Ready to return to Westeros? Seven months have passed since the devastating, game-changing climax to HBO's Game of Thrones' third season, and in the interim, fans have no doubt been on the lookout for word regarding the fourth season's premiere (as well as any hints of new teasers and images from the series' next installment). The balance of power has tilted, irrevocably altering the kingdom's political and military landscapes while leaving audiences patiently waiting to find out what's going to happen next as the story unfolds - and when.
But they need wait no longer: HBO has released the official air date for Game of Thrones season four, as well as a selection of five Vines that capture footage from the season's first trailer, which should be released in full on Sunday evening. In the meantime, viewers will be happy to know that they'll be able to enjoy their favorite sword-and-sorcery fantasy epic come April 6th, 2014, at the 9:00 PM (EST) time slot - good news for ardent followers of the program and George R.R. Martin's original novels (which serve as the basis for Game of Thrones' narrative).
The air date and news about the trailer come to us courtesy of a pair of Tweets from TV Guide; the Vines, on the other hand, are courtesy of IO9, and though they're each quite short individually (no more than five or six seconds apiece, meaning that they total to only about a half a minute in tandem), they provide a serious anticipatory jolt nonetheless. With the massive changes that season three wrought in its penultimate and ultimate episodes, the narrative has unexpectedly (and tragically) opened up in big ways; while no specifics are touched on in any of these, they're still pretty suggestive, so beware if you want to stay pure.
In the first clip, we're treated to the sight of Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) being led off in chains by the Gold Cloaks:
In the next, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) drawing steel against what appear to be Wildling foes (including Tormund Giantsbane):
Meanwhile, this third bit shows off nothing more than a shot of Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) looking contemplative as Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) observes in the background:
This sequence, on the other hand, showcases comparatively more action as two armed and armored men clash with one another in an arena:
And, to top it all off, a brief glimpse of battle being met on horseback in cold, snow-covered woods:
Sunday night probably feels like a long way off after watching each of those Vines, forget about April 6th; even when there's nothing happening within their minute time-frame, they speak to a promise of things to come. For those who haven't read Martin's books, guessing as to what might be happening in each of these should be pretty fun, though long-time veterans of the franchise can probably suss out the meaning behind all five without much difficulty. (For the sake of non-readers, we'll hold back on details.)
And as if that wasn't enough, the logo for season four is also up for viewing. Honestly, there's not much going on here at all - just the title and the premiere date - but it's low-key facade and its part in promoting the new season warrants its inclusion nevertheless:
Where will Game of Thrones end up after this go-round? Between rumors of further character deaths, the much-discussed Purple Wedding, and cast guarantees that season four will differ greatly from Martin's texts, it's anyone's guess, but the possibilities, for now, are endless. Given how exciting these previews are, the full trailer should prove to be even more so; we'll see on Sunday what else HBO has in store going forward from here.
Game of Thrones Season 4 begins airing on April 6th, 2014.