Before filming began for each season of Game Of Thrones, creators David and Dan had one job they dreaded.
"It was known as the 'Death Call'," David explains. "We'd call up the actors or take them to dinner and explain to them, 'Hey, you've been great and all, but your time has come'."
Sometimes it was a false alarm, as Nikolaj Coster-Waldau found out one year after he'd pulled a prank on them earlier.
"We felt like we owed it to him, so we called him in and had this long, nervous chat with him where we knew he was waiting for the news," David says, grinning. "And then we said, 'Yeah, you're not going to die this year!'"
For the final season, they took a different approach.
(Warning: spoiler alert to follow!)
"Because so many of them die," David says, in way-too matter-of-fact fashion, "we decided to wait until they all got their scripts and could come to the table read and be in one room while everyone shared their reactions hearing it read aloud for the first time."
Confirming David's account, TV WEEK Close Up is talking to Kit Harington in the same conference room, and at the exact table, where he went through that final script.
Kit points to the chair he was sitting in and admits he was one of the few cast members who turned down the opportunity to read the script in advance of the read-through.
"I just broke down sobbing, and there were a lot of people who were exactly the same," Kit, 32, says. "Then there was a standing ovation and more tears. I still get teary now thinking about the last line read from the last script, which was 'the end of Game Of Thrones'."
GAME OF THRONES returns Monday from 11am (AEST), FOX Showcase.