'Game of Thrones' gets super-sized season 3 -- EXCLUSIVE

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The biggest production on TV of one of the biggest stories in fantasy is about to get a little, well, bigger.

The Game of Thrones team is creating a “super-sized” third season of the hit series.

With¬†showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss tackling content from the first half (roughly) of author George R.R. Martin’s largest Song of Ice and Fire novel (the¬†973-page fan-favorite A Storm of Swords), the writer-producer duo are delivering slightly longer episodes to the network. There’s still 10, but you’ll get a little more each week than previous seasons.

“There’s almost another full episode’s worth of extra minutes spread across the season,” Weiss says. “One of the great liberties with HBO is we’re not forced to come in at a specific time. We can’t be under 50 minutes or over 60, but that gives us a lot of flexibility.”

“A super-sized season, as befitting Storm of Swords,” Benioff adds. “Last year we had a lot of 52-minute episodes. This year is a lot of 56, 57.”

In fact, the third season finale is expected to run more than an hour — a move that requires special permission from the network (previously, the show’s pilot and its second season finale exceeded an hour). Episodes are still being calibrated so exact times could change, but HBO and producers are confident the season will deliver more Thrones than ever before. Says HBO in a statement: “All 10 episodes gained a minute or two from past seasons with the finale very possibly exceeding 60 minutes.”

“So for people clamoring for another episode, it’s in there,” Weiss says. “It’s just been cut into tiny pieces.”

Game of Thrones returns March 31, with the season two DVD out Feb. 19.

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