Thanking you muchly, HBO!
Last night, at the Television Critics Association’s press tour, BO programming president Michael Lombardo let everyone in on a little secret... he said: "Seven-seasons-and-out has never been the [internal] conversation... The question is: how much beyond seven are we going to do? Obviously we’re shooting six now, hopefully discussing seven. [Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] feel like there’s two more years after six. I would always love for them to change their minds, but that's what we’re looking at right now."
So, potentially, there could be more than 8 seasons if that statement is anything to go by.
Lombardo continued with "I would be open to anything that Dan and David wanted to do about Game of Thrones or any subject matter... It really would depend fully on what they wanted to do. I think you're right, there’s enormous storytelling to be mined in a prequel, if [George R.R. Martin] and Dan and David decide they want to tackle that."
As for Jon Snow making a miraculous reappearance: "Dead is dead is dead... He be dead. Um, yes. Everything I’ve seen heard and read, Jon Snow is indeed dead."
Thanks for clearing that up, Michael. No need to spare our feelings, or anything.
As to why Kit Harington is hanging about the set in Belfast, this is where the prequel theory comes in...