Two years is a long time, especially in the age of Netflix and TV on demand.

But Game of Thrones has managed to keep fans on tenterhooks as the drama, based on the books by George R R Martin, returns for its eighth and final series tomorrow night. 

The fantasy epic, famous for its extensive cast, sprawling storylines and intricate plot, will come to a “bittersweet” conclusion next month.

The series’ final six episodes is the end of almost eight years on the air.

The show returns with Jon Snow (played by Kit Harington) arriving at Winterfell with newfound love and queen Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) as they help prepare the North to face the Army of the Dead.

Details of the final series remain tightly under wraps, but information has emerged about a massive battle. 

The show’s crew are believed to have been spent a gruelling 55 days filming bloody scenes in Northern Ireland.

Nicknamed The Long Night by those who spent months building the set and shooting for almost eight weeks, director Miguel Sapochinik said he was inspired by Helms Deep in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Harington was wary of divulging too much but told TV host Graham Norton that the back-to-back shooting “was so intense [the cast and crew] were all on the edge of killing each other”. 

Ahead of the news series’ premiere, Harington also confessed to telling one person how Game of Thrones ends because the weight of keeping it a secret “got too much”.

The British actor, who shot to fame as Snow, admitted that the “intensity” of being a part of the final scenes but not being able to talk about it was “so hard” that he had to find a way to cope. 

“It got too much, so I’ve told one person – my friend James, who doesn’t watch the show and fell asleep in the first episode of the very first season,” Harington said. “I knew then that he was zero interested in what I do.”

Teasing the final scenes of the popular show, which began in 2011, Harington said that they had “upped the budget and gone to town”.

“It is really exciting,” he said.

“There are some incredible sequences, but I’ve woken up in the middle of the night recently thinking, ‘What if, after eight seasons, we’ve mucked it up!” 

Another star Liam Cunningham said the series’ creator George R R Martin described the ending of the show as “bittersweet”.

“Having seen everything, I’d have to agree with that,” Cunningham said. “The other thing I think it is fair to say is if we wrapped up this story with a nice pink ribbon, people would be very very annoyed with us because that would be patronising.

“It’s a bit like life, there is unanswered bits and answered bits and pain and misery and suffering but all the big stories, there is a certain resolution to them.”

The Dublin actor, who plays smuggler turned Lord Davos Seaworth in the fantasy epic, defended the often shocking content of the show, as well as hinting that the ending will be as challenging as the previous seven seasons.

He refused to say anything about the fate of his character but described him as the “moral compass of the piece”.

Davos was present during a scene when three men were burned alive by the priestess Melisandre as a sacrifice to the “Lord of Light”.

While Game of Thrones is infamous for its gritty scenes including extreme violence, Cunningham pointed out it was a show written by adults, for adults.

“There were a lot of things that happened at the seasons went on that a lot of people found very challenging, shall we say,” he added.

“This is a grown-up show, written by grown-ups, for grown-ups, and one of the reasons for its success was it wasn’t condescending for its audience, it’s genuinely challenging, and you do find yourself sometimes questioning your attachment to characters for what they get up to.

“But there is no-one bad in it for the sake of being bad – well, maybe the Boltons (known for flaying their enemies), and King Joffrey – but you understand their reasons for doing what they do.

“All that stuff… in our show it is justified, but not in real life.”

Game of Thrones will premiere on April 15 on Sky Atlantic and Now  TV.