‘Game of Thrones’ returns for enthralling third season

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Jake Alden

In the game of thrones, you win or you die. This weekend, HBO finally announced the March 31 air date for the third season premiere of its hit fantasy TV series, Game of Thrones, in a stunning, minute long trailer.
Based on the wildly popular and critically acclaimed book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, the show for the most part has proved a well-acted and faithful adaptation of Martin’s literary masterpiece.
For those already caught up with the show, the upcoming episodes are a cause for celebration; for those still in the dark about GoT, it’s a wake-up call.
So far, the first two seasons of the show have lined up exactly with Martin’s first two novels, telling an emotional story of civil war raging across the fictional continent of Westeros. Unlike most fantasy worlds, however, GoT is set in an imaginary world rife with realism.
The series’ enormous cast of characters is all flesh-and-blood humans, with no elves, dwarves or trolls to be found. Occasionally something mysteriously supernatural will crop up in an episode, but these are most often attributed to spiritual miracles instead of magic spells flung around by British teens every five minutes.
All this has helped contribute to the show’s well-deserved grim and gritty reputation. GoT is an unquestionably brutal tale whose tone has much in common with mature television classics like Deadwood and The Wire, and it’s becoming infamous for its graphically gory violence and explicit sex scenes.
It’s a not a show for everyone, to be sure; while the plot and characters are approachable and intriguing for all manner of viewers, the extremely mature content of many episodes makes family viewings impossible. Even those acquainted with the show’s source material may not be prepared for HBO’s adaptation.
While it’s true that Martin’s novels are certainly geared towards a strong-stomached adult audience, the show takes many of the book’s sex scenes that were merely implied and puts them on the screen in full frontal detail. In one notable example, the books occasionally hint that a certain king has affairs behind his homely wife’s back, while the show details the monarch’s graphic liaisons with his mistress throughout multiple episodes.
Despite its often over-the-top nudity, the show remains a tightly-plotted and smartly-written tale of Shakespearean intrigue, religious passion, romantic struggle and ancient warfare.
For the most part, the characters all look and sound very much like the novels implied, and the entire cast does a phenomenal job bringing the vivid players in the show’s great game of intrigue to life.
The show’s story is populated by a wide range of deeply flawed antiheroes who still manage to keep the audience’s attention and affection throughout all the show’s twists and turns. Much like the show’s source material, GoT’s character arcs are wildly dynamic, and the series cast are constantly developing from episode to episode.
If the third novel that season three is being based on is any indication, that development will reach an all-time high in the episodes to come.
The loyal and honorable-to-a-fault soldier Jon Snow will be leaving his isolated post behind and beginning to question his commands, while the antagonistic and arrogant royal bodyguard Jaime Lannister finally steps into the show’s limelight and gets to give the audience his own perspective on villainy.
Now is the time to get engaged in GoT. The series is widely considered to be Martin’s best work so far, and the scant tidbits revealed by HBO’s press releases and trailers showcase an intriguing array of cinematography, acting, and visual effects.
If you haven’t watched the first two seasons, or you want to catch up on the plot before March 31, head on down to Best Buy and pick up a copy of a masterpiece on par with Breaking Bad and Deadwood.
By Jake Alden
Are you excited for season 3? Who is your favorite character in Game of Thrones?