'Game of Thrones': HBO gives a tantalizing sneak peek

emilia-clarke-game-of-thrones-320.jpgHBO is keeping full episodes of "Game of Thrones" under wraps until closer to the show's debut. But the channel screened 15 minutes of footage for reporters this week, and we're now officially excited to see the finished product.

The cutdown HBO showed us included longer versions of scenes in the show's trailer, plus some new moments featuring the principal characters. Here are a few things you can look forward to seeing come April.

It's gorgeous. Most of "Game of Thrones" was shot in Northern Ireland, and there's a lot of natural beauty in addition to some very impressive production design. And like the "Lord of the Rings" movies, it strikes a good balance between grittier, more realistic-looking scenes and brighter, light-filled scenes.

It's fantasy, but not fantastical. Author George R.R. Martin, on whose novels the show is based, sprinkles fantasy elements throughout the books, but the novels (and the show) are more about power struggles and family dynamics than wizards and magic. Executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss say that most of the people in Martin's world are skeptical of magic, and that carries through the series.

Watch out for Emilia Clarke. Unless you're a very dedicated fan of the British soap "Doctors" or happened to catch the Syfy movie "Triassic Attack" in November, you probably haven't seen her. She plays the key role of Daenerys Targaryen, and she could be the breakout member of a cast that also includes Lena Headey, Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage and Mark Addy, among others.

"Game of Thrones" premieres in April.

Photo/Video credit: HBO