Fans of George R.R. Martin’s bestselling fantasy series A Song Of Ice And Fire, live in breathless anticipation of news about HBO’s upcoming television series based on the novels. The show, which is in production now in Northern Ireland, is titled after the first book in the series A Game Of Thrones, now named simply, Game Of Thrones.

Today, we’ve got new photos and information to tide those eager fans over until the show debuts next year.

In case you are not familiar, here is the synopsis for the Game Of Thrones series:

“The sprawling tale set in the mythical land of Westeros tells the story of the noble Stark family who become caught up in high court intrigue when patriarch Eddard (played by Sean Bean) becomes the king’s new right-hand man.”

The series is slated to debut in 2011 on HBO, and may reestablish the cable channel’s place as the premier producer of narrative television content. Other cable networks such as AMC (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead) have been sneaking up to on the Home Box Office over the last few years. Although Game Of Thrones is based upon fantasy novels, HBO will not shy away from its typical bend towards raw and “brutal realism” – the show has already been described as “the Sopranos with swords.”

Sean Bean As Lord Eddard Stark

EW had the opportunity to visit the Belfast set and provided preview images, and few brief tidbits from their trip – to tease for their full print article.

Jason Momoa (Stargate Atlantis, Conan) who plays the Dothraki chief Khal Drogo, has been tasked with learning an entirely new language for his character – as have all the actors who will play his countrymen. The language was created by the “Language Creation Society,” and according to executive producer D.B. Weiss “It’s better than Klingon.” The strapping actor reports that he will also appear “naked in furs,” in fact he says “I think I’m naked more than I talk.” So, there will either be limited use of the invented language, or ample use of Momoa’s abs, it seems.

The book series was originally being considered for a film adaptation, but the epic scale seemed best suited for a television series.

Co-showrunner David Benioff says:

“To do the first book even as a three-hour movie, you’d have to cut 90 percent of it. I’m used to adapting books, and sometimes you have to be ruthless, but in this case we loved all the storylines and the characters. We weren’t interested in that kind of mutilation. So the only way to do this would be as a series.”

D.B. Weiss assures fans that George R.R. Martin is heavily involved in the creation of the series, “It’s a lot of late-night emails. George watches all the casting videos and tells us who he likes.” The author also wrote the eighth episode – and was on the set for the filming of the pilot episode.

There has been some worry over the casting of comedic actor Mark Addy (The Full Monty) as the ruthlessly power hungry King Robert, but the actor feels that, although fans have been reluctant to embrace this casting choice, they will be pleased with the final result.

“There was talk like ‘Why are they turning the king into a clown?’ because I’ve been in funny stuff before. But I think once they see it, the fans will love this.”

Take a look at some of the sneak peak set images below:

Mark Addy As King Robert

Emilia Clarke As Daenerys Targaryen

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau As Jamie Lannister

Peter Dinklage As Tyrion Lannister (The Imp)

Lena Headey As Queen Cersei Baratheon

For more set images head over to EW Online.

The producers of the show want to assure fans that this series will be accessible to both fantasy fans, and non-fans alike, saying “it’s not about unicorns and sorcerers. There’s magic in this, but it’s on the fringes.”

As a fantasy fan who has great hopes for this promising series, I believe their assertion will prove true. The talent behind this adaptation, combined with the richness of the source material, could prove to be a great success. Though, we will have to wait until next year to be certain, all that we have seen and heard so far foretells of a most auspicious future for Game Of Thrones.

Game Of Thrones is set to premiere on HBO in 2011 and stars Sean Bean, Lena Heady, Peter Dinklage, Ian Glen and Harry Lloyd.

Source: EW

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