You're going to have to wait a little longer than usual for the next season of Game of Thrones.
Since Winter is no longer Coming - it's officially here - the scenery has to reflect the cooler temps. That means shooting will take place during the dreariest months rather than sticking to the usual schedule, which would start around now.
"We kind of pushed everything down the line so we could get some grim, grey weather, even in the sunnier places that we shoot," said showrunner D.B. Weiss on the UFC Unfiltered podcast.
Weiss and co-creator David Benioff also divulged some preliminary plans for the end of the series: They're thinking 13 episodes over two more seasons. So much for the 10-episode seasons we've come to expect.
"That's the guess, though nothing is yet set in stone, but that's what we're looking at," Benioff told Variety.
Both the delay and the imminent final seasons left some viewers feeling bummed out.
But this is a good sign for the show - and for television.
HBO would no doubt like Game of Thrones to keep going forever, given the network's current dearth of hits.
Veep and Silicon Valley are critical darlings, but those comedies don't get nearly the numbers of GoT. Meanwhile, the intensely buzzy yet underwhelming Vinyl got the axe after just one season, joining the HBO graveyard alongside recent busts like The Brink, Togetherness, Looking and True Detective.
But HBO's woes aren't affecting Benioff and Weiss. They appear to have the power to do what's best for their show.
They're guided by creativity rather than commercialism, so if they want to end their show - or make episodes that have ranged from 50 to 69 minutes - they can. (Splitting the 13 episodes into two shorter seasons could be a creative choice, but it could also encourage subscribers to stick around longer and give HBO more chances at Emmys.)
There aren't a lot of showrunners with that kind of power, but when it happens it can take a show in exciting directions. Louis C.K. has enjoyed complete creative control over beloved, think piece-inspiring Louie on FX, and Larry David makes a season of Curb Your Enthusiasm when the inspiration strikes, even if that means taking a five-year hiatus.
Deadlines are helpful, of course, but not when they compromise quality. Remember the pilloried second season of True Detective? HBO president Michael Lombardo claims he was to blame for that mess.
"Our biggest failures - and I don't know if I would consider True Detective - but when we tell somebody to hit an air date as opposed to allowing the writing to find its own natural resting place, when it's ready, when it's baked," Lombardo told The Frame.
"And I think in this particular case, the first season of True Detective was something that Nic Pizzolatto had been thinking about, gestating, for a long period of time."
Giving creators the reins doesn't necessarily mean the outcome will be popular with fans. The Emmy-nominated Penny Dreadful on Showtime just ended - rather abruptly - after three seasons. The reason for that, according to Showtime boss David Nevins, was that creator John Logan said the story had reached its conclusion. End of discussion.
"I went through a short period of sort of, 'Are you sure you want to do this? What about continuing on?'" Nevins recalled to Deadline.
"In a very short amount of time he persuaded me that this was the bold choice to make and you listen to your creators."
Added Logan: "Some poems are meant to be haikus and some are meant to be sonnets and some are meant to be enormous epics, and this was always meant to be a sonnet."
Fans of Penny didn't accept this fate (and some are convinced Logan wasn't, in fact, ready to end the show), so they took to the Internet, making petitions to beg Netflix or another network to pick up the series.
The fans were left wanting more, but isn't that better than the alternative? Think about all of the shows that kept going long after their expiration date, not because the story needed time to tell, but because the ratings were good and the networks were making money.
Dexter should have ended after four seasons, when writer-producer Clyde Phillips left. Instead, it limped to an unfulfilling conclusion.
Maybe Revenge could have been saved by showrunner Mike Kelley's campaign for shorter seasons. But when ABC refused to decrease 22-episode orders, Kelley left after two solid seasons, and the show was canceled after four.
Should all visionaries have complete say over their shows? Of course not. Collaboration can breed creativity, and even brilliant writers need good editors. Lest we forget, even Benioff and Weiss bungled their first attempt at a Game of Thrones pilot.
But it would be helpful for networks to see that rigid conditions don't always breed the best shows. Sometimes a series should just be a miniseries. Sometimes a six-episode season is enough.
Sometimes, no matter how hard it is to wait, delaying the next season is the right thing to do.