The end of Game of Thrones: An exclusive report on the epic final season

March 2018: The final season

Arriving at the studio gate, I’m [James Hibberd] halted by a guard and asked to scan my badge, a security upgrade from past years. Then I’m asked for my phone, and the guard covers its cameras with stickers — that’s new too. Along with an HBO escort, I walk inside an enormous hangar that’s so large it’s where the RMS Titanic was painted.

What’s being filmed here is episode 6, the series finale. Like Harington going into the table read, I don’t know anything about the final season’s storyline. I look around at a meticulously constructed set that I’ve never seen on the show before. Several actors are performing, and I’m stunned: There are characters in the finale that I did not expect. I gradually begin to piece together what has happened in Westeros over the previous five episodes and try not to look like I’m freaking out.

There is absolutely nothing more that can be said about that scene at this time.

A word about spoilers: The cast is used to keeping story secrets, yet they’ve never sounded so anxious about it. “There are moments where you don’t trust yourself to have this in your brain,” says Joe Dempsie, who plays Gendry. “You’re in possession of something millions of people want to know. It’s such a bizarre feeling. And between now and when it comes out, I’m gonna be drunk at some point.”

So far, at least, the team has done a far better job than in previous years at keeping the story under wraps, even while drunk. Theories abound online, but they are guesses. A purported script leaked to Reddit, but here’s a way to spot a fake — real Game of Thrones scripts don’t say “Game of Thrones” on them. “Drone killer” guns were used to guard against any peeping robots attempting to fly over the set. Production documents stating which actors were required to be where and when used code names (Clarke, for example, was “Eldiss”). “It gets highly confusing when you need to remember who is who,” Turner says.

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