Game of Thrones is known for its rich cast of characters, its intricate political and interpersonal storylines, and for costing a lot of money to make. Each episode has a budget of around $6 million, far higher than the average for television, but the ambition of the show has certainly paid off when it comes to ratings.
Creating the many locations among Westeros and Essos is no mean feat and requires a combination of heavy-duty set-building and location shoots in far-flung places ranging from Morocco to Iceland. Production designer Deborah Riley took over from Gemma Jackson for Game of Thrones season 4, and was tasked with maintaining the visual style of the world that had already been established in earlier seasons.
In a new behind-the-scenes featurette for Game of Thrones, Riley discusses the enormous scale and momentum of the show and the work that went into creating the 105 sets that were required for the upcoming season.
Watch the featurette closely for an early look at Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) in the role of debt-collector Tycho Nestoris and to get a sneak peek at what the other characters are up to in their respective story arcs. Daenerys Targaryen is seen seated on a throne (though not an iron one), and the "Purple Wedding" of Joffrey Baratheon to Margaery Tyrell is also glimpsed in all its finery and splendor.
Game of Thrones' third season saw its share of calamity and war, and season 4 will continue to follow the various forces and leaders vying for control of King's Landing and the Iron Throne. Arguably the most powerful at the moment is Daenerys' army of Unsullied, Second Sons and freed slaves, not to mention her three dragons. There's also a horde of White Walkers and wights descending from the North, and they'll be arriving hot on the heels of Mance Rayder and the wildlings.
It would be nice to think that season 4 of Game of Thrones will bring nothing but peace and love to the Seven Kingdoms, but we wouldn't bet good money on that happening.
Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 6, 2014.