Sure, the 'Game of Thrones' season 3 premiere may have garnered about a third of 'The Walking Dead' season 3 finale's viewers, but "Valar Dohaeris" still boasted an all-time high for HBO the network won't soon forget. In perhaps its least shocking decision yet, HBO has officially renewed 'Game of Thrones' for a fourth season, to begin airing in 2014. Find out what's on course for 'Game of Thrones' season 4 inside!

Good news, 'Game of Thrones' fans! The earth is still round, the sun appears to remain shining in the sky (for the next few minutes, anyway), and 'Game of Thrones' will indeed return for season 4. Sunday's premiere event garnered 4.4 million viewers in its initial run, beating the previous season 2 finale "Valar Morghulis," and setting an all-time high for HBO.

Of course, cast and crew had already begun plotting and drumming up buzz for a fourth season, making the official renewal all but a foregone conclusion. The fourth season of HBO's monster drama will cover the second half of series author George R.R. Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' novel "A Storm of Swords," pulling in elements of additional books as with the current season.

Full details have yet to be announced, but consider it likely that 'Game of Thrones' season 4 will consist of the same ten episodes its previous seasons occupied, if not with running times somewhat extended.

What say you? Are you glad, or at all surprised that 'Game of Thrones' will return for season 4? What did you think of the premiere? Declare your allegiance in the comments below, after the clip from next Sunday's "Dark Wings, Dark Words!"