What Ghost Returning to Game of Thrones Could Mean for the Final Season

HBO
HBO

The final season of Game of Thrones is upon us, and though we'll be saying goodbye to some of our favorite characters in fictional history, we're also going to see the return of some fan favorites.

Visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer recently confirmed Jon Snow's direwolf Ghost will be making an appearance in season eight, and it doesn't sound like it'll just be a minor cameo. “Oh, you’ll see him again," Bauer told told The Huffington Post. "He has a fair amount of screen time in Season 8. He does show up ... He’s very present and does some pretty cool things."

Obviously, fans were thrilled to learn they'll get to see Ghost again.

But besides the initial excitement, we're now wondering what Ghost's involvement could mean for Jon's fate and the finale of Game of Thrones. What "cool things" could Bauer be referring to?

George RR Martin has teased Arya Stark's direwolf Nymeria's "important" role in the final two books. “You know, I don’t like to give things away,” he ​said in a 2014 interview, adding, “You don't hang a giant wolf pack on the wall unless you intend to use it.” Though the show could always not follow Martin's plans, Ghost could definitely team up with Nymeria, should Jon and Arya reunite to fight alongside each other.

According to writer Bryan Cogman, Ghost was supposed to be in season seven, but the scene had to be cut because they didn't have the budget. "There was a bit here where Jon came out of the crypt, and Ghost came up to him and [Jon pet] him and said, 'Take care of [Sansa], watch over her for me.' But I guess those direwolves are expensive. I guess it got cut. Oh, well. Ghost is there somewhere roaming around," he ​shared.

Clearly, Ghost's absence hasn't been because of a lack of importance. If Game of Thrones is going to bring him back, it's likely for something major, probably with Nymeria at his side. We can't wait to see how it all goes down when the final season premieres in ​the first half of next year.

Friends Cast Confirms Reunion Special is Coming to HBO Max

David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston in Friends.
David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston in Friends.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Could we be any more excited? After months of reports that the cast of Friends might be coming together for a reunion of sorts, it looks like it's officially a done deal.

According to Variety, all of the six original actors—Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer—have signed on for an unscripted special from HBO Max. While previous reports claimed each star would likely earn between $3 and $4 million for their appearances, it's now believed their paychecks will be "at least" $2.5 million apiece.

And to make everything even more real, the beloved actors behind the iconic series are personally confirming the news. All six stars took to Instagram quickly after the news dropped to share their excitement. "It's happening," they captioned the posts.

In a statement, HBO Max's chief content officer Kevin Reilly had this to say of the news:

"Guess you could call this the one where they all got back together—we are reuniting with David, Jennifer, Courteney, Matt, Lisa, and Matthew for an HBO Max special that will be programmed alongside the entire Friends library. I became aware of Friends when it was in the very early stages of development and then had the opportunity to work on the series many years later and have delighted in seeing it catch on with viewers generation after generation. It taps into an era when friends—and audiences—gathered together in real time, and we think this reunion special will capture that spirit, uniting original and new fans."

The Friends reunion does not have a release date yet, but HBO Max is debuting this May.

Party Like a Hobbit at Chicago’s Lord of the Rings Pop-Up Bar

Gollum and a Ringwraith loom near Bilbo's hobbit hole at Replay Lincoln Park's Lord of the Rings pop-up bar.
Gollum and a Ringwraith loom near Bilbo's hobbit hole at Replay Lincoln Park's Lord of the Rings pop-up bar.
Replay Lincoln Park

One does not simply walk into Mordor, but one does simply walk into The Lord of the Rings pop-up bar in Chicago—as long as you’re at least 21 years old, of course.

Replay Lincoln Park, known for elaborate themed pop-ups for Game of Thrones, South Park, and other entertainment franchises, has transformed its premises into a magical reproduction of Middle-earth aptly called “The One Pop-Up to Rule Them All,” open now through March 23.

Inside, you’ll be able to crouch under an outcropping of tangled tree roots while one of the dreaded Nazgûl lurks above you, high-five a grimacing Gollum, and snap photos with all your favorite Lord of the Rings characters.

nazgul at the lord of the rings pop-up bar at chicago's replay lincoln park
The Nazgûl like to party, too.
Replay Lincoln Park

You might want to skip elevenses to make sure you have plenty of room for a Hobbit-approved feast during your visit. The menu, catered by Zizi’s Cafe, features items like Fried Po-tay-toes, Lord of the Wings, Beef Lembas, and Pippen’s Popcorn.

ent replica at chicago's replay lincoln park pop-up bar
Say hello to a friendly Ent while you munch on "Pippen's Popcorn."
Replay Lincoln Park

According to Thrillist, there will be three different counters in the bar, each with its own specialty drinks. Head to The Prancing Pony for a second breakfast shot (maple whiskey, bacon, and orange juice), or take a trip to Minas Tirith to toss back a palantir shot, made of silver tequila and passion fruit purée. If you’re in the mood for a little dark magic, you can trek over to Mordor and try a “my precious” shot, a fusion of dark rum, orange liquor, and Cajun seasoning.

lord of the rings pop-up bar at chicago's replay lincoln park
The Eye of Sauron is watching you order another round of Mordor shots.
Replay Lincoln Park

For those of you who are happy to accompany your Tolkien-obsessed friends to the pop-up but aren’t exactly tickled at the sight of a moss-covered Ent replica yourselves, take heart in this added bonus: Replay Lincoln Park also boasts more than 60 free arcade games and pinball machines.

[h/t Thrillist]

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