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November 01, 2018 at 05:26 PM EDT

The Game of Thrones final season story details have been kept closely under wraps — until now.

In EW’s cover story this week going behind the scenes of season 8, we were able to reveal some very basic setup for the final season. Mind you, there’s a lot of story to go around in the final six episodes, and this is just a taste of how the season opens and the stakes involved:

Season 8 opens at Winterfell with an episode that contains plenty of callbacks to the show’s pilot. Instead of King Robert’s procession arriving, it’s Daenerys and her army. What follows is a thrilling and tense intermingling of characters — some of whom have never previously met, many who have messy histories — as they all prepare to face the inevitable invasion of the Army of the Dead.

“It’s about all of these disparate characters coming together to face a common enemy, dealing with their own past, and defining the person they want to be in the face of certain death,” co-executive producer Bryan Cogman says. “It’s an incredibly emotional, haunting, bittersweet final season, and I think it honors very much what George set out to do — which is flipping this kind of story on its head.”

How these fan favorites get along drives much of the drama this season (okay, here’s one specific tease from the premiere — Sansa isn’t thrilled that Jon bent the knee to his fancy new Targaryen girlfriend, at least not at first).

For more about the making of the final season, read our cover story “The End of Game of Thrones” here.

For more on Game of Thrones, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it here now. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

Related content:

HBO’s epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin’s novels.
type
TV Show
seasons
7
Genre
run date
04/17/11
Network
Available For Streaming On
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