HBO renews ‘Game of Thrones’ for fifth, sixth seasons

April 08, 2014 | 11:56 a.m.
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Arya (Maisie Williams) and the Hound (Rory McCann) meet some unexpected travelers. (Helen Sloan/HBO)

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Meera (Ellie Kendrick), Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Hodor (Kristian Nairn) on their way to the sacred tree. (Helen Sloan/HBO)

760005 got 409 cut l pub 09 01 HBO renews Game of Thrones for fifth, sixth seasons

A scene from "The Watchers on the Wall," the ninth episode of Season 4 of HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan/HBO)

760005 got 409 cut l pub 05 01 HBO renews Game of Thrones for fifth, sixth seasons

A scene from "The Watchers on the Wall," the ninth episode of Season 4 of HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan/HBO)

760005 got 409 cut l pub 04 01 HBO renews Game of Thrones for fifth, sixth seasons

A scene from "The Watchers on the Wall," the ninth episode of Season 4 of HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan/HBO)

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Rose Leslie as Ygritte and Kit Harington as Jon Snow in HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan/HBO)

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Oberyn (Pedro Pascal) and the Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) in battle. (Macall B. Polay / HBO)

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Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) speaks harshly to her once-trusted adviser Jorah (Iain Glen) while Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) looks on. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) rewards his bastard son Ramsay (Iwan Rheon). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) sits on the Iron Throne as judge at Tyrion's trial. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) advises his brother (Peter Dinklage). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) is crowned king by the High Septon (Paul Bentley). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Arya (Maisie Williams) shows the Hound (Rory McCann) her sword-fighting moves. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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The lead mutineer (Burn Gorman) threatens Bran's friends (Ellie Kendrick and Thomas Brodie-Sangster). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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The Lannisters pay their respects to the fallen King Joffrey. With Lena Headey, Dean-Charles Chapman, Jack Gleeson and Charles Dance. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) to the supposed rescue of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

759999 got403 101113 hs dsc846411 HBO renews Game of Thrones for fifth, sixth seasons

Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) gives Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) a lesson on his power. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Natalie Dormer in Sunday's episode of "Game of Thrones," "The Lion and the Rose," written by George R.R. Martin.

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Natalie Dormer and Gwendoline Christie in a scene from "Game of Thrones." (Macall B. Polay / HBO)

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Jacob Anderson and Nathalie Emmanuel in a scene from "Game of Thrones." (Macall B. Polay / HBO)

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Michiel Huisman, Nathalie Emmanuel and Emilia Clarke in a scene from "Game of Thrones." (Macall B. Polay / HBO)

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage in a scene from "Game of Thrones." (Neil Davidson / HBO)

HBO’s breakout hit fantasy series “Game of Thrones” will get a fifth and sixth season, the cable network announced Tuesday.

The Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning show, based on George R.R. Martin’s bestselling “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series, kicked off its fourth season Sunday evening to record-breaking ratings. About 6.6 million viewers tuned in to watch the episode, giving HBO its best numbers since 2007′s series finale of “The Sopranos” and crashing HBO Go, the network’s online streaming service.

D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, creators of HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan / HBO)

D.B. Weiss, left, and David Benioff, creators of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Michael Lombardo, president of HBO programming, called the series “a phenomenon like no other” in the renewal announcement Tuesday, praising series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for “their dazzling storytelling.”

The lavish series, primarily set on a fictional continent called Westeros, chronicles the intrigue, treachery and power lust of warring families who seek to rule from the Iron Throne. Inspired by 15th century England’s Wars of the Roses, the tale also weaves in elements of fantasy, including dragons, zombie-like creatures called White Walkers and strange and powerful gods that manifest in trees, fire and darkness.

The current season is based on the events of the latter half of Martin’s third book in the series, “A Storm of Swords,” as well as some events in the fourth and fifth tomes, “A Feast for Crows” and “A Dance With Dragons,” which largely take place concurrently.

The fifth and sixth seasons could surpass Martin’s books chronologically; his forthcoming sixth and seventh book installments — “The Winds of Winter” and “A Dream of Spring” –  in the planned seven-part series are still being written, with no publication date as yet announced.

The “Game of Thrones” creators, however, are not taking steps to slow the series’ pace or delay the point at which they arrive at the end of the narrative Martin has planned, they told Hero Complex’s Gina McIntyre in an interview.

“I think that would be what kills the show, if we succumbed to that kind of pressure and tried to stretch it out to make it last for longer than it should last,” Benioff said.

Instead, they’ve met with Martin to discuss his plans for each character and are currently writing scripts for the show’s fifth season.

As for the current season, they said fans can expect more carnage as the series narrows its focus.

“It’s been expanding for so long. [Now] we’re starting to get to the place where it will contract,” Benioff said. “Characters will get killed off, characters who have never met before start to come together, and this massive world that George Martin created in his books is now going to start to become slightly less massive.”

– Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark | Google+

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