Winter is still here for many of us, but we’ll see it come for Westeros soon, too.
HBO is taking advantage of the clash of tech, media, and entertainment forces that will be descending upon Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival this month. The cable channel giant just unveiled the teaser poster for the highly-anticipated seventh season of its overwhelmingly popular show, Game of Thrones.
Certainly fans will dive into this with theories about what the poster means and what clues could be hidden in a relatively sparse layout with a simple hashtag #GOTS7 to further promote the show on social media. Nevertheless, there is a clear clash between ice and fire, reflecting the show’s source material: George R. R. Martin’s anthology series A Song of Ice and Fire.
Once a local music festival that soon propelled some hopeful tech startups (namely Twitter and Foursquare) to super stardom, Hollywood has increasingly looked to SXSW as an outlet for news, whether it be teasing new releases, offering early film screenings, and hosting panels with filmmakers.
HBO (TWX) has been at the show in the past, and is making its presence known again with a series of events, including a panel with GoT showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss along with actresses Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams. Demonstrating how much SXSW has become a mainstream entertainment industry event, HBO will also have some heavy duty merchandising ploys, such as a tasting for its new line of Game of Thrones-themed wines. (Do you prefer an Arbor gold or a Dornish red?)
A premiere date hasn’t been set yet, but it has been widely reported for months that this season would be delayed compared to the previous six seasons due to, ironically enough, a lack of winter. With a studio base in Belfast, the show is known for shooting in exotic locations, including Croatia, Malta, and Iceland—the latter of which wasn’t as wintry at the time the Thrones crew would have liked.
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And in even more dire news, the season is likely to be shorter as the Thrones producers begin to wrap up the multiple story threads as well as while fans of the original book series wait for Martin publish the sixth book in the series, The Winds of Winter.
For now, we have this poster. SXSW runs from March 10-19, 2017.
UPDATE: HBO made an announcement later on Thursday via Facebook Live that Game of Thrones will not return until July 16. The network also dropped a new teaser trailer. There is no new footage, but the house sigils and select choices in narration should offer plenty of hints at the great war to come.
Summer is coming, but not for awhile.