HBO has yet to renew Game Of Thrones—which finishes its sixth season this Sunday—for its eighth and supposedly final season, in much the same way TV weather people don’t usually bother to note that the sun is expected to rise tomorrow morning. Canceling the massively successful fantasy drama, unfinished, at the end of its already-announced seventh season would be one of the funniest pranks in pop culture history, but the network probably doesn’t want to see its headquarters burnt to the ground by flamethrower-wielding fans in home-made dragon costumes.
To that end, HBO has already begun making preparations for GoT season 8, renewing contracts (and handing out raises) for its five principal leads. Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau will each receive more than $500,000 per episode for seasons 7 and 8 of the series, in exchange for acting in, doing promotions for, and lying constantly about the show.
Those seasons might be truncated from Game Of Thrones’ usual 10-episode runs, though, with Deadline speculating that season 7 might be seven episodes long, and the final season six. Fans will presumably just have to guess—or use math—to figure out when the series’ normal “shit goes down 9/10ths of the way through the season” formula is likely to kick in for these shortened runs.