Kit Harington in a scene from season 7 of "Game...

Kit Harington in a scene from season 7 of "Game of Thrones." Credit: AP / Helen Sloan

“Game of Thrones” will conclude its momentous run with a six-episode wrap in 2019, HBO announced Thursday.

There were no other details given for the eighth and final season — notably episode length, titles or airdates — although directors and writers were revealed. They will include showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

While no surprise to fans — most of whom expected a ’19 wrap — this marks the first official confirmation by HBO, which apparently toyed with the possibility of a 2018 conclusion too.

Nevertheless, in one brief announcement on a windy, snowy afternoon, the network behind the world’s most popular television series was just assured its own “bomb cyclone” of hype and hysteria one year from now.

There’s some logic to the timing: In 2019, Disney is expected to launch its own streaming service to compete directly with Netflix and Amazon, both of which are expected to meet the new challenge aggressively. Now, rather than be a bystander, HBO will join the fray — and with the most potent programming weapon of them all.

In fact, HBO did announce season 8 last March, but played with fans’ (and the competitions’) heads by neglecting to also announce an official airdate. There was also some logic to its reticence: HBO also said that it had commissioned five prequels, one of which would be expected to go to air. For that reason, the 2019 eighth season wrap buys one of those prequels much-needed time — time to undergo script development, and perhaps time to get a pilot order. It is now logical to assume that the “GoT” prequel will arrive in 2020, which gives HBO even a little more valuable time to flesh out a new series and to promote it (not that a “GoT” spinoff will need all that much promotion).

The eighth season is short, of necessity. There are no longer any books as guides from George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” and the season will instead be based on rough outlines from Martin’s final still-unpublished novels, “The Winds of Winter” and “A Dream of Spring.” In addition, “GoT” has become an enormously complicated production, rivaling great movie franchises in terms of budget and production value. Although there will only be six episodes, fans can be assured they will be memorable indeed.

In the rest of the short news release, HBO noted that “directors for the new season are: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik. Writers for the new season are: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill.” There are no surprises here necessarily — Sapochnik, for example, is behind some of the most acclaimed action episodes, like season 6’s “Battle of the Bastards.”

But there is an important name missing: Martin will presumably not be writing for the final season. (He did so only intermittently over the previous seven.) Once again, there’s logic to that too: He’s busy trying to complete those much-anticipated books. “The Winds of Winter” may arrive this year, although Martin and HBO may want publication to coincide with the eighth season. When the book does arrive, it will be the publishing event of the year, alongside the TV event of the decade.

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