Spoiler alert: Game of Thrones

As of April 6, the new season of Game of Thrones—with the tagline “All Men Must Die”—hit television screens, starting off right where they left off from the previous season. With a new episode every Sunday,it brings something to look forward to towards the end of the weekends. Quick recap on the last two episodes: at this point in the series, we know the War of the Five Kings is drawing to a close, with two of the five original players left standing (Tyrion Lannister and Stannis Baratheon). But even Stannis has turned his eyes away from the Seven Kingdoms, focusing his attention to the wildings marching against the Wall. At the Wall, Jon Snow comes forth to admit his mistakes (laying with a wildling, abandoning his station, etc.), yet, the information he holds on the marching of thousands of giants, wildling warriors and mammoths towards the Wall, as well as the impending threat of the Other,is enough to convince the higher-ups that he should be pardoned for his broken promises. Daenarys Targaryen of the East, now backed by an army of 8,000 unsullied warrior- eunuchs and an even larger number of newly-freed slaves, march to the last of the slaver-cities to further strengthen her forces and
strike fear in her enemies. The marriage-alliance between King Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell is cut short during their wedding reception when Joffrey is poisoned and dies in the hand of his now furious mother, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister. And Tyrion breaks up with Shae.
Much more is stirring in the pot as numerous other players constantly move about on the chessboard that is the Game of Thrones. But let’s take a step back and address why it’s so popular. It’s just another fantasy show set with kings and queens and swords and dragons. What a snore- fest, right? Evidently not. Just last week, with the premiere of the second episode “The Lion and the
Rose”—in which we see our most unbeloved King Joffrey get a “taste” of his own medicine —it racked in 6.8 million views, up from 6.6 million views from the season premiere with “Two Swords.” Not only has the television series held a record high of weekly viewers, the show has become quite notorious for being the most pirated show of 2013,with the season three finale tallying 5.9 million downloads via BitTorrent.
Adapted from the famous series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin, first published in 1996, the television series does very well to keep close to the books’ narrative. There are, arguably, a number of reasons why we
love the series so much, but here are a few agreed on by a lot of viewers. “A Song of Ice and Fire” is not your typical fantasy series. Like most contemporary fantasy, it focuses less on magic and more on medieval realism, with an emphasis on character dynamics and political tension. Magic is sprinkled about here and there, to make the setting more otherworldly and strange beyond human comprehension.
We all know how famous Martin is for emphasizing the mortality of his characters. Yet, he provides them with well- rounded personalities that allow the viewer to connect with them on a personal level despite the possibilities of sudden
beheadings. With a setting close enough for us to relate to as people, yet distant enough for us to fantasize, Game of Thrones gives us an opportunity to escape from modernity and the advances of this technological age. Despite there being plenty of ways to spoil the show (the book series has been out since 1996 after all,and hundreds of online discussion forums are more than eager to ruin your day), there’s something about Game of Thrones that continues to draw interest. It’s like a rush for an adrenaline junky and ever since the end of Breaking Bad, we had been anxiously waiting for this to fill the emptiness in our hearts and the restlessness in our sword arm again