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The popular show “Game of Thrones” returned on the night of Sunday, March 31 for a third season that promises not to disappoint fans. A powerful, enthralling premiere addressed all of the previous season’s cliffhangers and reminded viewers of the bloody mess characters were left in at the end of Season Two.

For those unfamiliar, “Game of Thrones” is a fantasy drama based on the series of novels by George R.R. Martin. The show debuted in 2011 and has slowly gained popularity since. Over 4.4 million viewers tuned in Sunday for the premiere, twice the number that watched the pilot only two years ago.

All of our favorite characters are back (for now), though all appear rough, worn, and exhausted. They are far from the nobility we were introduced to at the beginning of season one with beautiful clothing and fancy kingdoms. Only the obnoxious and evil King Goffery is still sitting on his throne — everyone else is fighting.

The episode began with our beloved and handsome Jack Snow, still wandering stupidly on the snowy tundra beyond the wall. He is taken to Mance Raydor, the king beyond the wall. John’s cleverness and way with words wins him a place among their people, but there is no telling how long that will last. That’s the way it is in this show; a character can be thriving in a moment then be almost dead an episode later. John’s innocence and good heart make him a favorite among viewers.

Tyrion, another favorite, though for different reasons, is now healed from the battle that ended last season but is being held in living quarters far below his standards. One can’t help but feel sympathy for him. As a character who we hated in the beginning, he has slowly grown on us as we have begun to see his humility and good heart. His father, one of the few people he has left in the world, takes no pity on him.  He doesn’t offer him fame, power, comfort, or money but simply grants his son slightly better living quarters. Definitely not suited for a “father of the year award.” These new quarters will have to suffice until clever Tyrion devises a plan, as he undoubtedly will. We expect that from him by now. He will undoubtedly con someone for money or sneak his way back to the battlefield.

Our hero, the gallant Robb Stark, continues to battle for his kingdom and rightful throne with his mother now being held as a prisoner on his orders. The scene in which he returns home only to find all his residents freshly killed, blood still oozing from their wounds is particularly striking even for this show. The expression on Robb’s face when he sees the fate of his followers and supporters is that of fear, hate, and sadness all in one. After this encounter, he seems just as ready as ever to return to the fight. He may have has his kingdom back,  but without any residents, it isn’t much. His snippet of the jam packed episode was short, leaving the audience wanting more details about his next plans for the battle.

Our wonder woman of the show, Daenerys, has not yet given up. The “mother of dragons” is still in search of an army with which she can win back her power. She has endured rape, love, marriage, death, and rebirth all in the past two seasons. Her time has come to take power back. This is the same quest she has pursued since the beginning of the show, though her path as been far from easy. This follows with a slightly disturbing scene in which cold-hearted, unsullied warriors kill babies to prove themselves. They are probably exactly what Daenerys needs at this point to accompany her three, quickly growing dragons to the battlefield.

“Game of Thrones” is not a show for the faint of heart or  the squeamish. For anyone looking for a complex, detailed storyline with blood, death, and a cast of interesting characters, it’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon.

Sanguinetti is a member of the class of 2015.

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