'Game of Thrones' showrunners know how the series ends, promise 7 or 8 seasons

game-of-thrones-season-4-daenerys-dragons-jorah-vanity-fair.jpg "Game of Thrones" covers Vanity Fair's new issue and, as can be expected of any Annie Leibovitz-shot cover, the stars of the series look absolutely gorgeous. But even more exciting than the stunning imagery are the snippets of information inside of the issue.

The full story won't be released until Friday (March 14), but in a preview online, Vanity Fair confirms that George R.R. Martin did tell "Thrones" showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss how the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series will end. "I can give them the broad strokes of what I intend to write, but the details aren't there yet. I'm hopeful that I can not let them catch up with me," Martin tells the magazine.

Benioff says, "Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don't know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be. If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character."

game-of-thrones-season-4-vanity-fair-cover.jpgAt least fans can rest easy knowing that if there are deviations from the books in the show, it's all heading toward the same endgame -- similar to how J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves worked together on the "Harry Potter" books and movies. And like the "ASoIaF" novels, "Game of Thrones" will only exist for seven or eight seasons (Martin is planning seven books, but says the story could spill over into an eighth). 

"It doesn't just keep on going because it can," Weiss tells Vanity Fair. "I think the desire to milk more out of it is what would eventually kill it, if we gave in to that."

As for whether or not President Obama actually got early episodes of Season 4, the showrunners say in a joint e-mail, "One perk of being the most powerful man in the world: yes, you get to see episodes early."

Check out Vanity Fair's behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot below:

"Game of Thrones" Season 4 premieres April 6 on HBO.
Photo/Video credit: Vanity Fair