There's good news for fans of hit fantasy series Game of Thrones - the show’s creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss say they plan three more seasons of the epic adventure.
"It feels like this is the midpoint for us," Benioff told Entertainment Weekly. "If we’re going to go seven seasons, which is the plan, season four is right down the middle, the pivot point."
Trailer: Game of Thrones Season 4
Seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros.
The report said that the producers may even stretch the series an extra year, but it all depends on author George RR Martin, on whose Song of Ice and Fire novels the series is based. So far he has released only five of the planned seven novels, and there’s no word on when the rest will hit the bookstands.
Meanwhile the countdown for Game of Thrones series four has now entered the “only four weeks left” stage.
To mark the occasion, HBO released another deliciously jammy trailer featuring both tantalising hints of things to come, as well as some overtly awesome things like massively BAMF dragons.
So let's “unpack” it, to use a current buzzword.
The trailer starts with a flash of Joffrey's sword at some sort of feast – wedding rehearsal, maybe? I hope someone stands up with an embarrassing story about the groom-to-be's bed-wetting habits or penchant for brutality. “Chip off the old block!” Jaime Lannister could say, with no idea of the irony.
Sansa, meanwhile, is sad. She's haunted by the brutal murder of brother Robb and mother Catelyn, while Roose Bolton (Boo! Hiss!) and his knob-chopping bastard Ramsay look very smug indeed. I know Arya is the kick-ass physical Stark, but geez, I'd love Sansa to just get a little stabby. Tyrion, at least, seems to still sympathise with her, while Tywin looks, as usual, like he don't give a shit.
We see shots of Jaime (sans his long blonde locks) fighting with Bronn, as Cersei watches on. I'm going to assume that's practice as Jaime is using the hand he has left, which is coincidentally his left hand.
We hear Cersei chatting to Inigo Montoya (thanks to all those who suggested that nickname for the Dornish Prince Oberyn Martell, I think it works even better than Errol Flynn). She asks what good is power if you can't protect your loved ones. Montoya's sister was killed on order of Tywin Lannister during the sack of King's Landing, and his reply “You can avenge them” really confirms that he's not over it.
Littlefinger continues to be the Sun-Tzu of the Westeros world, offering up another diamond stratagem for manipulation: “Always keep your foes confused... if they don't know who you are, what you want, they can't know what you plan to do next.”
It's good advice, and probably the reason my attempts to kidnap Jon Snow and make him my indentured-but-actually-very-grateful sexual slave have so far failed.
Speaking of fantasies, a brief announcement for the ladies. If you've had naughty thoughts about Hodor ever since he first got his Hodor out in series one, you can forget about it. Actor Kristian Nairn has revealed he's gay, or as Hodor might say, “Hodor”. To our “Hodor” friends, take good Hodor of Hodor and don't Hodor his Hodor too Hodor.
We don't see much of Hodor in the trailer, but there is a glimpse of Bran struggling to reach something. Similarly there's not much of Arya – she's just seen atop the Hound's horse as he gingerly navigates it through a forest.
Dany's mounting another attack against a walled city (trebuchets, ready!), while Ser Barristan seems to have mounting concerns about his mistress being on a power trip. His “Sometimes it is better to answer injustice with mercy” prompts her reply “I will answer injustice with justice.” Bit of a wooden line there, but hey, maybe Dany's speechwriter was off that day.
We also see Dany with her holy-crap-how-huge-are-they dragons, contemplating her need to be more than just the Mother of Dragons as her army and challenges continue to grow.
Stannis Baratheon remains as cheerful and happy-go-lucky as ever, determined not to be a page in somebody else's history book. And what the hell was that city that had a helmeted Colossus standing over it? Honestly, I'll never understand how a world where people no doubt burn their own dung for fuel would think “Yeah, let's spend all our money building a giant eff off statue of a warrior that will do absolutely nothing for our cultural progression”. Maybe try inventing penicillin or something, for goodness sake. We also see Melisandre (aka Kate Bush) having another Lord of Light cook-off, which I'm sure will end well.
There's a bunch of brief shots to give colour and texture: the Martells going for it; Jaime and Cersei going for it; some deaths; Ygritte being scolded for letting Jon Snow get away; Jon Snow being moody about his wrongdoings; some more deaths; a female archer who I don't recognise; even more deaths; and a dragon getting all wing-spready and ready to roast.
Then there's a great shot of Tywin chilling on the Iron Throne, as Tyrion sarcastically comments that they mustn't disappoint father. How comfortable does Tywin look? The Iron Throne is designed to be unpleasant on the buttocks; the whole idea is that kingship should never be taken for granted. Tywin looks far too at ease for someone seated on pointy steel... but then I guess he's always been a hard arse.
And with that godawful pun, it's time to wrap this baby up. I'm about to head overseas on holiday, but I'll be back, bleary-eyed after 24 hours in the air, in the early hours of April 7, the day the show airs here. Despite the jet lag, I will be recapping, my beloved Throners.
Are you ready for winter?
Game Of Thrones Season 4 premieres in Australia on Foxtel's Showcase on April 7.
- with DPA