We Finally Know How Game of Thrones Season 8 Begins

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Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8.

After more than a year of suspense following the Night King’s destruction of the Wall in Game of Thronesseason 7 finale, fans are finally getting an idea of how season 8 will begin.

A cover story published Thursday by Entertainment Weekly reveals that season 8 will not open with an update on the Army of the Dead’s progress, but rather with the convergence of some of Game of Thrones‘ biggest stars at Winterfell. To recap, at the end of season 7, Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister and several other of Westeros’ key players were headed North to Winterfell, where Samwell Tarly and the three remaining Stark siblings—Sansa, Arya and Bran—were awaiting their arrival.

“Season 8 opens at Winterfell with an episode that contains plenty of callbacks to the show’s pilot,” EW reports. “Instead of King Robert’s procession arriving, it’s Daenerys and her army. What follows is a thrilling and tense intermingling of characters—some of whom have never previously met, many who have messy histories—as they all prepare to face the inevitable invasion of the Army of the Dead.”

As we know, Jon left Winterfell as King in the North but later swore allegiance to Daenerys—a development that Sansa, for one, will apparently not be happy about, according to the story. From there, it sounds as though season 8 will explore how the relationships between these characters develop as they prepare to face the Night King and his army.

“It’s about all of these disparate characters coming together to face a common enemy, dealing with their own past, and defining the person they want to be in the face of certain death,” co-executive producer Bryan Cogman told EW. “It’s an incredibly emotional, haunting, bittersweet final season, and I think it honors very much what [author George R.R. Martin] set out to do — which is flipping this kind of story on its head.”

Game of Thrones season 8 is set to air in 2019.

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Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com