Game of Thrones might not have released much information about the content of season 7’s episodes, but it has shown that they’ll be good-sized.
About a week ago, we found out that the season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones would last just about an hour. Since then, our sister site, Winter is Coming, has done some more digging for both episodes 2 and 3, which will be 59 and 63 minutes, respectively. Now, WiC emphasizes that those are the longest second and third episodes ever for this show.
Granted, none of them quite reach the heights of “The Winds of Winter” in terms of length, as we’ve previously discussed. But with a few extra minutes, longer scenes become more feasible, and as WiC acknowledges, that matters.
We’re not asking for the opening sequence to “Winds” to become the standard for every episode. (Our poor hearts probably wouldn’t be able to take that much tension every week; it’s bad enough as is that we constantly fear that another death is around the corner.) There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and doing something like that would probably be it for Game of Thrones.
However, more time to focus on character work will help the show rein in its tendencies to jump back and forth. This already happened in season 6 to an extent, helped along by episodes like “Battle of the Bastards,” which focused entirely on Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. Further shifts in that direction will probably bump the quality up even further.
But perhaps what’s more important, and what WiC also picks up on, is that it seems to be that these slightly longer episodes might be the new normal when it comes to Game of Thrones episodes. Three out of seven season 7 episodes being 58+ minutes each isn’t a majority yet, but it is a fairly significant plurality.
As the month continues, keep an eye on HBO’s availability listings for the show. Scrolling all the way down to the bottom shows that the new episodes are slowly appearing, albeit without titles, descriptions, or much more than premiere dates and lengths.
Speaking of, that premiere date, which you might have circled on your calendar, is July 16.