Welcome to Westeros, home of the seven kingdoms and the popular HBO epic, “Game of Thrones,” which premiered its third season Sunday.
The episode brought in a record-breaking 4.4 million viewers during its first run and 6.7 million viewers by the end of the night. This was not a surprise, considering the first two seasons received critical acclaim and unwavering fan approval.
While the previous seasons were each based on an entire book in the seven-part series, this season will be restricted to the first half of the third installment, “A Storm of Swords.”
George R.R. Martin, the series author, says the Iron Throne will be occupied by a few people before it meets its true king or queen. He has also warned that some characters who survive past book five may die on the show long before that part of the series plays out on screen.
Rachel MacDonald, a 19-year-old political science and international studies sophomore, said she’s excited the show’s writers are starting to take these liberties.
"I think they would lose viewers with a simple retelling of the story,” MacDonald said. “Mixing it up keeps the interest there. I am saying this now, but then my favorite character will be killed off, and I'll be livid.”
The show and its cast are no stranger to death, at any moment any character could be beheaded by a boy king or killed by an undead creatures.
MacDonald hopes the undead creatures, known as The Others or White Walkers, will play a more significant role this year.
“The Wildlings and White Walkers are going to become incredibly important, and I think that this is definitely the season where this will begin,” she said.
In fact, the very first scene of the season featured one such mysterious creature attacking members of the Night’s Watch. That Walker was slain before he could kill Samwell Tarly, but it’s only a matter of time before our favorite characters start dropping dead.
“Winter is coming” to your television screen Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.