If you haven't yet seen the first two seasons of HBO's insanely popular Game of Thrones, then you'd best get in your jammy pants, order a pizza and get started now, since the much-anticipated third season begins on March 31. The show is taken from George R.R. Martin's remarkable, detail-oriented and incredibly lengthy A Song of Ice and Fire series, a collection of epic fantasy novels about the politics, warfare, gorgeous castles and even more splendid costumes of the Middle Ages-akin land of Westeros. The HBO show based on the books is also filled with boobs, beer and battles, the upcoming season promises more of the same.
Here are five reasons why Game of Thrones is the best show on television right now. Winter is coming. See also: - Game of Thrones Season 2 premiere was full of tumult (spoilers within) - Game of Thrones Season 2 premiere tonight at Landmark Theatre - Videos: Ten TV shows you didn't know were set in Colorado
5. There are motherf*cking dragons! Dragons are cool. There are three dragons in the show that viewers get to watch hatch, grow, eat pieces of charred meat, and spit fire at some jerky bad guys with blue lips. The show's backstory is that the seven kingdoms of Westeros were conquered by a brother-and-two-sisters trio (House Targaryan) who rode dragons, using the scary, fire-horking beasts to either scare the medieval shit out of everyone who protested the conquest, or to burn down entire castles when faced with opposition (too bad there are no actual dragons to threaten Congress with). But the dragons died out, and for hundreds of years, kings and queens came and went, until the last Targaryan king was stabbed to death, and his kiddoes were smuggled away to safety -- one of which had the gift of dragon magic. Daenerys Targaryan, the silver-haired and totally hot female scion, got three old, petrified dragon eggs for a wedding gift and after several episodes of awesome, murderous, crazy hijinks, she managed to get those eggs hatched, and released three colorful, flame-spitting beasts that cause some serious chaos -- with no end in sight in season three.
4. The families make the Hatfields and McCoys look like the Huxtables.
As in any good medieval-based fantasy, the seven kingdoms have noble families who lie, cheat, steal and kill with inpunity, amid constantly-shifting alliances. In Game of Thrones, these families hate each other, some hate themselves, and loyalty seems to be more precious than gold or castles. Each family has house sigils, house mottos, mansion-y castles and lands filled with peasants to do all the boring things like grow food and cook mutton. But not unlike in real life, it's never enough. Watching the different groups turn on each other is fun -- and will make you appreciate your own family more, since most dysfunctional family units these days don't have access to swords or spiked maces.
3. Blood, guts, gore and naked parts in every episode.
There is a delicious, primal thrill in watching someone whack off someone else's head or give 'em a sword slash to the guts, and see their intestines slop out onto the dirt. Game of Thrones delivers old-old-old school violence like loss of limbs, loss of life and plenty of callous, filthy, horrifying war scenes that are so realistic-looking that you can watch them over and over in reruns and catch something new and more disgusting each time. Season two brings siege warfare scenes and a marine battle so fiery and epic that your apartment neighbors will hear you scream out "DAAAMN!!! -- did you SEE that SHIT!" and thump on the wall to shut you up.
And like any show worth its salt, GOT has sinful, sensual nudity. Medieval brothels with naked whores doing their business -- and it's okay to call them whores because it's not real and not contemporary -- and all the nude bellies, butts, bush and bewbies you could want AND same-sex couplings, male-male and female-female, AND some too-rare male full-frontals.
2. The plots get in your head.
If following an episode of Law & Order seems complicated, then an episode of Thrones will really f*ck your shit up. The plots twist, turn, meander, sprint and sometimes end up in elegant cul-de-sacs that reveal too much, reveal nothing at all, and everything you watch and try to figure out seems like you are playing a game of chess while drunk, stoned and half-asleep. George R.R. Martin is an intellectual sadist, because the show follows his books fairly close, and just when you think you have figured out who is gonna shank who in the back, and who is going to be the next character with his/her head on a stake mounted on a castle wall, you are dead wrong, and it's somebody else. Between the military tactics, political maneuvering and trying to ascertain what each characters' motivations are, it's easy as pigeon pie to walk away from each episode scratching your head -- or banging it against a wall.
1. The glorious imp of Lannister.
Peter Dinklage stars as one of the main characters (if not THE main character): the quick-witted and politically-savvy dwarf Tyrion Lannister, who is hated by his family, loved over and over by whores, and who is frequently misunderstood -- and is always in some sort of a jam where he is inches away from being slaughtered. In the very first episode of season one, the first scene with Tyrion in it shows him in a seedy brothel swilling a mug of ale on his top half, and being...erm...serviced down below. This first meeting is a harbinger of things to come from "The Imp," as he's called, and Tyrion makes the show with his clever jabs, incessant potty mouth and penchant for drinking, whoring and trying to outwit his sister the queen (who has a "special" relationship with their brother Jamie), his father the power behind the throne, and his asshole nephew Joffrey, who is a little king with a big attitude problem.
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Even if the rest of the show were flat-out boring -- which thank the seven gods of Westeros it isn't -- it would be worth tuning in every week just to watch what jacked-up messes Tyrion manages to wiggle his way out of. And Dinklage's stellar performances every week will make you glad you decided to ante up for expanded cable.