[NOTE: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Game of Thrones Season 3]
Winter is (still) coming and HBO is again preparing for the return of their hit series Game of Thrones. Once a niche book series beloved by fantasy fans (but unknown to most mainstream movie and TV viewers), George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire has become an entertainment phenomenon - and one of the most anticipated TV events of each year. Breaking HBO viewing records, the network green lit season 4 of the show (to the surprise of no one) only a few short days after the season 3 premiere was viewed by over 6.7 million viewers.
Now, after a few brief snippets of new Game of Thrones footage, HBO has unveiled the first full trailer for season 4 - including a thorough look at the state of Westeros following the tumultuous events of the season 3 finale (not to mention "The Red Wedding").
The trailer centers on malevolent ruler King Joffrey who, in traditional naive fashion, claims victory over his enemies - once again taking credit for maintaining Lannister/Baratheon rule. Humbled by his experiences in season 3, resulting in the severing of his right hand, Jaime Lannister counsels his kingly "nephew" to not underestimate their opponents - ensuring Joffrey that the conflict is far from over. After all, given the death toll in the last few episodes of season 3, plenty of characters will, no doubt, be calling for Joffrey's head.
The rest of the trailer showcases the state of fan-favorite characters including Tyrion "Half-Man" Lannister, Jon Snow, and Daenerys Targaryen, among countless others - highlighting that this is not a world of black and white, since there is good and evil engrained in every side of the conflict. Fans also get their first look at "The Red Viper" Prince Oberyn Nymeros Martell (portrayed by Pedro Pascal) - seen talking to Tyrion and dueling with "The Mountain" Gregor Clegane (who was recast, again, and will be played by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson).
As fans of the books are already aware, each Game of Thrones season is not a straightforward summary of each book - and season four of the show will predominantly follow the second half of the third book, A Storm of Swords along with sections of the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons. While we won't spoil the actual events that will unfold in the upcoming slate of episodes, it's safe to say that Jon Snow actor Kit Harrington wasn't lying when he indicated that the upcoming season will be even darker and feature plenty of the heartbreaking character deaths that have shocked viewers over the prior three seasons.
Which side are you on?
Game of Thrones returns for season 4 April 6th on HBO.
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