Game of Thrones‘ eighth and final season premieres in April, so fans who want to rewatch the previous seasons before then would be well to get started by the first week of February. The HBO fantasy series (based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels) has come a long way since its debut in 2011 – and we’re not just talking about all the traveling the show’s characters have done in that time, either. What began as a modestly popular genre series based on source material with a loyal cult following has since evolved into a cultural phenomenon on the level with a modern blockbuster franchise (and, in recent seasons, a tentpole-sized budget to match).
In fact, Game of Thrones eclipsed Martin’s five published books in season 5 and has been in uncharted narrative territory ever since. Nevertheless, after seven seasons and 67 episodes so far, the show is preparing for its eighth and final installment. Game of Thrones season 8 will only span six episodes total, but each episode will run extra long and feel like a movie unto itself, according to HBO’s top executives. Nevertheless, with 60 episodes’ worth of backstory to know ahead of then, fans would do well to get cracking on their rewatch soon – and we know the best way to do it.
Those who plan to rewatch Game of Thrones seasons 1 through 7 before season 8 premieres should begin on Wednesday, February 6. Since there are 67 episodes in the series up to now, this approach will allow fans to watch an episode a day before the show returns on Sunday, April 14.
Obviously, binge-watching is still an option for those who’d rather watch as many Game of Thrones season 1-7 episodes as they can closer to season 8’s premiere. Still, if there’s any show where it’s worth spacing episodes out as evenly as possible during a rewatch, it’s this one. Pretty much every Game of Thrones episode is overflowing with plot and many spend their entire runtime hopping from one story thread to another, especially earlier on in the show’s run. Even by the time season 7 rolled around and the series began focusing on an increasingly small group of characters (after having killed off pretty much everyone else), the episodes grew longer and started to burn through plot faster. And unlike an original Netflix series, Game of Thrones‘ episodes aren’t really designed to be watched back-to-back in rapid succession.
Beyond that: Game of Thrones is a show that’s truly more about the twists and turns that transpire along the journey than where the overarching story is going. There are so many small character moments, exchanges, and details to appreciate in any one episode that it seems a shame to not spread them out as much as possible during a rewatch. Indeed, there’s a lot of take in from the first seven seasons and it’s hard to appreciate everything when you’re trying to cram too many episodes in too little time.
Our advice: start your rewatch on February 6 and you’ll be all ready to go when the war between the living and the dead gets underway.
Game of Thrones season 8 premieres Sunday, April 14 at 9pm on HBO.