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'Game of Thrones' season 8 release year confirmed, finally

HBO officially announces a 2019 return date for "Game of Thrones" season 8. Winter is coming back at a leisurely pace.

It's going to be a long wait for the next Mother of Dragons-Jon Snow reunion.

We've guessed at it. Sansa Stark herself already told us. But now it's official. HBO confirmed Thursday that the eighth and final season of the hit swords-and-dragons fantasy series "Game of Thrones" won't reach our screens until 2019. 

For fans who were still hoping for a 2018 debut, that might feel like getting hit in the chest with the breath from an ice dragon. 

HBO tweeted the news on Thursday, along with the instruction to "send a raven:"

The final season will consist of just six episodes. The show's co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are both named as directors and writers in a brief HBO release about the upcoming season. Despite the short supply of episodes, we can look forward to some extra-long run times

Filming is still ongoing for season 8, and the elaborate post-production work the show requires means the 2019 start date isn't a great surprise. This just gives fans extra time to sharpen their swords and figure out how to deal with a rogue dragon.