Eager to please a ravenous fanbase, HBO is no slouch in providing tantalizing information on upcoming seasons of its hit television. This is especially true of Game of Thrones, which has had a history of steadily releasing teasers, featurettes, and production diaries in the run-up to each new season.

Already amping up the hype for season 3, Game of Thrones has released a new video that looks inside the sprawling production of the series. Amid short interviews with showrunners and stars, one can glimpse people and events that will be central to the fantasy series’ third outing.

Kicked off by creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the Game of Thrones preview highlights the sets and locations where season 3 is currently being shot. With a tone that ranges from nervous to enthusiastic, the two showrunners acknowledge that this season will be critical for the advancement of the overall series.

As with the previous two seasons, Game of Thrones‘ creators continue to choose breathtaking backdrops on which to shoot. Showing off locations in Ireland, Iceland, and Morocco, this preview confirms that the show will continue to impress with its eye for bringing the source material to life.

Interspersed with these looks at the setting of season 3 are a number of familiar faces. Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) chats with Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer). Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) sports the one trophy he brought back from the Battle of Blackwater Bay – a nasty facial scar. Robb Stark (Richard Madden) appears to be having a tough time talking to his mother, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley). Across the world, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) looks to be in the market for the slave soldiers known as the Unsullied.

Perhaps the most exciting elements of the preview are the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpses of new characters – some of whom are quite familiar to longtime readers of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Of particular note is Ciarán Hinds (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) as Mance Rayder, the fearsome King Beyond the Wall. The preview also contains looks at Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), the burning sword-wielding Baeric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer), slave-turned-handmaiden Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), and Lady Olenna Tyrell – also known as the Queen of Thorns (Diana Rigg).

These sorts of previews are pure hype-bait for fans, but it’s hard to argue with how well the production is looking. Benioff and Weiss have made few missteps in the two seasons they have headed Game of Thrones, and at this point, viewers can more or less give them the benefit of the doubt. Judging from the images coming from the production of season 3, we may not even need to give them that.

Game of Thrones season 3 will premiere on March 31st, 2013.