Thursday turned out to be a huge day for fans of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire, first with the news that the long-awaited fifth novel in the series will finally be published on July 12 and then with the debut of the first full-length trailer for HBO’s adaptation Game of Thrones.
If you’re not a devotee of Martin’s series, a release date for the next novel, A Dance With Dragons, may not seem like a big deal. But consider that the last book, A Feast For Crows, was published in November 2005, meaning we’ll have waited almost six years — something for which the author has received no small amount of grief. (Read Neil Gaiman’s now-legendary “George R.R. Martin is not your bitch” commentary for a terrific take on the fan entitlement issues infusing many criticisms of the author.)
But even if you’ve never opened one of Martin’s books, you can still get excited for that fantastic new trailer for HBO’s upcoming series, which has been described as “The Sopranos with swords.” Game of Thrones is set primarily on the mythical medieval continent of Westeros, whose seven ancient kingdoms are torn between a dynastic civil war, a threat of invasion from the North and the impending return of the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Here’s the official synopsis from HBO:
GAME OF THRONES follows kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and noblemen as they vie for power. As the series opens, King Robert Baratheon, who is married to Cersei Lannister of the wealthy and corrupt Lannisters, asks Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark to come south and help run his kingdom after the questionable death of his right-hand man. Meanwhile, there is a threat to the throne from the east by the exiled teenage Princess Daenerys and her brother Viserys, whose family ruled the Kingdoms for many years before their bloody ouster. And there are rumors of strange things happening at the edges of the Kingdoms, north of the Wall, where Jon Snow, Ned’s bastard son, goes to be part of the brotherhood of the Night’s Watch, which is sworn to protect the Kingdoms.
The 10-episode first season of Game of Thrones debuts on April 17.
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