*SPOILERS* Game Of Thrones third season to debut on Sky Atlantic on Monday 1 April at 9pm

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Sky Atlantic has today announced that the ten-episode third season of the highly anticipated HBO fantasy saga Game Of Thrones will return to the channel on Monday 1 April at 9pm, less than 24 hours after it returns in the US. Based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling book series A Song of Ice and Fire, the Golden Globe® and Emmy®-winning drama chronicles an epic struggle for power in a vast and violent fantasy kingdom.

Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game Of Thrones redefined the fantasy genre when it launched back in April 2011, and has since garnered much critical acclaim and a raft of awards recognition, including eight Primetime Emmys®, a Golden Globe® and a Screen Actors Guild award.

The third season, which Benioff and Weiss have called “the season that have been anticipating from the very beginning”, will largely be based on the first half of George RR Martin’s hugely popular novel A Storm of Swords, which begins with the inhabitants of the Seven Kingdoms facing grave peril.

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The season will see a wealth of acting talent join the cast, such as Diana Rigg as Lady Olenna Tyrell, Mackenzie Crook as Orell, Ciarán Hinds as Wildling leader Mance Rayder, Clive Russell as Bryndon ‘The Blackfish’ Tully, Paul Kaye as Thoros of Myr and Richard Dormer as Beric Dondarrion.

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Many of the series’ familiar faces will return for season three including Michelle Fairley, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Aidan Gillen, Iain Glen, Kit Harington, Richard Madden, Maisie Williams, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Sophie Turner, Jack Gleeson, Alfie Allen and Peter Dinklage, who won an Emmy® and a Golden Globe® for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister.

The creators have recently confirmed that they’ll be even more Game Of Thrones this year, with each episode running close to an hour long. Benioff explained: “A super-sized season, as befitting Storm of Swords. Last year we had a lot of 52-minute episodes. This year is a lot of 56, 57.”

Game Of Thrones returns on Monday 1 April at 9pm to Sky Atlantic.

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