We're just two episodes into the second season of Game of Thrones, but HBO have today announced plans to continue their critically-acclaimed small screen adaptation of George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire by renewing the award-winning show for a third season. "Series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss raised our expectations for the second season – and then surpassed them,” said Michael Lombardo, HBO's President of Programming, in a press release issued earlier today. “We are thrilled by all the viewer and media support we’ve received for the series, and can’t wait to see what Dan and David have in store for next season."
According to the press release, the new season of Game of Thrones - which adapts the second installment of Martin's series, A Clash of Kings - has already accumulated a gross audience of 8.3 million viewers and is on course to surpass the season one average of 9.3 million. Season three will likely be based upon A Storm of Swords - the longest book in the series, which was split into two volumes for its publication here in the UK.
UPDATE: George R.R. Martin has since taken to his blog to state that the producers will also split A Storm of Swords: "Like the first two seasons, [the third] will be ten episodes long. This one will cover (roughly) the first half or thereabouts of A Storm of Swords, the third novel in the series."
The second season of Game of Thrones is currently airing on HBO in North America and Sky Atlantic in the UK, with a cast that includes Golden Globe winner Peter Dinklage (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian), Michelle Fairley (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1), Lena Headey (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chroncles), Emilia Clarke (Triassic Attack), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Kingdom of Heaven), Iain Glen (Downton Abbey), Aidan Gillen (The Wire), Kit Harington (Silent Hill: Revelation), Richard Madden (Birdsong), Isaac Hempstead Wright (The Awakening), Jack Gleeson (Batman Begins) and Alfie Allen (The Kid).