12:11pm PT by Michael O'Connell
'Game of Thrones' Creators Discuss Book Departures, Unleash New Photos, Clips (Video)
If there were any doubts over whether or not "war is coming," HBO is dismissing them ahead of Game of Thrones' April 1 return.
The network has released new images, clips and back story on Season 2, including feedback from co-creators and executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. In talking about the next run, the duo also discuss ways in which the series is going to depart from author George R. R. Martin's source material.
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"We’re not looking at our series as a book-by-book adaptation so much as an adaptation of George’s entire saga," said Benioff. "In other words, in our minds season two is not A Clash of Kings. It is the second season of our adaptation of [series] A Song of Ice and Fire."
Not that they aren't going by the books. The duo mention that, if they do get additional seasons, the novels will be executed in different fashions. A Sword of Storms, at 973 hardcover pages, won't fit into just one season, and A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons will likely be lumped together, as their time frames overlap.
"Fans of the books will obviously have more of a line into events, but we’re taking approaches that might surprise them as well," said Weiss. "A lot of the characters that George created are so rich and so wonderful that you often find yourself wondering what would happen if this one met that one: When Robb [Richard Madden] finds himself alone with Jaime [Nikolaj Coster-Waldau], for instance, what do they say? And we’ve been blessed with such fabulous, talented actors that you really find yourself just wanting to write more and more for them, to explore the characters that they’re making their own."
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As for Season 2, Benioff and Weiss confirm that it's still very much about the death of Ned Stark (Sean Bean).
"This season is largely about how Ned Stark’s death leads to a series of events that ultimately culminate in a war, pulling all the different factions in this world into open-armed conflict with each other," said Weiss. "Almost every character is directly affected by the war in some way or another -- even Jon Snow [Kit Harington] and Daenerys Targaryen [Emilia Clarke], who are on far different corners of the world, feel the effects of the events that spring from Ned’s death."
And just because Daenerys now has three dragons in her army does not mean that she'll be making any power plays early in the season. Clarke, Benioff and Weiss discuss the character's dire circumstances in a new 22-minute featurette from HBO, "You Win or You Die."
Watch it below for a crash course in Season 1 and a generous helping of what's ahead and take a look at all the new images in THR's Game of Thrones Season 2 gallery.