Winter is coming. So is a second season of Game of Thrones.
HBO has a lot of faith in its newest series, giving the green light to a sophomore season just two days after the series premiere aired Sunday night.
According to Alan Sepinwall, the network made the decision because (or in spite of) a good-but-not-great opening audience of 2.2 million viewers.
Game of Thrones did pick up an additional two million viewers in later airings, for a strong 4.2 million total - one HBO is confident will grow with time.
Boardwalk Empire, by contrast, premiered to a staggering 7.1 million viewers last year (and was similarly picked up for a second season immediately).
That had the benefit of being plugged all summer during True Blood, however, while GoT was preceded by Mildred Pierce and the concluding Big Love.
True Blood, for what it's worth, debuted to 1.4 million viewers, yet stands as the network's biggest hit heading into its fourth season this summer.
Another factor? The huge production cost to get it off the ground makes greater fiscal sense if HBO can amortize it over multiple years of the show.
You know the old saying. In the ratings game, you win or you die. We're glad Game of Thrones was declared a winner, at least for two seasons.