‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 set for 2019: HBO

Winter is coming, eventually.

Winter came to New York City with a vengeance on Thursday, but it won’t be coming back to HBO until 2019.

The cable giant finally made official what had been suspected, namely that the final season of the megahit “Game of Thrones” will not air this year. It will return sometime in 2019, meaning a wait of anywhere from 13 to 23 months. Also confirmed was that the eighth season will have to wrap up the stories of Daenerys, Jon, Tyrion, Arya and the rest of the gang in just six episodes.

Disappointed fans can console themselves by hoping that part of the extra time will be spent adding lots of CGI dragons and direwolves. And book lovers can dream that creator George R.R. Martin will finally finish and publish “The Winds of Winter,” the sixth volume in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. Book five came out in 2011.

But one thing that is certain, all that off time means more opportunity for leaks. As the show has outpaced Martin’s books, the desire to know where the series is going has increased. And so have the number of spoilers. Scripts, whole episodes, plot outlines, you name it, it’s been leaked or hacked. All sorts of rumors are circulating about the steps HBO is taking to prevent the final season from being spoiled, including talk of filming three different endings.

HBO previously confirmed the directors for the final season, creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Miguel Sapochnik (“Battle of the Bastards,” “Hardhome”) and David Nutter (“The Rains of Castamere”). The writers for season eight will be Weiss and Benioff, Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill.

Cory Oldweiler