(Photo: HBO)

Season six of Game Of Thrones ended with the official announcement that the winter the Starks were always predicting had, in fact, arrived. And it’s going to be a long one: Confirming reports of shortened seasons as the show enters its narrative home stretch, HBO has announced that Game Of Thrones season seven will consist of only seven episodes (down from the usual 10) and will premiere in the summer of 2017 (a few months later than usual).

That news was buried in a press release announcing all the exciting and exotic locales where the show will be filming later this summer, including Spain, Iceland, and Northern Ireland. Confirming that this really has nothing to do with the Brexit, HBO programming president Casey Bloys says in the release, “Now that winter has arrived on Game Of Thrones, executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss felt that the story lines of the next season would be better served by starting production a little later than usual, when the weather is changing.” In other words, if you thought animating all those dragons was expensive, try adding grey skies and snow flurries to every scene.

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