In case you've been living under a rock in a cave on Mars with your fingers in your ears for the past two years, 'Game of Thrones' is a popular television series.  So popular in fact, that I swear this news had already happened, but it looks like we'll be returning to Westeros at least once more in 2013.  Huzzah!

Issuing an official press release, HBO announced today that they've reached a deal to bring their current flagship hit 'Game of Thrones' back for a third season in 2013, with the current season set to end in late May.  Having only aired two episodes of the current season, season two premiere "The North Remembers" has already earned a gross audience of around 8.3 million viewers, on track to surpass the season one average of 9.3 million.

The news of course is rather expected given the show's popularity and critical acclaim, but HBO president Michael Lombardo issued the release, saying, “Series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss raised our expectations for the second season – and then surpassed them. 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.”

Interestingly, it had long been rumored that HBO might pick up 'Game of Thrones' for a third and fourth season simultaneously, as interviews with Benioff, Weiss and series creator George R.R. Martin suggested that Martin's third book "A Storm of Swords" might be too large to adapt into a single season.  However, no reason exists why a fourth season wouldn't move forward a year from now anyway.  Currently, 'Game of Thrones' season 2 adapts its narrative from Martin's second book, "A Clash of Kings."

I seriously thought this had already happened, but how do you react to 'Game of Thrones' early season 3 pickup?  Have the first two episodes of the current season lived up to the hype?  Tell us what you most want to see the series adapt in the comments below!

In other words, free Joffrey slaps for everyone!