HBO renews ‘Game of Thrones’ for season 5 & 6

Yesterday, HBO announced that the “Game of Thrones” season 4 premiere was the pay cable channel’s highest-rated show since “The Sopranos” series finale. Today, in the least shocking news ever, HBO announced that “Game of Thrones” had been renewed for two additional seasons, which will take the show at least through a season six.

“‘Game of Thrones’ is a phenomenon like no other,” HBO president Michael Lombardo said in the announcement. “David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with their talented collaborators, continue to surpass themselves, and we look forward to more of their dazzling storytelling.”

This was inevitable, given that Lombardo, Richard Plepler, Benioff, Weiss and George R.R. Martin have all been saying that the show is meant to run for many years, and at times the next season has been in the process of being written even before a formal renewal announcement was made.

There remains the elephant in the room of whether Martin will finish the sixth and seventh books in the series before the show catches up with him. He’s told Benioff and Weiss roughly what will happen in the remaining books, and I can’t imagine HBO will be willing to sit around and wait for him to finish, so we could reach a point where the story on the show starts spoiling the story in the books, rather than the other way around. When I did an email interview with Benioff and Weiss before this season, they said at one point that “we’ve passed what we see as the halfway point.” With no follow-up questions, I couldn’t clarify whether that meant they saw the end of season 4 as the halfway point (which would mean 8 seasons), or if season 4 was starting the second half of the series (which would mean this renewal will take us to the end of the show), but I gather there is still a lot more story to tell even with what Martin has already published.

So “Game of Thrones” will continue for many years to come. Enjoy.