March 9 (UPI) -- HBO's fantasy series Game of Thrones will return to the network for its seventh season beginning July 16, 2017.
The show announced the premier date through a Facebook live stream that encouraged fans to comment "FIRE" or "DRACARYS" to melt a giant block of ice.
Once the flames melted the center portion of the ice, a cloth was removed to reveal the numbers "07. 16. 17," followed by a brief teaser trailer.
The stunt used the theme of fire and ice as a reference to the George R.R. Martin novels on which the series is based. Cast members delivered messages to fans while they watched the block melt.
The 70-minute stream stopped and started abruptly twice before the date was finally revealed as more flamethrowers were brought in and moved closer to the block of ice.
Season seven of Game of Thrones will feature only seven episodes, as opposed to the usual 10, as it winds down before its eighth and final season, which will also be truncated.