With every passing day, we are one step closer to finding out who — if anyone — will sit upon the Iron Throne and who won’t make it out of winter. We hope we’ll get more hints, but we can’t always get what we want. This edition of GAME OF THRONES news is a light one, but it is certainly an entertaining one! We’ve got new photos, Bud Knights, blood drives, and more. So let’s dive in!

The Contenders for the Iron Throne

HBO rolled out still photos from the new season in lieu of the trailers fans have been clamoring for. The photos are mostly portraits of the main characters, but eagle-eyed fans can glean a few details about the new season from them. Judging by the wintery apparel, most characters are now in the North, save for Cersei. Jaime, in particular, is sporting some Northern armor, possibly signaling his true defection from his sister’s cause. He is also one of the few smiling characters. Everyone else seems officially over it. Check out all 14 images here.

That blood-red lining is real subtle. Courtesy of HBO.

Blessed by the TCA Gods

The Television Critics Association’s press tour sits upon the Iron Throne in pop culture news. HBO’s programming president Casey Bloys spoke at length about what’s in store for the GAME OF THRONES prequel(s) and season eight. With the influx of cash from new corporate parent AT&T, HBO will be upping its original content by 50%. This includes the one GoT prequel in development, unofficially called THE LONG NIGHT since HBO won’t give it a name. The pilot is set to start shooting early this summer.

And while he maintains that there is only one prequel in the works, he won’t rule out more in the future. “Is it possible we do another one? Maybe. But I don’t want HBO to become a network that airs just Game of Thrones or Game of Thrones prequels,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I do think it would be crazy not to try the prequel and to see what else is out there because George R.R. Martin has created this incredible universe and there’s a lot of different places you can go. But we want to be careful not to overdo it.”

Bloys also offered more meaningless descriptions of season eight. He told Deadline“I think any time you end a show this important and this big, a lot of people project onto a finale what they want it to be, what fans think it should be, hope it will be.” (Wow, I wonder who would ever do that.) Bloys said the final season is “dramatically satisfying and emotionally satisfying” and that fans will be “really, really happy” with how it ends. We’ll be the judge of that. 

Putting the Iron in Iron Throne

HBO is spending an estimated $20 million on advertising for season eight. They kicked off the campaign during the Super Bowl with a partnered ad with Bud Light. You’ve probably seen it by now, but if not suffice to say it is very strange and it’s hard to believe that it brought GAME OF THRONES to the attention of anyone who wasn’t already aware of it.

The rest of that $20 million will go to a number of odd initiatives. The Wall Street Journal reports that HBO is planning a worldwide scavenger hunt for Iron Thrones and a blood drive that asks potential donors if they would “bleed for the throne.” It’s probably in bad taste considering all the murder on the show, but it is refreshing to see GAME OF THRONES having a sense of humor about its over-the-top gruesomeness.

As long as there are plenty of iron jokes made, I’m here for it.

Playing the Numbers Game

Call your bookie because Las Vegas oddsmakers have put out a shocking update to their projected winners of the Iron Throne. With odds at -150 (which is good, I guess), Bran is the odds-on favorite, according to OddsShark. It’s now more likely than not that Bran — as the Night King or not — will win the Game of Thrones. The second most likely is Jon Snow, the former front runner, then Sansa, then Jon and Daenerys’s potential child. Most of the main players are not high on the list. Dany falls at number seven and Cersei is all the way at number ten, barely above Samwell Tarly.

Required Reading

Iron Throne
Indulge your inner Cersei with The Nerd Daily‘s listicle. Courtesy of HBO.

Much like myself, pop culture addicts across the Internet have dedicated their GAME OF THRONES off-season to digging deep into the GoT-verse. I read a lot of these (not all, but a lot) and here are the ones most worth a read:

  • ScreenRant‘s “20 Things That Make No Sense About Jaime and Cersei’s Relationship.” Relationships are hard. Being in a relationship with your twin is probably even harder. But Jaime and Cersei’s relationship is even weirder than we thought when you break it down like ScreenRant does here.
  • The Nerd Daily‘s “7 ‘Game of Thrones’ Themed Cocktails.” Frankly, most of these drinks sound disgusting to me, but the creativity is admirable. Who wouldn’t want to sip on a “Red Wedding Spiked Punch” while chilling on the Iron Throne? And with this 18-month hiatus we could all use a few Baratheon Brews.
  • Men’s Health’s 15 ‘Game of Thrones’ Characters Based on Who They’d Be at the Gym.” Even if you’re not a big gym person (lord knows I’m not) the descriptions of our favorite GoT characters as gymrats certainly paint a picture. We all know the guy who “just went vegan, wears meditation beads around his neck and says he can see all that is happening in the world,” and yes, that definitely is Bran.

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