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HBO has ordered the pilot plus nine episodes of Game of Thrones, the highly anticipated television series based on George R.R. Martin’s bestselling A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels.
Production begins in June in Belfast, with the series set to debut on the cable network in spring 2011.
From the moment the rights to the novels were sold to HBO in January 2007, many doubted whether a sprawling fantasy could ever make it to television. As recently as Monday, Martin himself expressed doubts as to whether the network would greenlight the show.
“From the start of this, I’ve told myself, ‘Don’t get too emotionally invested in this, or you will be devastated if it doesn’t go’,” Martin wrote on his blog. “Wise words, those. I’m a smart guy. But easier said than done. I’ve failed. I am totally emotionally invested, and if HBO does indeed decide to pass, for whatever reason, I will be gutted.”
Debuting in 1996, A Song of Ice and Fire is set in mythical, medieval Westeros, a continent torn between a dynastic civil war, a threat of invasion from the north and the impending return of the rightful heir to the throne. Four of the planned seven books have been released. The Hedge Knight and The Sworn Sword, two of three novellas set in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, were adapted as comics by Dabel Brothers Productions.
The HBO series takes its name from the first novel, A Game of Thrones. The cast includes Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey.