Ravens are flying out from the Citadel with the news: Game of Thrones has officially been renewed for two more seasons. The show, which recently returned this past Sunday with the episode ‘Two Swords,’ brought in HBO’s largest audience since the Sopranos finale in 2007, according to Deadline. The episode was watched by approximately 6.6 million viewers.
Warning: Spoilers for Game of Thrones seasons 1-4 follow
Michael Lombardo, president of HBO’s programming, was quoted in the official press release with praise for everyone involved with the show. “GAME OF THRONES is a phenomenon like no other. “David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with their talented collaborators, continue to surpass themselves, and we look forward to more of their dazzling storytelling.”
Season 4 of Game of Thrones covers the latter half of the book A Storm of Swords, the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series written by George R.R. Martin. The season opener for Thrones picked up soon after the events of season 3, which saw the Stark family numbers significantly reduced with the audience-traumatizing Red Wedding, an event that had been kept surprisingly low key by fans of the books for years.
Cast regulars for the fourth season of GAME OF THRONES include: Emmy® and Golden Globe winner Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Charles Dance, Aidan Gillen, Jack Gleeson, Kit Harington, Diana Rigg, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Alfie Allen, Jerome Flynn, Conleth Hill, John Bradley, Gwendoline Christie, Liam Cunningham, Stephen Dillane, Natalie Dormer, Iain Glen, Kristofer Hivju, Sibel Kekilli, Rose Leslie, Rory McCann, Michael McElhatton, Iwan Rheon and Carice van Houten.
Among the early critical praise for the fourth season, the Los Angeles Times called GAME OF THRONES “the Best Television Show Ever,” adding that “no other series comes close,” and “television just doesn’t get any better than this,” while Newsday hailed the series as “still TV’s best,” awarding the show an A+. The Hollywood Reporter observed, “The consistency of excellence in GAME OF THRONES is truly something to behold,” and the San Francisco Chronicle described it as “great and addictive.”
HBO aired Game of Thrones marathons and a #TakeTheThrone promotion over the weekend leading up to the premiere while in New Zealand, SKY erected a 23-foot statue of King Joffrey that fans could help topple by using the hashtag #BringDownTheKing. The statue was eventually toppled over late Sunday night to a crowd that had been growing in Aotea Square in Auckland.
Seasons five and six of Game of Thrones would technically cover the books A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. Martin’s next book, which does not yet have a release date, is currently titled The Winds of Winter.