Shadows Fall Over Westeros in This New Game of Thrones Season 2 Trailer

April 1st isn't as far away as it seems, but for anxious Game of Thrones fans, HBO has released a solid minute of footage from the show's upcoming second season. In the opening seconds, keep your eyes peeled for appearances by several of this season's new characters: Stannis Baratheon, Lady Melisandre, and Balon Greyjoy.

This trailer gives me all of the evidence I need to believe that season two will eclipse its predecessor. After all, in a bit of serendipity, fans of the novels have had who is arguably their favorite character portrayed by the show's most talented actor.

I'm speaking, of course, of Peter Dinklage and his Emmy award-winning performance as Tyrion Lannister. He's a favorite of the television audience now as well, and without spoiling anything, I can promise you that the littlest Lannister will have plenty of moments to shine.

But don't be so quick to assume that showrunners Benioff and Weiss will turn Game of Thrones into The Tyrion Hour. One clue this trailer provided is that Jack Gleeson is really growing into the role of Joffrey Baratheon. I'm pissed off at him right now, and he's a fictional character. It's always hard in deciding what content from the novels should stay and what should go, but I would be surprised if any of Joffrey's moments are left out.

The only thing that's not certain is how far into A Clash of Kings this season will carry us. My personal favorite block of reading comprises the second half of this novel, straight through the first half of A Storm of Swords, so as far as the source material is concerned, there's nowhere to go but up for this show.

The clock is ticking down now, and you've got about two months to reserve your spot on the couch of some friend who actually has HBO (or make a new friendship that will last at least 12 weeks). In the meantime, I'll leave you with a laugh. Over the weekend, geek comedy musicians Paul & Storm debuted a new George R R Martin-themed song on their Wootstock tour. This is a bit of shakycam footage, but don't worry, the lyrics are the important part and you can hear those just fine.