You haven’t seen anything yet: Game of Thrones has been officially renewed for a third season by HBO. The network ordered another round of the fantasy hit, which recently debuted its second season to record ratings, then followed up with a nearly identical performance this week.
The third season is expected to be more or less based on the first half of George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords — the third novel of his “Song of Ice and Fire” series of fantasy best-sellers. Long a fan favorite of the book series, Swords has several dramatic twists and confrontations (so … save the date!). Given the book’s length (the paperback edition is 1,216 pages) and action-packed content, producers plan to break up the novel into two seasons.
Martin wrote on his blog that season three is another 10-episode order, but HBO refuses to confirm. The author also notes he’ll pen the seventh episode, tentatively titled “Autumn Storms.”
“As George and all his fans have said for a long time, there’s no way to do [Swords] in a single season, so it’s being broken into two,” said executive producer David Benioff during a recent interview with EW. “We’re still kind of figuring out exactly what goes where. We don’t want it to feel like a two-part season… From the beginning we’d always prayed we’d get to season 3 at least because, you know, two of our favorite scenes from the entire saga are in season 3.”
So far Thrones is averaging 3.9 million viewers for debut episodes this season, with the second season premiere’s all-viewing total up to 8.3 million viewers and counting. EW’s recap of Sunday night’s sex-stuffed episode is here.