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There’s no room for civility in Game of Thrones. When a reviled or beloved character dies, the beheadings and eviscerations are unrelenting. Never has a show intertwined enemies and allies so tightly. As the War of the Five Kings wages on, the body count inches toward the highest of any HBO series. Based on the books by fantasy author George R. R. Martin, the big-budget series follows the sword-wielding noble families of the fictional continent of Westeros and their attempts to claim the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms.

Season Three Preview

The third novel in the series, A Storm of Swords, serves as the inspiration for Season three. Here’s what to expect:

The corrupt Joffrey Baratheon marries Margaery Tyrell to create an alliance with House Tyrell. But the wedding ceremony doesn’t quite work out in Joffrey’s favour.

The physically scarred Tyrion Lannister recovers from Stannis Baratheon’s city-wide attack and learns that he’s been removed from power. That doesn’t sit well with him.

Daenerys Targaryen returns home to claim the Iron Throne. But she’ll need an army, and the Unsullied (soldiers from Slaver’s Bay) will do just fine.

New Characters and Faces to Watch Out For

Game of Thrones has proven adept at integrating new characters into each season without compromising existing ones. “This season is a little more intimate,” says Thrones screen- writer Bryan Cogman. “There are a lot more character-driven scenes, where you’re really getting under the skin of the characters and finding out what makes them tick.”

Olenna Tyrell (played by the legendary Diana Rigg) is a master of court politics; also known as the Queen of Thorns.

Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie Sangster) is blessed with “green sight,” which gives him prophetic dreams.

Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds) is a feared leader known as King Be- yond the Wall; he will play a pivotal role this season.

Yield Thy Sword

Chris Beasley, owner of Valyrian Steel, designed the swords used on the show based on Martin’s books. This spring, his company will begin selling Robb Stark’s sword to super fans (and the general public).

Drink Before War

HBO has partnered with New York’s Brewery Ommegang to produce a series of beers inspired by Game of Thrones. Iron Throne, a blond ale, will be released in time for Season 3. Others will follow.

Eat or be Eaten

The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook, by Alan Kistler, is a perfect primer for your Season 3 premiere party. Recipes include House of Stark’s Venison, Bran’s Auroch Joints Roasted with Leeks, and Baratheon Boar Ribs with Apple. Wild boar hard to come by in your neck of the woods? Try pork ribs instead.

Game of Thrones returns to HBO Canada and RogersAnyplaceTV.com on March 31.

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