Game of Thrones fans are still catching their breath after the Battle of Winterfell, but Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen are already assembling their armies outside the gates of King's Landing, ready for the final battle against Cersei to take the Iron Throne.

Uh, but hold up, how? Isn't King's Landing built on a small peninsula, and protected from the flank by hilly forests? Where is there room to assemble an army?

(Season five | Game of Thrones | HBO)

(Season seven | Game of Thrones | HBO)

Oh, silly me, of course you would put your army in that giant flat swath of land that had never made an appearance before the very end of last season.

(Season eight | Game of Thrones | HBO)

(Season eight | Game of Thrones | HBO)

This season's continued remodeling of King's Landing isn't the first instance of retroactive continuity in Game of Thrones, but it is quite drastic. The hilly, lush coastal town of earlier seasons is no more, replaced by a city in a sprawling, arid flatland, where the harbor is no longer the defining geographical trait and the locations outside the walls might be more important than those within.

Those changes alone, though, would be just another case of harmless retconning if it weren't for the fact that Game of Thrones' showrunners transformed King's Landing right on the eve of battle. This reveals several things about how the showdown between Jon, Daenerys, and Cersei might go.

1. The hills and trees are gone — that means there's no chance of a sneak attack.

Let's start with the deforestation around the walls of King's Landing, because it's actually the most realistic part of the retconned castle. The technique of clear-cutting is borrowed from the men of the Night's Watch, who kept a cleared strip of land between the Haunted Forest and the Wall as both a warning track and for protection, so wildlings couldn't sneak up on Castle Black. Cersei is clearly using the same technique; trees and brush would give the usurper armies an advantage of cover and stealth, which they frankly need — battered and tired after the Battle of Winterfell, Jon and Daenerys' troops are going to be at a disadvantage on an open field. Now tunneling or some other sneak-attack have been ruled out.

(Season eight | Game of Thrones | HBO)

(Season seven | Game of Thrones | HBO)

Worryingly, in the episode five preview we actually see Tyrion, Jon, and Ser Davos assembled outside the walls, as if waiting to make a brute-force attack:

(Season eight | Game of Thrones | HBO)

That's bad news: The razed region around King's Landing likely means that even though Jon has the disadvantage, there is going to be a big battle outside the castle walls. Why else would the showrunners remake the entire look of King's Landing just to insert the space for sprawling flatlands? Cersei might have cut down trees but she certainly didn't bulldoze those gigantic hills.

Now if there is going to be some sort of cleverness, the only option is to use actual magic — say, from a certain shapeshifting nobody.

2. King's Landing is now ... landlocked?

As has been astutely pointed out on Twitter, the Game of Thrones opening credits appear to have done away with the "landing" part of King's Landing. While the harbor hasn't actually vanished entirely — the Blackwater can be seen right where it belongs in screenshots from the episode five teaser — it does suggest that perhaps Euron's armada and the water element will be secondary to the main assault. If you were going to put a magnificent sea battle in your penultimate episode, after all, you'd probably make sure the harbor was better and more accurately emphasized in the opening credits' map.

(Season eight | Game of Thrones | HBO)

What that means for our heroes: Anyone holding out for Yara's triumphant deus ex machina from the sea might be out of luck. Will Drogon finally get some armor and dracarys the whole pirate fleet to the bottom of the ocean in a cryptozoological parallel to Tyrion launching wildfire on Stannis Baratheon's ships back in the second season? I can't be sure, but Euron sure looks nervous about something in the clouds in the episode five preview:

(Season eight | Game of Thrones | HBO)

3. The shooting location moved from Croatia to Spain. Why?

As has perhaps been made abundantly obvious by now, Game of Thrones partially abandoned the "real world" King's Landing shooting location of Dubrovnik, Croatia, this season. As many sharp-eyed bloggers pointed out, much of King's Landing in season eight was filmed instead in Spain.

On the one hand, that makes sense: King's Landing has always seemed a bit more culturally Spanish than Adriatic. It's important to note, though, which King's Landing scenes were shot in Spain in previous seasons.

In a spoilery post, Fansided points out that Seville was the real-world location for King's Landing Dragonpit (the ruins that hosted the big parley between Cersei, Jon, Daenerys et al. last season), and many major Game of Thrones characters were spotted filming there ahead of season eight, including Sophie Turner (who plays Sansa), Tom Wlaschiha (who plays Jaqen H'ghar), and Faye Marsay (who plays the Waif). "The conspiracy angle on the situation is that some of the actors gathered in Seville will be involved in the Dragonpit shoot and some won't, and that HBO has summoned so many so we won't be able to tell which is which," Fansided writes.

(Season seven | Game of Thrones | HBO)

What is consistent, though, is the Dragonpit itself. Will the former Targaryen dragon stable somehow play a role in the battle? Will there be another parley there with Cersei, or will it somehow be used to capture and contain Drogon? Or will we not see it again until after the ash has settled?

Either way, the walled city of Dubrovnik would have left little space for an epic battle between the 10,000 members of the Golden Company and the survivors of the Battle of Winterfell. It seems almost natural that the showrunners would have had to find an entire different geographic location to represent King's Landing if they really wanted to put on the fireworks before the credits roll for the last time.

Retrofitting King's Landing for the final battle admittedly might not have been the most graceful answer. Still, the specific tweaks are revealing, and the amorphous appearance of the Westerosi capital could mean a lot of trouble for those trying to breach its ever-changing walls.