HBO plans 'Game of Thrones' marathon ahead of Season 4 premiere

HBO plans 'Game of Thrones' marathon ahead of Season 4 premiere
Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons, in "Game of Thrones." (HBO)

Season 4 of HBO's hit series "Game of Thrones" gets underway Sunday, but it's not the kind of show anyone should undertake lightly. For the full "Game of Thrones" effect, HBO is doing its best to simultaneously keep you informed and take away all your free time by way of a weekend-long marathon of the show's first three seasons.

Beginning Friday morning at 9 a.m. Pacific, HBO2 will air all 30 episodes of the series twice, in the run-up to Sunday night's Season 4 premiere.

Yes, this is the age of readily available DVDs and HBO Go, but there's something so convenient about telling people, "Don't talk to me now! There's a 'Game of Thrones' marathon on!"

Additionally, the network is unveiling its updated online viewer's guide, which features behind-the-scenes videos, character guides, recaps and interactive maps of the Seven Kingdoms and Essos, the land being overtaken by Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons.

Those who want to go further in-depth into the world of "A Song of Ice and Fire" author George R.R. Martin will have to wait until October for the printed "The World of Ice and Fire," which is a fully illustrated history of Westeros and Essos with plenty of original text by Martin himself.

The fourth season of the series is expected to depict the action from the latter half of the book series' third novel, "A Storm of Swords."

Meanwhile, fans are still waiting somewhat patiently for the sixth book in the series, "The Winds of Winter," to be finished. Martin has kept quiet on his progress on the book, but he did release a new chapter on his website 10 days before the Season 4 premiere. The chapter, titled "Mercy," is available here.