“When is Game of Thrones coming back?” is a question that constantly plagues fans of both the HBO series and George R.R. Martin’s ongoing series of source novels. Neither group wants to wait a second longer than necessary to find out what the hell the Lannisters get up to next. (Or the Targaryens, or the Starks, or — god forbid — the Boltons.)
HBO knows this all too well, especially since Game of Thrones’ explosive sixth season finale quite literally blew up half the show at a time when the plot of the TV series has pulled ahead of the books that inspired it. So the network took great delight in unveiling the premiere date for Game of Thrones season seven with plenty of pomp and circumstance on Facebook Live ... by pointing the camera at a giant block of ice containing the release date and making fans type the words “FIRE” and “DRACARYS” in order to melt it.
The first video cut out after 10 minutes, at which point the ice block looked mostly untouched — but the Game of Thrones Twitter account promised the Facebook Live feed would be back with “more fire soon.”
And lo, it returned, with cast members like Lena Headey (Cersei) and Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth) egging on as many as 170,000 patiently watching fans.
(If you’re someone who’s into metaphors — and assuming you’re a Game of Thrones fan, that seems likely — just try to resist reading into the fact that fire struggled to melt this ice. Sometimes a block of ice is just a block of ice.)
But in spite of the technical glitches that arose, we here at Vox are all about service journalism, so we watched the ice melt for more than an hour so you didn’t have to.
TL;DR: Game of Thrones’ seventh season will premiere on July 16.
And now, an ominous new trailer: