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Don't miss: Game of Thrones series seven

Game of Thrones returns for its seventh and penultimate series this month

Game of Thrones series seven

THE end is approaching. War is coming. The greatest battles lie ahead in the seventh season of George RR Martin's fantasy epic as winter finally arrives. And the dead with it.

Or at least, that's what Sky are telling me about the seventh – and, supposedly, penultimate ­– series of the smash hit fantasy series, which starts airing on Sky Atlantic at 9pm on July 17 (there's also a 2am 'simulcast' with the US for the true hardcore fans).

To be honest, I've still only ever seen the very first episode of Game of Thrones, so it's far too late to catch up now.

I'm not a fantasy fan, but I'm not a begrudger either: it's great everyone else enjoys GOT so much and fair play to all those local extras it's employed for so long (How do you know if someone's a GOT extra? Don't worry, they'll tell you!) along with the entrepreneurial bus tour types who've been milking the lucrative GOT tourist trade in the north.

For fans getting anxious that series eight really will be the last word on all things Westeros, I wouldn't worry: GOT is pretty much a license to print money for all involved, so as sure as spring follows winter, no doubt HBO and co will come up with a way to spin out their greatest hit for as long as you want to keep watching.

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