HBO released the latest teaser trailer for the highly-anticipated Game of Thrones miniseries last night. The show won’t premier until 2011, but you can now see sixty seconds of sword-swinging, head-chopping, medieval action.

As Screen Rant said in our preview last week, Game of Thrones is HBO’s latest foray into high-profile, big-budget TV series after receiving some serious competition from Showtime and AMC. Aside from the long-running True Blood and newcomer Boardwalk Empire, the once and future king of cable TV isn’t taking the task of creating high-profile original programming lightly at the moment.

Based on the incredibly popular Song of Ice and Fire novel series by George R. R. Martin, (A Game of Thrones is the title of the first book in the series), the story takes place in the fictional medieval kingdom of Westeros. The Stark family (no relation, Marvel fans) is thrust into the subtly vicious world of nobility after Eddard (Sean Bean, The Lord of the Rings) becomes the “Hand of the King,” a monarch’s second in command.

The book series focuses on seven Houses across various kingdoms. The novels are so sprawling and diverse that TV writers will have to pick and choose their stories if TV audiences are to keep up. For reference, the four books published so far total over 3,000 pages, and there are another three novels Martin has yet to write. Considering how much the movie adaptations of the  Harry Potter novels (around 4,000 pages) have had to leave out, Game of Thrones could go on for ten seasons without grasping the width and breadth of its source material.

Check out the new Game of Thrones trailer below:

It’s clear from the trailer that producers aren’t holding anything back: the set design, costumes, and cinematography are all at or near the quality expected of a summer tentpole movie. Casting seems hit or miss: while Sean Bean has cut his teeth on fantasy and period pieces, other cast members will need to dazzle in the first few episodes to win over skeptical fans of the novels.

The character of King Baratheon is played by Mark Addy, whose previous highlights include comic relief in A Knight’s Tale, Robin Hood and The Full Monty. His previous lowlights include The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas. Iain Glenn (Resident Evil: Extinction) and Harry Lloyd (BBC’s Robin Hood TV series) are veterans of UK television and movies. Readers will recognize Lena Headey from leading roles in 300 and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Peter Dinklage from half the little person movie roles of the last five years – though his part in the UK version of Death at a Funeral was particularly good.

Game of Thrones premiers in 2011 on HBO. Check Screen Rant for more news and sneak peeks as the series comes closer to its debut.

Source: HBO