I'm not much of a fantasy reader myself (I hone closer to sci-fi more often than not), but a lot of my friends are. When I told them that HBO had ordered a pilot for a potential series based on George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones novel series, I'm pretty sure each one of them tried to hide a geekgasm. I shudder at the thought of how they'll feel now that HBO has now gone beyond the pilot and ordered a full 10-episode first season for the long-term hopeful.
The plan is to begin filming the series this June with a premiere date some time next spring. Though Martin himself has a history of TV writing (he has a few Twilight Zone episodes under his belt and was also a producer/writer on Beauty and the Beast), show duties will reside with David Benioff and Dan Weiss. The goal is to turn each of Martin's books into a single season, which currently gives Benioff and Weiss four season's worth of material to work with if the show does well.
HBO has released the first still from the pilot, which you can glimpse above, but if you head over to The Hollywood Reporter you can find a much larger version of the picture as well as a few more details on the series. THR also has this handy face-to-name casting chart of who all the recurring characters are and who will be playing them, so if you're a fan of the novels give it a glance to see if HBO has done right by what you envisioned or if you fear TV will soon have another Legend of the Seeker travesty on its hands.