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Game of Thrones season 8: When it starts, schedule and how to stream HBO without cable

And now our watch must come to an end.

Game of Thrones, temporada 8
Helen Sloane/HBO

Winter is coming this spring. The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones starts April 14. 

In order to watch the comings and goings in Westeros as Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and the Starks line up against the Lannisters and the Army of the Dead (and their recently acquired dragon) -- the final Battle of Winterfell is rumored to be insanely lengthy and excruciatingly bloody -- you will need a way to watch HBO. Thankfully, there are plenty of easy ways to subscribe, even if you don't have cable.

Now playing: Watch this: Game of Thrones season 8 trailer flies toward a big battle
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Game of Thrones season 8 schedule

This last season will comprise six, supersize, hour-plus-length episodes. It will all be over -- sniff -- by mid-May. 

Plan to clear out your Sunday evenings at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central) in the US, starting around tax day. Here's the schedule:

  • Episode 1: April 14
  • Episode 2: April 21
  • Episode 3: April 28
  • Episode 4: May 5
  • Episode 5: May 12
  • Episode 6: May 19

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HBO's main two streaming options

HBO Go

If you're already a subscriber to HBO as part of a cable or satellite TV package, you get HBO Go for free. It lets you stream Game of Thrones along with the rest of HBO's shows on supported phones, tablets, connected TVs and gaming consoles. Not only can you watch all seven past seasons of GoT with HBO Go, but you can live stream the new episodes as they air on HBO.

See at HBO Go

HBO Now

As opposed to the free streaming add-on mentioned above, HBO Now is a standalone subscription to HBO -- no cable or satellite TV subscription required. 

It costs $15 a month and lets you watch HBO via the HBO Now app or in a browser at HBONow.com. The HBO Now app is available on a number of devices, including mobile devices, smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku. As with HBO Go, you can steam the new episodes live on Sunday nights, the same time that they air on HBO.

See at HBO Now

Add HBO to a streaming service

You can add HBO to four of the TV streaming services below for an additional monthly charge. If you're a GoT fan and also a subscriber to Sling TV or YouTube TV, then I'm sorry to report that you are out of luck; neither service offers HBO. Here are four that do:

Hulu

HBO is a $15-a-month add-on to any Hulu plan, which start at $5.99 a month.

See at Hulu

Amazon Prime Video

Prime members can add HBO for $15 a month. A Prime membership costs $119 a year.

See at Amazon Prime Video

PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue's priciest $80-a-month Ultra plan includes HBO (and Showtime), but you can also purchase HBO as a standalone channel for $15 a month -- no other plan is needed.

See at PlayStation Vue

DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now now includes HBO, but upped its price from $40 to $50 a month. It also dropped a number of other channels in the process, making it a bad streaming deal, even for GoT fans.

See at DirecTV Now

Game of Thrones in the UK, Australia and elsewhere

According to an HBO representative, Game of Thrones airs in all but four countries around the world -- but not necessarily on HBO itself. In the UK, for example, HBO shows are on Sky Atlantic and Sky's online services Sky Go and Now TV. In Australia, Game of Thrones airs on TV and online on Foxtel. In both countries the show airs at the same time as in the US (i.e. early Monday), and is repeated on Monday night.

And for the record, HBO restricts the use of VPNs used to stream any of the above services from outside the US.

Originally published March 5.
Update, March 15:
Adds detail about DirecTV's new pricing and channel lineup.