HBO has officially ordered “Game of Thrones,” a new series based on George Martin's  “Song of Ice and Fire” fantasy novels. The series will be shot at the Paint Hall in Belfast, starting in June.

The best-selling book franchise, which began in 1996 with “A Game of Thrones,” features the conflicts among several families on the mythical continent of Westeros as they battle for supremacy . The HBO series will run 10 episodes and will star Sean Bean and Tamazin Merchant as well as many other leading names.

The U.S. Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland Declan Kelly welcomed the announcement by HBO that it will film there.

“Northern Ireland continues to develop a strong reputation in the international film industry. The announcement by HBO to proceed with this important television production demonstrates the confidence a leading American media company has in the region’s talent and capability.”

 “Recent investments such as the renovation of the Paint Hall in Belfast will continue to provide excellent opportunities for Northern Ireland to attract companies like HBO and others to the region, providing a significant boost to the economy through new job creation and increased tourism. “

"We have placed creative media and the film industry at the center of our strategic plan as an area of focus moving forward for attracting inward investment. The Paint Hall in Belfast and the work being undertaken by entrepreneurial companies in that city and also in locations such as Derry-Londonderry provides a perfect backdrop for engaging with additional U.S. and international industry participants to attract further investment.”

 “First Minister Robinson, deputy First Minister McGuinness, Minister Foster and all those involved in bringing this project to the region are to be congratulated for their efforts.”