By James Hibberd
Updated April 02, 2013 at 05:16 PM EDT
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Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO

It is known: HBO’s Game of Thrones will continue its epic tale into a fourth season.

The network just renewed the show for 10 episodes to premiere next year.

The announcement was expected. Thrones returned to series-high ratings on Sunday night and stands as the network’s biggest current moneymaker. The show’s annual production cost (north of $55 million per season) is offset by strong international and DVD sales. If ratings trends for Thrones and HBO’s top-rated True Blood continue this year, Thrones could replace the vampire drama as the network’s most-popular show.

Creative details for the fourth season have not been announced, but Thrones is expected to primarily use material from back half of the lengthy third book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga, A Storm of Swords, as well as pull in content from other novels in the series.

See EW’s recap of the Thrones season 3 premiere here. And check out our-spoiler free Thrones season 3 interview series below.

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