Game of Thrones will return for its seventh season July 16th. The hit HBO drama announced the date with a Facebook Live video in which a block of ice slowly melts to reveal the date. Members of the Thrones cast delivered messages throughout the video, encouraging fans to speed along the process with comments that triggered bursts of fire.
Season Seven will comprise seven episodes, down from the typical 10. The summer premiere date is also a change from the show's usual spring launch. However, the shift was was made to accommodate a different shooting schedule, as executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wanted to film as the weather changed to match the arrival of winter in Westeros.
HBO announced last summer that Game of Thrones will end after eight seasons. The final season will also be shorter than usual, though an exact number of episodes has not been determined.
Last fall, Game of Thrones won three Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series for the second year in a row. The wins, combined with its numerous Creative Arts Emmys, made Thrones the most decorated show in Emmy history with a whopping 38 awards (the previous record holder was Frasier with 37).