Game Of Thrones stars have started to say their final goodbyes at the epic show’s season eight premiere – with a family reunion for the Starks on the red carpet.

Jon Snow actor Kit Harington was joined by his on-screen Stark siblings Arya (played by Maisie Williams), Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Bran (Isaac Hampsted Wright).

They were among the cast members who walked the red carpet for the final time in Belfast, where much of the drama has been filmed since it started in 2011.

It is a series that has made them household names, with many saying that returning to Northern Ireland to attend the exclusive screening felt like coming home.

With makers HBO notoriously guarded, the actors unsurprisingly would not be drawn into revealing spoilers.

However, all promised the most shocking season yet.

Harington, who plays Jon Snow (AKA Aegon Targaryen, to you and me, although he doesn’t know it yet), told Sky News he felt overwhelmed when he read the final scripts.

:: Game Of Thrones podcast – catch up on the story so far

I felt most upset – well, upset is the wrong word, but just overwhelmed. Overwhelmed that we’re here and that we’ve finished it.

There was a point around season four or five where you’re like ‘this thing is never-ending. This is just going to go and go’.

Now we’re done and I’m going to go back and watch the whole thing once and put it to bed.

Series seven ended with The Wall coming down and our heroes (and villains) preparing for the final battle for Westeros, knowing they will have to defeat the deadly White Walkers and their Night King – plus their newly-acquired zombie ice-fire dragon.

It has been almost two years since those episodes aired, with fans waiting in anticipation to see how the Game Of Thrones ends – and who, if anyone, will end up on the Iron Throne.

Summing the final series up in three (well, four) words, Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, described it as unpredictable, terrifying and visually stunning.

She told Sky News: It never really feels like goodbye. I don’t think I can convince myself that it’s time to say goodbye.

Hampsted Wright said he didn’t believe the season could be bettered, saying: It took nine months to film six episodes, usually it takes six months to film 10 episodes so that just gives you the scale of it.

The hit show is known for its violent scenes, with 56% of its 330 characters dying across the series so far. Episodes in the final instalment have cost a rumoured £11.5m each.

Other stars who attended the screening included Richard Dormer, who plays Beric Dondarrion, Jerome Flynn (Bronn), Carice van Houten (Melisandre) and Pilou Asbaek (Euron Greyjoy).

Asked whether his villainous character would be behaving badly in season eight, Asbaek said he would be very disappointed with myself if he didn’t do something horrible this season.

Dormer said the final series would bring a lot of goosebumps, a lot of raised hair, a lot of shocks – and a lot of blood.
Well, this is the Game Of Thrones, after all. We’d expect nothing less.

:: The final series of Game Of Thrones airs on Sky Atlantic on 15 April at 2am and 9pm.

:: Want to recap on the story so far? All episodes of Game Of Thrones from series 1-7 are now available to watch on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.

:: For a quicker refresher, catch Jamie East’s Previously, On… Game Of Thrones podcast, which breaks each episode down into a bitesize explainer.
(c) Sky News 2019: Kit Harington and Maisie Williams among stars at Game of Thrones final series premiere