Brace Yourselves For A Fast-Paced 'Game Of Thrones' Season 7

At its core, HBO's wildly popular fantasy series Game of Thrones is a chess game. The early seasons involved a handful of characters slowly and methodically plotting their political maneuvers and adapting to situations around them in the hopes of securing the coveted Iron Throne for themselves, while others waited in the wings, quietly accruing power and preparing to strike.

But now that the board has been culled down to its most essential pieces, things are going to start happening a hell of a lot more quickly on the show. No more waiting. No more quiet contemplating. It's time for action, and according to new interviews with the showrunners and cast, that's exactly what we're going to get in Game of Thrones season 7.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, actor Kit Harington (Jon Snow) explains what we can expect in the new episodes:

"This season is really different than any other season because it's accelerating toward the end, a lot of stuff collides and happens much much quicker than you're used to seeing on Thrones ... it's so different than what everybody is used to. It's quite exciting."

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister) was similarly taken aback when he first read the scripts for this season:

"I'm like, 'Already? Now?! What?!' I feel like I'd been lulled into a different pace. Everything happened quicker than I'm used to ... a lot of things that normally take a season now take one episode."

That's certainly an encouraging sign for those who thought the show took its sweet time setting up its largest conflicts. But showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff say the increased speed of season 7 is an organic development that was born from the groundwork they laid earlier in the story:

Weiss: "Things are moving faster because in the world of these characters the war that they've been waiting for is upon them. The conflicts that have been building the past six years are upon them and those facts give them a sense of urgency that makes [the characters] move faster."

Benioff: "For a long time we've been talking about 'the wars to come.' Well, that war is pretty much here. So it's really about trying to find a way to make the storytelling work without feeling like we're rushing it — you still want to give characters their due, and pretty much all the characters that are now left are all important characters. Even the ones who might have started out as relatively minor characters have become significant in their own right."

Based on the photos that came out earlier this week, some serious shit is about to go down in Westeros, and we are here for it. While we wait, here's a new motion poster for the new season coming this summer:

Game of Thrones season 7 premieres to HBO on July 16, 2017.