HBO has released seventeen photos from the upcoming second season of its highly acclaimed fantasy/political drama epic "Game of Thrones".

This season is based on "A Clash of Kings", the second book in George R.R. Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series. The first episode, entitled 'The North Remembers', kicks off at 9pm US-EST on April 1st.

These photos include first real looks at Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) on horseback with his priestess Lady Melisandre of Asshai (Carice van Houten), Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), Lord Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) and Balon Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide).

The story of this season deals with both a reconnaissance force of the Night's Watch heading North of the Wall, and the start of the War of the Five Kings - a civil war between the forces of Robb, Joffrey, Renly, Balon and Stannis.

There's also shots of established characters from the first season like Tyrion Lannister, Renly Baratheon, Cersei Lannister, Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow, Theon Greyjoy, Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, Bran Stark on the back of Hodor-Issac, and Lady Catelyn Stark.