Based on the bestselling fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, the HBO drama series is set in a fantasy world charting the rise and fall of several families in a brutal political landscape.
Season one launched on 18 April 2011 on Sky Atlantic HD, just a day after its US premiere.
Brainchild of BAFTA award nominee David Benioff (The Kite Runner), the first series featured Sean Bean, Lena Headey, Mark Addy, Peter Dinklage and Jason Momoa (the new Conan) among others.
Game of Thrones averaged 743,000 viewers for its inaugural episode, beating Sky Atlantic’s previous highest audience to date: 428,000 viewers for Martin Scorsese’s Boardwalk Empire, and quickly gaining a massive following in the UK.
On 14 July 2011 Game of Thrones was nominated for thirteen Emmy awards, including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Peter Dinklage as the dwarf Tyrion Lannister).
Just two days after its US launch Game of Thrones was commissioned for a second series, much to the relief of UK viewers, already seduced by the show’s high-budget production and complex storylines.
Much like the genre in novel form, fantasy productions often leave loose ends trailing and Game of Thrones was no exception, with the final episode of season one, Fire and Blood, raising more questions than it answered.
Clamouring for more, viewers have been eagerly awaiting news of season two, for which casting began in May 2011.
Season two will star Gwendoline Christie, Liam Cunningham, Oliver Ford Davies and Stephan Dillane among its stellar cast.
Filming for season two started this month, with reports of a return to the stunning coastline at Downhill beach, in County Antrim, Ireland.
It looks as though fans can expect the same lavish attention to set design; forums are awash with rumours of incredible statues spied on the beaches, and tweeted photos of the stars in make-up.
Season two will introduce new characters from George R. R. Martin’s series whilst continuing the sagas of the families from season one.
It is believed that filming will remain based in Ireland, with indoor scenes shot in Belfast as they were for season one, and fans of special effects will be glad to know that season two relies on some pretty Gucci techniques for some of the episodes.
The second season will be based on the next book in George R. R. Martin’s series, A Clash of Kings.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and unfortunately epic fantasy worlds aren’t either, so avid Games of Thrones viewers will have to wait until next year before the new series airs.
Given the producer’s commitment to making the show quickly accessible to viewers outside the US, we’re confident Sky Atlantic won’t keep their UK fans waiting too long.