Ever since Game of Thrones overtook the books, fan speculation over what is happening in the show has been constant – and this is especially true when it comes to next year’s final season.
In truth, we don’t know anything about season eight of Game of Thrones, having to work out what’s going to happen to the likes of Jon Snow, Daenerys, Tyrion Lannister and Jaime Lannister from the brief quotes that the stars have given about filming on the last season.
They all know what happens and even former stars know what happens. “I know A to B. I know what B is, but I don’t know how they get B. But I do know B,” teased Natalie Dormer. Fans, meanwhile, have been kept in the dark about even the smallest plot details.
Not that keeping the final season of TV’s biggest show secret has been an easy task – the cast and crew have gone to some serious lengths to stop anything leaking.
1. SELF-DESTRUCTING SCRIPTS!
Back in June, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau revealed that the stars were only given season eight’s scripts digitally, and something straight out of Mission: Impossible happened to them after filming.
“They’re very, very strict. It’s reached a crazy level this year. We actually get the scripts, and then when we’ve shot the scene – we only have it digitally – when you’ve done the scene, it just vanishes,” he explained.
You heard that right – self-destructing scripts. And if you thought Coster-Waldau was just having a bit of fun, Sophie Turner confirmed it to Digital Spy.
“Yeah, it’s all true. I mean, we wouldn’t get anything physical. We would have it on an app. We would get sent sides for the scene [we were shooting] the next day. So we would have to learn it all the day before,” she recalled.
“And once you’ve read it, it disappears 24 hours later, and you can never access it again. It’s tighter than the White House security!”
2. CODENAMES AND STICKERS!
It’s not a new thing for TV shows or movies to film under a codename to put off anyone who might be strolling past the set, but Turner also revealed that each member of the cast was given codenames on set “so that no-one knew who was really going to be on set”.
But if that wasn’t enough secrecy: the show itself was also given a fake title to hoodwink any passers-by. And what was that codename? Take it away, Sansa: “It was Face of Angels. It’s a random one.”
And HBO even had a plan for anyone who happened to be visiting filming locations where a codename won’t quite work if you can see the Night King hanging around. Turner explained that visitors “had stickers on their phones so that they couldn’t take photos”.
3. FAKE COMEBACKS!
Back during filming on season six, those cunning showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss brought Sibel Kekilli on to set as her deceased character Shae, leading to speculation that Tyrion’s former lover would be making a surprise return.
Shae didn’t rise from the dead (she’s no Jon Snow), but it was all said to be a ruse from the showrunners to throw photographers and spoiler-hungry reporters off the scent, putting doubts over any filming photos that were leaked. This proved helpful, given that Kit Harington was also on set in full Jon Snow outfit despite Jon being, you know, dead at that point.
For the final season, it looks like Benioff and Weiss might be up to their old tricks because former stars Tom Wlaschiha and Faye Marsay, AKA Jaqen H’ghar and the Waif, have been snapped on the set where they film the Dragonpit, alongside basically every other major character left alive in the show.
So it could well be that the same trick has been deployed, keeping everyone so focused on an (extremely unlikely) surprise comeback that we actually miss the big spoiler right in front of our faces.
4. MULTIPLE ENDINGS!
What better way to keep the ultimate ending to Game of Thrones a secret than by filming a bunch of different endings? Last year, HBO president Casey Bloys claimed that the showrunners were planning to “shoot multiple versions so that nobody really knows what happens”.
“You have to do that on a long show. Because when you’re shooting something, people know. So they’re going to shoot multiple versions so that there’s no real definitive answer until the end,” he added.
However, Coster-Waldau called the idea “stupid” and he was backed up by Maisie Williams, who doubted that there was even the budget to film several endings, joking: “But as we know, sometimes presidents don’t always tell the truth…”
This was before filming started though and since then, Emilia Clarke has been saying that there ARE multiple endings. “There’s lots of different endings that could happen; I think we’re doing all of them and we aren’t being told which is actually what’s going to happen,” she explained.
“I don’t know that I even do [know the ending]. I’m being serious. I think they’re filming a bunch of stuff and they’re not telling us. I’m being serious. I’m being deadly serious. I think that they don’t even trust us.”
We don’t know whether to trust Daenerys or Arya at this point, so we reckon we’ll have to wait until season eight lands to see if any different endings pop up.