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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.

HBO

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.