US subscription network HBO has commissioned a third series of fantasy drama Game of Thrones, following impressive figures for its series two opener.
Almost 4 million viewers tuned in to watch the first episode when it screened in America - the best result for the network in months - while its success was replicated in this country with a creditable overnight audience of more than 500,000 on satellite channel Sky Atlantic.
Michael Lombardo, president of HBO programming, said: "Series creators David Benioff and DB Weiss raised our expectations for the second season – and then surpassed them."
He added: “We are thrilled by all the viewer and media support we’ve received for the series, and can’t wait to see what Dan and David have in store for next season.”
If the series continues to follow the progression of George RR Martin's source novels, season three will be based on A Storm of Swords, the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Read a guide to the new characters in Game of Thrones series two