HBO Renews GAME OF THRONES For Two More Seasons

Surprising no one. 

Hot on the heels of the premiere of Game of Thrones season four - whose viewership numbers rivaled the finale of The Sopranos - HBO has renewed the fantasy adaptation through season six, which could bring the series up to date with George RR Martin's novels. 

Nobody is surprised by this turn of events, as Game of Thrones has been massive for the network, not just in terms of viewership but in terms of enormous buzz. HBO is a subscription-based model, so getting people to subscribe is actually more important than getting people to watch. If everybody feels like they have to subscribe to keep up with Game of Thrones the show has done its job.

In a recent Vanity Fair article show runners David Benioff and DB Weiss said that they envision the show running about seven or eight seasons, so this renewal would bring them to the endgame, more or less. Which is where we are in Martin's books at the end of A Dance With Dragons

What will seasons five and six be? Seasons three and four were a split up telling of one book. A Storm of Swords. Meanwhile books four and five - A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons - were actually one book clumsily split in two (Martin opted to split not chronologically but by character, keeping all the characters you liked in one book and filling the other with nobodies). I'm assuming the show will reintegrate the storylines and tell them over two seasons, although I suspect they could knock it out with just one slightly longer season (seriously, so little actually happens in A Feast For Crows). Hopefully by the time season six ends - 2016 - we'll have the sixth novel, The Winds of Winter, in our hands. It looks very unlikely that George RR Martin will beat the final season of the show, though. 

This renewal should let us all feel comfortable that HBO is taking this show to the finish line. The network has in the past canceled shows right in the middle of stories, which is weird for a company that sells expensive box sets of their programs. Who wants to buy Deadwood when you know it isn't finished? Getting to season six feels like the kind of commitment that tells us we'll make it all the way to season eight, barring a cataclysmic lack of interest - which actually knowing the content of the next two novels doesn't seem impossible. 

So my question to you is this: Game of Thrones is now renewed through the next two boring books. How can the show maintain interest in the wake of this season, which will be the best?