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Gr-eight news for Thrones fans as series is extended

By Aoife Kelly

Game Of Thrones fans distraught that the hit series may soon end can rejoice as it looks like it will continue for at least eight seasons.

Producers have previously suggested seven outings was the maximum the series would run, but HBO programming president Michael Lombardo has now said different.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Lombardo sees the smash hit largely filmed in Northern Ireland stretching beyond season eight.

"Seven-seasons-and-out has never been the conversation," he said at the Television Critics Association's Press tour.

"The question is: how much beyond seven are we going to do?

"Obviously we're shooting six now, hopefully discussing seven. Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss are feeling like there's two more years after six.

"I would always love for them to change their minds, but that's what we're looking at right now."

When asked if a prequel series was on the radar, The HBO chief said there had been "no discussions at this point", but he's open to anything Mr Benioff and Mr Weiss want to do.

"There is enormous amount of storytelling in that world," Lombardo said.

The question every GOT fan really wants answered is whether or not popular character Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington, is actually dead.

Despite the fact the actor has recently been spotted in Belfast with members of the cast, Lombardo insists the Snow character is not going to make some Lazarus-like return.

He said: "Dead is dead is dead. He be dead. Um, yes. Everything I've seen, heard and read, Jon Snow is indeed dead," he insisted.

Game Of Thrones roughly follows the storylines set out in George RR Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire series of books. Set in the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, the series chronicles the violent dynastic struggles among the realm's noble families for control of the Iron Throne

Game Of Thrones has attracted record numbers of viewers on HBO and gathered an exceptionally broad and active international fan base.

It has received widespread acclaim by critics, although its frequent use of nudity and sexual violence has attracted some criticism.

The series has won many awards and nominations, including a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Drama Series for its first four seasons, as well as a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Drama Television Series.

Thousands of dedicated fans now travel to Northern Ireland to tour shooting locations in the series, like the Dark Hedges and Ballintoy harbour in Co Antrim.

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