By Kelsey Mejlaender, Copy Editor

Summer may be coming, but for fans of  “Game of Thrones,” winter is here. If you aren’t watching HBO’s epic fantasy series, you should probably reevaluate your life choices.

It was the most pirated show of 2012, and it enjoys the praise of highbrow critics.

Still, this show is not for the faint of heart. It has more characters than students have homework assignments, complex political intrigue, witty dialogue and — as it is a cable show — a plethora of nudity as well as a few wars worth of violence.

Based on George R.R. Martin’s series, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” the series is named for the first book “A Game of Thrones.” The show is remarkably similar to the books — it is truly an ideal adaptation.

Set in the medieval-esque land of Westeros, the story follows the struggles between several royal families vying for power.

Although it is a fantasy, “Game of Thrones” takes a refreshing approach to the genre that attracts anyone — even those who don’t typically like fantasy. Westeros is a place where magic has somewhat died out.

As the audience learns, however, magic has a way of being reborn from the ashes.

The third season premiered on March 31 and just released number five of 10 season-three episodes on Sunday.

I have to admit, the first two episodes were a tad underwhelming.

The third, however, began to pick up the pace, and by the fourth episode I was prancing around my room shouting battle cries and ready to pledge my fealty.

It’s a soul-wrenching show that makes its audience cheer for characters who are all enemies of each other. There are three contingents of “main” characters.

House Stark, painted as the heroes of the story, is a close and loving family with tragedy dogging their heels, but iron wills and honorable hearts.

They are the rulers of the North and often remark, “winter is coming.”

The best character of this group — the illegitimate son Jon Snow portrayed by Kit Harrington, is a fan favorite for his consistently moral decisions and clever thinking.

In this season, Jon is struggling to save the North as a spy, a risky endeavor as he grows sympathetic to his enemy’s cause. This foe, however, is not the Stark family’s primary concern.

House Lannister, the richest family in Westeros and at war with the Starks, is famous for always paying their debts — and that includes repaying those who dare to cross them.

Among these so-called villains is the best character of all — Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion, played by Peter Dinklage, has the best lines in the series and is hilarious but also shrewd.

It is no surprise Dinklage has won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Tyrion.

In this season, Tyrion becomes the centerpiece of one of his family’s matrimonial schemes, but he has a few plots of his own to carve out some power for himself.

Finally, House Targaryen. This family ruled Westeros for 300 years until one of the kings went mad and the nobles united to overthrow him, killing most of his family in the process.

The exiled Princess Daenerys — played by Emilia Clarke — plots to return to Westeros with an army and reclaim her birthright.

Daenerys is often noted as one of the best examples of character development, growing from a scared, young girl into a fierce woman worthy of a crown over the course of the series.

Things are really heating up for Daenerys this season as she won herself an army — and my loyalty — at the end of the fourth episode. Having a few dragons to aide her cause certainly doesn’t hurt.

If you don’t subscribe to HBO, I definitely don’t recommend you join thousands of others and pirate it. ◼︎

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