Jon Snow is dead, and 'Game of Thrones' will have 8th season, HBO exec says

Winter might be coming far beyond a seventh season.

Someone might want to tell “Game of Thrones” show runners David Benioff and Dan Weiss that HBO programming president Michael Lombardo let the dragon out of the bag: The fantasy drama will last at least eight seasons — despite frequent declarations by its Benioff and Weiss that they were only interested in making seven.

“'Seven seasons and out' has never been the conversation,” Lombardo told critics Thursday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Beverly Hills. “The question is how much beyond seven are we going to do. [Benioff and Weiss] feel like there’s two more years after six. I would always love for them to change their minds.”

Full coverage: Television Crtitics Association press tour 2015

Of course, there are other ways to keep the franchise going. Could a prequel be in the future? Lombardo said the network would certainly consider it.

“I would be open to anything Dan and David want to do,” Lombardo said. “It really would depend fully on what they want to do.... There’s enormous storytelling to be mined in a prequel. We haven’t had any conversations.”

But one aspect of the “Game of Thrones” world was not up for much debate: whether hero Jon Snow — who appeared to be fatally stabbed in the Season 5 finale, which aired in June — is really dead.

“Dead is dead is dead is dead. He be dead. Yes,” Lombardo said. “Everything I've seen and heard and read, Jon Snow is indeed dead.”

(Viewers’ hopes and dreams for Snow’s return may not yet be dead – other characters who have died on “Game of Thrones” have been resurrected in one form or another.)

But, hey, what did you expect Lombardo to say?

I tweet about TV (and other things) here: @villarrealy

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