There may still be a couple months before the new season of Game of Thrones begins, but anticipation is obviously high.
Seeing the ramp up for this show is more like watching the ramp up to a big budget film, rather than observing a network and fans prepare for a new season of a drama.
But why not? The production values, writing, and performances are all film quality, while the epic story is more compelling than the best-selling novels the show is based on.
Case-in-point - the new trailer. After months of teasers and featurettes, we’ve finally got a full-length trailer for the season, just released on the HBO Game of Thrones site - which also hosts all of those featurettes and teasers - and it’s this that really shows us where the season’s 12 episodes are going to take us. Some minor spoilers follow the video below.
If it follows the books, this season will start us off with an introduction to Stannis Baratheon, a character only talked about in the first season/book.
He becomes the third claimant to the Iron Throne along-side Daenerys and Joffrey. Baratheon is also dealing with a spiritual crisis in himself and his people - as a powerful priestess has convinced him to abandon the Seven gods, and force his people to worship a new monotheistic figure.
The story of Tyrion, a figure many fans of the show and books alike see as the closest thing the franchise has to a real protagonist, is going to continue to get more complex and interesting as he shapes up to be the most interesting and relatable figure in the wide array of characters.
Of course, the stories of Robb and Jon are also prominent in the season, as Robb continues to gather support across the north, and Jon learns what it really means to be on the wall as winter aproaches.
The first season was one of the most watched shows on television last year, which is quite a feat for a premium show, and was the most successful show on HBO ever, bringing them a glut of new subscribers who ordered up the network just to see Game of Thrones. It was this critic's favorite show of the year, and I'm looking forward to the second season more than anything else coming up. This season it will also be airing across the Atlantic on the UK premium network Sky Atlantic.
If you need to catch up from season one, HBO subscribers can watch on the HBO Go website. The second season of Game of Thrones arrives on HBO April1, 2012 and Sky Atlantic on April 2.