It appears the stars of Game of Thrones are all going to be receiving hefty raises for the suspected final two seasons of the show’s run. We all know that Game of Thrones has managed to forge the rare combination of ratings hit, critical darling and cultural phenomenon, and it appears HBO wants to make sure that stays the case while the program is on the air. To make sure that remains the case, the network is trying to make sure the main cast all stays together, at least until they are killed off one by one.
First reported on Deadline, the stars of GoT are said to be seeing hefty raises per episode for Season 7, which has already been picked up along with Season 8. Season 8 has not been announced, but there are few people in the entertainment industry who believe next year will be the program’s last. Deadline has reported that Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Kit Harrington (Jon Snow), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister), and Emilia Clark (Daenerys Targaryen) are all going to getting more than $500,000 per episode in Season 7 and Season 8.
So far, we’re still not sure just how long the two suspected final seasons of Game of Thrones are going to be, though both are expected to be shorter than the last couple. What one has to wonder is whether the total money these actors are going to be bringing home is going to be all that much more when taking the lower number of episodes into account. The Hollywood Reporter says the last time these actors worked out a new contract, they were all paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $300,000 per episode.
When you consider Season 7 could have two fewer episodes and Season 8 could be a much shorter six-episode run, the increase in pay per episode is a lot less than it looks like at first glance. Granted, the pay raises the group received in 2014 already made them the highest paid actors on network television. When those 2014 contracts were signed, HBO had the option to extend them into Season 7, and those options have now been officially exercised.
Season 8 has not been officially announced, though people in the know and those who have read into the show’s creators comments think it’s as close to a done deal as possible. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss recently told the Hollywood Reporter they are working on the final act of this epic. To fell the final tales, the writers have said there’s about 70-75 more hours to tell. When Season 6 wraps up this coming Sunday, the show will be standing at about 60 hours of broadcast time.
This is why most believe the final two seasons will be broken up into short orders, rather than trying to cram all the rest of the story into one final season. There are other reasons why HBO might want to draw out the conclusion to the series for as long as it can. Game of Thrones is the most-watched series in the history of the network, and HBO would certainly love to continue to get eyes on its series for at least a few more years.
While the big raises for the core group have been all but confirmed, there’s no word yet on what some of the other main players might be getting when it comes to new contracts. Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner, who play Arya and Sansa Stark, also received big time pay raises back in 2014, though apparently not on par with the upper echelon of stars. It’s a safe bet that if new contracts are being done for most of the big stars from Game of Thrones, some of the lesser players will be getting their piece of the pie soon.
[Image via Macall B. Polay/HBO]