Season 4 of HBO's hit fantasy series Game of Thrones will return in less than three months, and as the premiere approaches, the promotional material has been released at a steady clip. On the heels of several very brief snippets of footage, season 4's first full-length trailer promised more of the intrigue, drama and action we've come to expect from the troubles in Westeros.
The first three seasons have more or less followed the plot of the source material, George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books, albeit with plenty of character composites and story streamlining - many of which are decided improvements. Season 4 will mark a big departure from the books, however, and will incorporate elements of the fifth book, "A Dance With Dragons," along with book four, "A Feast For Crows."
Now, HBO has unveiled a behind the scenes look at the making of Season 4, which is a massive undertaking indeed. Check out the video above. As production designer Deborah Riley says:
"Not only do you have nearly 600 script pages, but you've got six different directors and five different DPs. And you've got nineteen weeks of shoots using two parallel units. It is madness!"
Despite the scale of this production - filmed in four countries over 180 days of shooting - it remains, in the words of Iain Glenn (Jorah Mormont), "A brilliantly well-oiled machine."
The video contains some very tantalizing glimpses of some of next season's key moments. Those who have read the books will be able to recognize them, but we wouldn't dream of spoiling them here. This brief look may be less than two minutes long, but still feels remarkably generous. Watch closely and you'll catch a glimpse of new cast member Pedro Pascal (as "The Red Viper of Dorne") joining Lord Tywin (Charles Dance) at court, the Red Viper's duel with Gregor "The Mountain Who Rides" Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson), a night-time shoot of what appears to be an army of wildlings on the attack, and a momentary look at "The Purple Wedding."
The stars of the show praise this next season, with Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) calling the scripts for this season his favorite, by far. Dinklage says this is true for all the characters' stories, not just his. According to Dinklage: "You don't have it figured out, and you think you do."
As Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) has promised, season 4 will see a whole lot of characters die, and without getting into spoilery specifics, the aftermath of "The Red Wedding" sees some of the major characters making many bold, game-changing decisions which forever alter the landscape of power in this universe.
Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have consistently proven that their love of Martin's books and sharp story instincts have resulted in three seasons of a show which has crystallized the themes of the books into lean and powerful television. We eagerly await the changes they have made to the storyline, and the promise of surprises for even long-time readers of A Song of Ice and Fire.
Game of Thrones Season 4 returns April 6th, 2014 on HBO.