Game of Thrones fans have surely taken stock of the series to date on the long road to Season 6, a stark reminder that each season suffers at least one episode or storyline not worth the trouble. Not so for Season 6, apparently, as bosses Dan Weiss and David Benioff promise “this season there is not a weak episode.”

The surprisingly tacit admission came in conversation with Entertainment Weekly, adding that the two showrunners had recently watched near-finished cuts of all ten episodes. Benioff in particular acknowledged his own bias, but emphasized that solid direction all-around significantly upped Season 6's quality:

The whole season [excites us]. Dan and I talk about this a lot. This is not us trying to hype it. Usually there’s an episode or two we’re kind of nervous about, that didn’t turn out as well as we hoped. This season there is not a weak episode. We had great directors who knew what they were doing, paired with excellent [directors of photography]. We thought at the script stage it might be our strongest season. Then the episodes came in better than we hoped.

We’re always reluctant to say it’s ‘the best season yet’ because so much of that is in the eyes of the beholder. And Dan and I are so close to it that it’s impossible to be unbiased. But that’s my sense – watching them all together now, this is the best one we’ve done. It’s also the one I’m proudest of, because it was the hardest.

Elsewhere of Game of Thrones Season 6, soon to be renewed for Seasons 7 and 8, screen legend Max von Sydow has been cast as the mysterious Three-Eyed Raven to a returning Bran, while Deadwood alum Ian McShane will also appear in a limited, mysterious role, joining Richard E. Grant and The Babadook star Essie Davis as theatre troup players, four notable actors as the Tarly family, Melanie Liburd as a new Red Priestess, and Borgen star Pilou Asbæk as fan-favorite Euron Greyjoy. Apart from a list of directors, Of Monsters and Men will put in a cameo, and story logistics seemingly confirm scenes set at The Wall next year.

In the meantime, check out the latest on the Game of Thrones Season 6 with trailers below, and stay tuned for the April 24 premiere!