seven-seasons-and-out has never been the [internal] conversation,” Mr. Lombardo said. “The question is: How much beyond seven are we going to do? Obviously we’re shooting six now, hopefully discussing seven. [Benioff and Weiss] feel like there’s two more years after six. I would always love for them to change their minds, but that’s what we’re looking at right now.” 

Benioff said in the past of the show running seven seasons, “If we’re going to go seven seasons, which is the plan… Once we got to the point where we felt like we’re going to be able to tell this tale to its conclusion, that became [an even clearer] goal. Seven gods, seven kingdoms, seven seasons. It feels right to us.” (There are seven kingdoms in the show's setting and a popular religion focuses on seven deities.)

What’s interesting to fans is what this means for the show’s story. The book series on which “Thrones” is based, George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire,” currently consists of five books and Martin has said that he’s planning on two more, “The Winds of Winter” and “A Dream of Spring.” The most recent, “A Dance with Dragons,” was released in 2011.

But book fans know that the most recent season of the show brought many plotlines up to where they are in Martin’s books and, in some cases, presumably beyond. Yet the show hasn’t stopped – the sixth season of “Thrones” is currently in production. Some may be wondering where the extra material for an eighth season would come from, but the show hasn’t taken a strict one-season-consists-of-one-book approach. The most recent season combined elements from Martin’s books “A Feast for Crows” and “Dragons” as well as some new plotlines (and also made important changes from the books, like giving teenager Sansa Stark a new and controversial story). 

There have also been elements of the books that the show has not yet adapted. Perhaps those plotlines could be moved up in the story of the TV show so as to give showrunners extra material.

The sixth season of "Thrones" will, if it follows the pattern of previous season debuts, arrive sometime next spring.

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