HBO has had a pretty consistent pattern, especially with its dramas, of renewing shows the Tuesday after their premieres. So once we knew last week that "Game of Thrones" had returned to a series-high 3.9 million viewers (6.3 million if you count people who watched repeats later in the evening), every TV reporter in the country began waiting for the renewal press release to come in.

And then it didn't... and then it didn't... and then it still didn't. And while there was never any doubt about the renewal coming, the question became about the reasons for the delay — and whether it was because HBO was considering ordering two seasons at once, since "GoT" showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have acknowledged in interviews that they'll need two seasons to adapt George R.R. Martin's third book, "A Storm of Swords."

Whether that was the reason for the delay or not, the renewal is finally in, a week later than we all expected, and it's only for one season for now. (And the release doesn't even mention "A Storm of Swords" by name.) 

“Series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss raised our expectations for the second season – and then surpassed them,” HBO exec  Michael Lombardo said in a statement. “We are thrilled by all the viewer and media support we’ve received for the series, and can’t wait to see what Dan and David have in store for next season.”

It's hard to imagine a circumstance under which there won't be a fourth season of the show, but various economic realities — including who is and isn't under contract already for a fourth year — may have made it too complicated to pull the trigger on two seasons at once right now.

There are still 8 episodes to go in the second season of "Game of Thrones," starting this Sunday at 9 p.m.

NOTE: As this is my blog, same spoiler rules apply for discussing the renewal as for discussing the episode reviews: IF IT HASN'T HAPPENED ON THE TELEVISION SHOW YET, DO NOT MENTION IT IN YOUR COMMENTS.