It's the year of "Game of Thrones" Season 4, but what else does 2014 have to offer for eager fans of George R.R. Martin's epic saga? In 2013 we not only got the jaw-dropping "Game of Thrones" Season 3, but several companion books were also released. Notably, the novella "The Princess and the Queen" explored a new area of Targaryen backstory, going back even further than Martin's Dunk & Egg books. 2014 is going to be a big year for fans of HBO's "Game of Thrones," and readers of George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" might be in for some fun stuff as well.
Here are five of the things we are most excited for this year:
5. Free "Game of Thrones" screenings at George R.R. Martin's private cinema
We'd probably put this higher on the list if it weren't region-specific; luckily for the New Mexico residents and not-so-luckily for everyone else, Martin's private cinema Jean Cocteau is located in Santa Fe.
One night each week starting this month, Martin will be presenting two episodes of "Game of Thrones" at a time, which will carry local fans through until the premiere of Season 4.
While he has not confirmed the dates, Martin will also be appearing at some of these screenings himself, to sign books and answer audience questions. Find out more about this unique event here.
4. The new "Game of Thrones" video game
The creators of the critically acclaimed "The Walking Dead" video game series announced last month that they are developing a similar game based on "Game of Thrones," where players can join the fray in Westeros and try to lead their House to glory.
If the first season of the "Walking Dead" game is any indication, we can expect a lengthy, intricate game with a lot of hard choices for the player that will actually change the storyline as you play through the episodes. We can't wait!
Of course, it might be a tad optimistic to expect Telltale Games to have this massive project completed and ready for public consumption in 2014, but we live in hope.
3. "The World of Ice and Fire"
This one's for the proper hardcore "A Song and of Ice and Fire" fans. George R.R. Martin has been working hard over the last few years to compile what promises to be an epic, Silmarillon-style tome laying out the history of the "Seven Kingdoms of Westeros," with artwork by Ted Nasmith.
While we already know a lot about the Targaryens from previous companion books, this book promises to tell us everything we could ever want to know about most families, and aspects of the already gargantuan world Martin has created.
This must-have volume will be released on October 28, 2014, and is co-written by Linda Antonsson and Elio Garcia.
2. A "Winds of Winter" release date?
We're cheating, because there is no way to know whether this will be the year where we learn the release date of the sixth novel in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" saga, "The Winds of Winter." But at this point, it's a pretty good guess that we'll get, if nothing else, a tentative suggestion.
The fifth book, "A Dance With Dragons," was first announced to be released two years after "A Feast for Crows," in 2007. Then the release date was pushed to 2008, then 2009, and finally, on March 3, 2011, Martin promised that the book would be out only a few months later. And this time it held true; "Dance" was published on July 12.
It was speculated for a while that "Winds" would be published in 2014, but it didn't take long for fans and journalists alike to figure out that this was merely wishful thinking. Last year, Martin himself even admitted that he wished fans would stop pressuring him to write faster.
And while there has been some worrisome talk about what might happen if the HBO series catches up to the books, we'd like to think that Martin will take his time both with Winds and the (allegedly) final book in the saga, "A Dream of Spring."
Still, we can't help but hope that some time during this year, Martin will have an idea of what year "Winds" will be published, if nothing else. Any guesses?
1. "Game of Thrones" Season 4
Surprise! Not surprised? You shouldn't be, because any "Thrones" fan would be a fool not to look forward to Season 4!
After the epic, gruesome and heartbreaking Season 3, non-book readers might be wondering how Season 4 can possibly hold up - but readers are more excited than ever, and for a couple of really good reasons.
The non-spoiler reasons include the slew of talented new cast members, and the promise of big battles and an abundance of blood and gore.
No exact release date for "Game of Thrones" Season 4 has yet been set, but we know it's Spring 2014, and an educated guess based on previous release dates would be Sunday, March 30 -- we'll let you know as soon as something has been confirmed!
We are also still waiting on a proper trailer, but for now, check out this very brief first look at "Game of Thrones" Season 4:
Honorable mention: The "Game of Thrones" Season 3 DVD/Blu-ray box set. While we have already seen all 10 episodes of the series, there is some cool bonus material to look forward to when the season is released on February 18.
What 'Game of Thrones' events are you most looking forward to in 2014?
Photo/Video credit: HBO