Originally Posted by ravenheart
That's not a cliffhanger. It was obvious from about episode 5, maybe even earlier. The whole thing has been about all the factions going to war.
Exactly. Because they aren't endings. The story is merely part way through. Born out by the fact that the seasons are so short - half the length of a normal US drama - and the episodes are numbered consecutively from season to season. They're telling the story in half season chunks and calling them full seasons. It's like saying episode 10 of a regular US series does it's job by making people want to watch episode 11, it's just in this case episode 11 is the first one of the second "season". It's probably partly as a means of dragging it out for as long as possible without going to 'Lost' extents of idiotic plot twists, and because it likely costs so damn much to make they need to spread the production costs out.
Okay, it may not be a cliffhanger, but it certainly is intriguing and exciting.
Well, actually, you're somewhat wrong there. US story based dramas are often around the 10-13 episode mark per season. Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, The Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad - all around the 12 episode mark per season. Usually if a show has more than that, it has a format that allows for 'case of the week' episodes, like Supernatural, or House (I say usually, Prison Break and Lost are the only two that come to mind as pure story based shows that are 20 episodes a season). Episodes that don't continue the plot and just play with the format. Game of Thrones is 10-12 episodes a season because it's entirely story-based, and it has a source material that it is keeping very close to it's chest (though much like LOTR, stuff has been cut from the books, some necessary, some not so much). It would certainly have to do with production costs, but it also fits the format of the type of show it is. That said, it could be argued that season 3 is 24 episodes, because book 3 has been split up to two seasons due to the amount of story-line strands, the story would have been impossible to convey in 12 episodes. Unlike Lost, it has a set story that it has yet to deviate from in any major way, so the plot twists aren't going to be ridiculous and seem made up on the spot.