HBO has ordered two more seasons of smash hit Game of Thrones, meaning the story will continue on for a few more years. Season four only just started this past Sunday, but the premium cable channel is already setting its sights on the future—and for good reason, too. The show has been immensely popular since debuting back in 2011, with the season 3 finale reaching over 5 million viewers. It’s also incredibly popular in pirating circles.
Seeing as the Game of Thrones series is based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, HBO certainly has plenty more content to use. There are five novels in Martin’s saga, with two more promised to come in the future; the show’s third and current seasons are based on Martin’s third novel in the saga, Storm of Swords.
“Game of Thrones is a phenomenon like no other,” said Michael Mobardo, president of HBO programming. “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.”
The premier of season 4 racked up an average of 6.6 million views, making it HBO’s most-watched program since the finale of The Sopranos in 2007—that final episode, however, managed to rack up almost 12 million viewers. As noted by IGN, the creators of the hit show envision Game of Thrones to continue on for seven or eight seasons, so the renewal is really no surprise.