By Edward Klumpp
Special to The Denisonian

HBO’s hit TV series Game of Thrones made its highly anticipated return last Sunday flooding its viewers’ minds with questions of what Winter will bring.

The series is now in its third season based off of George R.R. Martin’s brilliant fantasy saga “A Song of Ice and Fire” and will attempt to mirror Martin’s award winning third publication of the series A Storm of Swords.

Assuming the story continues to excite and keep viewers thirsty for more, which I can safely assure you it will, and Martin successfully completes the last two novels of the series, keeping in mind his most recent installment took six years to perfect – avid fans can discontinue their prayers and rejoice in the certainty of at least seven seasons of HBO Gold.

HBO has had quite the task converting Martin’s extensive stories into film. The length of the stories has forced decisions to be made regarding which characters are followed most extensively and which information is withheld. At the same time, the accuracy of the books must be maintained and condensed into ten fifty minute episodes. In this season HBO’s task has been made even more difficult as they are dealing with a thousand page book and have elongated each episode as a result.

While many viewers have conveyed disappointment in the first two episodes for its lack of action and focus on witty dialogue, it should be noted that Martin is renowned for initially and carefully setting the stage before a whirlwind of action ensues. So if you were discouraged, do not fret for there will be plenty of opportunities to witness your favorite parts of GoT such as gory battles, raunchy sex scenes, massive dire wolves and dragons, shirtless Stark men or maybe another Daenarys bathing scene… whatever tickles your fancy!

One of the strengths of this season has been its success at providing its viewers with predictions of what is to come. For example, in the first episode the unsullied soldiers are perfectly depicted as the disciplined and emotionless creatures that the book portrays them as. Not only did they display their inability to feel pain but also demonstrated their unquestionable obedience to their master – bestowing upon them the characteristics of a perfect mercenary.

The second episode also succeeds at expertly introducing the role of wargs into the series. Wargs – or people blessed with the ability to control animals – are indicative of Bran’s future and serve as a preface for an increased magical element present within the series. This element heightens by the arrival of the mysterious Reed siblings who seem destined to become part of Bran’s clandestine journey. Whether or not their intentions are positive remains to be proven.

Sadly this season already has its weaknesses: the most blatant being its addition of scenes that did not occur in the books.    Catelyn Stark’s discussion about wishing Jon Snow back to life is simply Hollywood drama designed to generate sympathy and adoration for her character. This is a misrepresentation of the book as Cat Stark is about as terrible to Jon as any mother has ever been meriting my mounting hatred towards her from the beginning of the series.

By changing the way the book’s characters are perceived, HBO is robbing Martin of the manner in which he wants certain characters to be judged while simultaneously hindering the validity of the show.

So what can you expect in the third season?

Without giving away any spoilers, Martin continues to expand on the fight for the Iron Throne while also delving into unseen territories such as the land beyond the wall or the vastly contrasting societies of the East.

As a result there are a host of new characters to be introduced that complicate this already complex and exciting tale.

However, I suggest caution at becoming too attached to any characters for season one illustrates a shining example of Martin’s willingness to remove major characters from the plot.

And – as is always the case for Game of Thrones – expect the unexpected for just when you think you can predict this tale’s future; Martin repeatedly displays his brilliance and reveals to his readers how majorly misinformed they are in this conviction.