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'Game of Thrones' gets a 5th, 6th season pick-up from HBO

"Game Of Thrones" will be back for a

"Game of Thrones" - which may be the hottest show on television although in my humble opinion is indisputably the best one - just got a pickup from HBO for two more seasons, the fifth and sixth, according to a statement:

“GAME OF THRONES is a phenomenon like no other,” noted [HBO programming chief, Michael] Lombardo. “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.”

  "GoT" - the fourth season of which just launched - was seen by 6.6 million viewers Sunday, the biggest number for HBO since "The Sopranos'" wrap (11.7 million.) I suspect most notable here is the fact that Sunday's opener was 52 percent higher than the third season opener.  

'Game of Thrones:' The four trailers

A scene from HBO's "Game of Thrones."

(Credit: HBO)

HBO has released a new season four trailer for "Game of Thrones," arriving April 6, which means...we have four trailers! Not to restate the obvious, but this is a full generous look at the much-anticipated new season, and therefore an opportunity to explore. Here are the four, in order, beginning with the first, and newest last. See if you can glean the fates and fortunes of our heroes and anti-heroes; and dragons too: 

 

'Game of Thrones' to end (maybe) in 2017

Sean Bean portrays Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark in

(Credit: AP)

"Game of Thrones," a TV classic even midway through its run, will likely end at seven seasons, the showrunners told Vanity Fair in the April cover story. That would mean -- maybe -- a 2017 wrap.

Unless ... HBO plays what now seems to be a favored game of splitting final seasons in two, all the better to stretch them out (my dear...).

At least that's been AMC's modus ... it's not exactly an HBO one.


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David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, series showrunners, told Vanity Fair contributing writer Jim Windolf that they also now know from master of the "GoT" universe, George R. R. Martin, how the saga ends. Martin says the same thing to Jim.

Here are key quotes provided by Vanity Fair:

“It doesn’t just keep on going because it can,” Weiss says. “I think the desire to milk more out of it is what would eventually kill it, if we gave in to that.”

“Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with him [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be. If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character.” Martin tells Windolf, “I can give them the broad strokes of what I intend to write, but the details aren’t there yet. I’m hopeful that I can not let them catch up with me.”

By the way, seven often is a magic number for series because that's often the length of contracts that key actors sign. It's effectively a security blanket for both network and show, kinowing that the headliners are attached if the series is a success. Of course, many shows bite the dust long before they ever reach seven -- and "GoT" isn't necessarily a book or TV series predicated on the health and longevity of key protagonists, is it? Will Peter Dinklage -- Tyrion Lannister -- be here for the long haul? If King George deems that he be, sure. (And remember that death is not always forever in Westeros.)

It should also be noted here that these are just words -- HBO and showrunners could also decide to opt for an eighth season if they reasonably feel like there's more story to tell and strrretching it one more year wouldn't be a travesty to either fans or Martin's opus (Martin is an executive producer, by the way.)

So theoretically, "GoT" could even end in 2018 (or '19!).

No reason, in other words, to begin planning your finale viewing parties right now.

'Game of Thrones,' season four: Just the facts

A scene from HBO's "Game of Thrones."

(Credit: HBO)

"Game of Thrones" arrives April 6. That much we know. But what we do not know are details: key storylines, episode titles, throughlines. HBO has gone some of the way toward sating our thirst and offering some information, too, with the following. From the network, to you:

Encouraged by the Red Wedding slaughter in the Riverlands that wiped out many of their Stark nemeses, the Lannisters’ hold on the Iron Throne remains intact…but can they survive their own egos, as well as new and ongoing threats from the south, north and east? While an unbowed Stannis Baratheon continues to rebuild his army in Dragonstone, a more immediate danger comes from the south, as Oberyn Martell, the Lannister-loathing “Red Viper of Dorne,” arrives at King’s Landing to attend Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell, and perhaps act on an ulterior agenda. In the north, a depleted Night’s Watch seems overmatched against the inexorable Wall advances of Mance Rayder’s army of wildlings, which in turn is being trailed by an even more formidable foe: the undead White Walkers. As if that weren’t enough, Daenerys Targaryen, accompanied by her menacing trio of dragons and army of Unsullied, is poised to liberate Meereen, the largest city in Slaver’s Bay, which could ultimately provide her with enough ships to sail to Westeros and reclaim the Iron Throne.

Episode #31: “Two Swords” Debut: SUNDAY, APRIL 6 (9-10 p.m. ET/PT) Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) welcomes a guest to King’s Landing. At Castle Black, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) finds himself unwelcome. Dany (Emilia Clarke) is pointed to Meereen, the mother of all slave cities. Arya (Maisie Williams) runs into an old friend. Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss; directed by D. B. Weiss.

Episode #32: “The Lion and the Rose” Debut: SUNDAY, APRIL 13 (9-10 p.m.) Tyrion lends Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) a hand. Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and Margaery (Natalie Dormer) host a breakfast. At Dragonstone, Stannis (Stephen Dillane) loses patience with Davos (Liam Cunningham). Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) finds a purpose for his pet. North of the Wall, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) sees where they must go. Written by George R.R. Martin; directed by Alex Graves.

Episode #33: “Breaker of Chains” Debut: SUNDAY, APRIL 20 (9-10 p.m.) Tyrion ponders his options. Tywin (Charles Dance) extends an olive branch. Sam (John Bradley) realizes Castle Black isn’t safe, and Jon proposes a bold plan. The Hound (Rory McCann) teaches Arya the way things are. Dany chooses her champion. Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss; directed by Alex Graves.

Episode #34: “Oathkeeper” Debut: SUNDAY, APRIL 27 (9-10 p.m.) Dany balances justice and mercy. Jaime tasks Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) with his honor. Jon secures volunteers while Bran, Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Meera (Ellie Kendrick) and Hodor (Kristian Nairn) stumble on shelter. Written by Bryan Cogman; directed by Michelle MacLaren.

HBO releases 'Game of Thrones' 14-minute 4th season preview

A scene from HBO's "Game of Thrones."

(Credit: HBO)

And on this fine frigid morning, something to thaw out with: HBO Sunday delivered this gift to "Game of Thrones'" fans, an extended preview that offers what seems to be a fast-cut of the fourth season. It's not, but there is that illusion. Certainly worth the time, for "Thrones" is TV's best series, and that's a fact.

Newsday app readers, please go to newsday.com/tvzone to watch.

 

'Game of Thrones' preview on Feb. 8

2. "Game of Thrones" (HBO)

(Credit: HBO)

Now hear this all yee followers of Westeros and its denizens both natural and unnatural: HBO will air a 15-minute new season preview in a couple of weeks. The new season starts April 9. The basics of this 15-minute tease/special: 

GAME OF THRONES ICE AND FIRE: A FORESHADOWING will debut SUNDAY, FEB. 9 at 8:45 p.m. (ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, just before the debut of a new episode of “True Detective.” Offering a look back and a look forward to the fourth season of the hit HBO series, the show features clips from upcoming episodes, behind-the-scenes-footage, interviews with talent, and cast members’ answers to questions posed by fans.

 

'Game of Thrones' return date; also 'Silicon Valley'

2. "Game of Thrones" (HBO)

(Credit: HBO)

More or less right on schedule, "Game of Thrones" will be back early April - April 6, to be exact, HBO announced a little while ago. 

 Also returning that night..."Veep."

 Meanwhile this is kinda newsy: Mike Judge's new show, "Silicon Valley" will begin then too. Here's what HBO is saying about that one:

  Aso that same evening,...

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