The official Game of Thrones Twitter account had social media on its toes on Monday night with a cryptic tweet. The defunct show's social media face posted three words: "Winter is coming," leading many to believe a big announcement was on the way. Fans have come up with some big ideas about what this tweet could be teasing.
Game of Thrones came to an end earlier this year, after dominating the TV landscape for about a decade. It speaks to the show's legacy that a tweet like this could easily be referring to one of many things. The show has spinoffs, home video release and most importantly books all still on the way, and fans would love an update on any one of those.
At the same time, the show is in a strange position, as its final season was its worst-reviewed by far. The series has gotten a poor critical reception for the last few years since it moved beyond the source material laid out in George R. R. Martin's novels, A Song of Ice and Fire. Fans argue about why this is, but the fact remains that Game of Thrones is not a universally beloved entity online right now.
Still, with the series officially over, fans can now look at the franchise for the sum of its parts rather than the issues they have with certain stories, episodes or versions. A tweet like this could be good news even for fans who feel betrayed by Game of Thrones right now, and that is the beauty of it.
Here are the top contenders for what Game of Thrones' "Winter is coming" tweet might mean.
Seeing as how the Game of Thrones Twitter account is operated by HBO, its reach will undoubtedly be used to promote House of the Dragon, the network's upcoming spinoff. The series was announced at the end of October and ordered straight to series, and the names of the writing staff followed shortly after.
According to Martin, showrunner Ryan Condal has done a lot of groundwork on the series already, including a storytelling "bible" for the writers to use and a loose outline based on Martin's book, Fire and Blood. He also informed us that the show will focus on the latter portion of the book — the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons.
Still, there are a lot of announcements that could conceivably be coming soon. For one thing, the show will need a cast sooner rather than later. We could hear about who is playing the silver-blond Targaryens this time around or other news about the show's production.
With the show over, many fans are expecting news on the next book in the series, The Winds of Winter very soon. Martin wrote in a blog post back in May that he planned to "have THE WINDS OF WINTER in hand" by July of 2020, when he will attend World Con in New Zealand.
For that to happen, we will need a publishing date announcement from Bantam Books relatively soon. Martin's series is a global sensation, and chances are that the launch date will include a huge distribution effort, as well as ebooks and audiobooks for digital fans.
On the other hand, Martin has overestimated his writing speed before. Many fans even think he meant a completed manuscript of The Winds of Winter, not a published copy. Either way, our fingers are crossed.
Perhaps the most likely case for the "Winter is coming" tweet is a tease for the home video release of Game of Thrones Season 8. The DVD and Blu-ray collections are due out on Tuesday, Dec. 3, and pre-orders have been open for a while.
HBO is also offering a box set of the whole series as well, complete with extras, deleted scenes and accessories that would make any fan bend the knee. However, these releases were not a secret before, so if this is all Monday's tweet was indicating, it will leave some fans sorely disappointed.
HBO put five spinoffs of Game of Thrones into development before Season 8 even aired. One filmed an expensive pilot, while another was run by Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman. All five were quietly canceled just last month.
Still, the existence of these projects proved that HBO is not averse to diversifying its portfolio in Westeros. In fact, Martin himself wrote that there was room for many shows in this world to co-exist at once.
"I do not know why HBO decided not to go to series on [Bloodmoon], but I do not think it had to do with HOUSE OF THE DRAGON," he wrote in a blog post at the time. "This was never an either/or situation. If television has room enough for multiple CSIs and CHICAGO shows... well, Westeros and Essos are a lot bigger, with thousands of years of history and enough tales and legends and characters for a dozen shows."
It could be that HBO has more shows cooking as well, or a fresh take on one of the ones they dropped along the way.
More than a few Twitter users pointed out that Monday's tweet was a simple meteorological fact. This week, winter storms are battering the U.S. in three different regions, complicating Thanksgiving travel plans even further. It may be that the Game of Thrones Twitter account simply saw an easy opportunity to capitalize on one of its most recognizable catchphrases as snow battered the east coast.
Season 8 remake is coming.— Joe (@JoosefSZN) November 25, 2019
It may be the least likely possibility of all, but so many fans brought it up that it must be mentioned: there is a huge groundswell of support for a petition to re-make Game of Thrones Season 8 with different writers. The petition began in the first couple of weeks of the season, and has continued to grow ever since.
The majority of the replies to Monday's tweet were fans asking if "Winter" meant a re-make of the final season — ranging in tone from earnestly hopeful to venomously cynical. Chances are good that this will never happen.
Lastly, of course, Monday's tweet could be meaningless. It is unclear what a TV show's Twitter account should do after the show is over, but tweeting out familiar catchphrases and quotes seems as good as anything else. Fans may have to get used to a more casual output from the Game of Thrones Twitter account, at least until there is news from House of the Dragon.