HBO fantasy series "Game of Thrones" returned for its fourth season Sunday with blockbuster ratings, prompting the network to pick up the show for not one, but two additional seasons.
The two-year renewal is the first multi-season pickup for "GoT" throughout its run, which it earned thanks to its record-breaking viewership numbers Sunday night. It was the most-watched episode of the series so far, with 6.6 million viewers (up from the 4.4 million who watched the season three premiere), and the second most-watched episode of any HBO show ever (coming in behind the "Sopranos" series finale, which brought in 11.9 million viewers in 2007).
"'Game Of Thrones' is a phenomenon like no other," said HBO programming president Michael Lombardo in a statement. "(Creators) 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."
While this move assures there will be at least six seasons of the show, it may cause more panic among fans who are already worried about the glacial pace at which author George R.R. Martin is writing the books on which the series is based. But as Deadline points out, the series is just now starting to cover events that happen toward the end of book three, and Martin is currently finishing book six of the planned seven. So he has a bit of breathing room before the show starts to catch up. (Though not much.)
Here's to many more seasons of preparing for winter. (It's coming, in case you haven't heard.)