updated 04/05/2013 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 04/07/2013 AT 4:20 PM ET
HBO’s Game of Thrones, now at the start of its third season, seems to have been weighted into a catapult and sent soaring through the air: What was already a massive hit has become a buzzed-about, addictive phenomenon.
The show is – as one says, of such epic productions – teeming with characters. It swarms with plots, subplots and side-plots. If you missed the first two seasons, you might be afraid to just jump in. Don’t be.
Just remember that everyone’s motive is essentially the same: Win the Iron Throne and control all the kingdoms. (Think of Jerry Seinfeld chasing down the marble rye, but there are hundred of Jerrys and only one loaf.)
Oh, and everyone wants to avoid being brutally slaughtered.
You’ll be hooked fast enough, and you’ll develop your own set of obsessions to anticipate each week. These are mine:
1. The dragons
There are three of them, advanced into what I would roughly describe as adolescence, and they are faithful to the woman who raised them: Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), the exiled warrior queen with a fierce heart but a delicate, white-blonde beauty that would make her an ideal muesli spokesmodel. Thrones, unlike The Lord of the Rings, is a mostly human story – the mythical element is used sparingly, and that makes the dragons all the more exciting. Once they grow, we’re made to understand, they will be the ultimate weapon.
It would be nice if HBO could develop a live minicam, so that we could watch them like kittens or puppies, playfully scorching the walls.