“Game of Thrones” Season 3 date, time, TV channel, preview and more!

Game of Thrones, Season 3
Sunday, March 31
HBO, 9pm ET

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in "Game of Thrones" Season 3

Well, I cut it a bit close this time. I make it a personal goal to stay ahead of HBO’s beyond-awesome fantasy series Game of Thrones by making sure I’ve read the book in George R.R. Martin’s beyond-awesome fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire that the upcoming season is based on. A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings went pretty smoothly, and I was able to await the premieres of each season contentedly, but A Storm of Swords nearly beat me. The sucker is 1,128 pages long, not counting the dozens of pages that follow the story laying out all the kingdoms and family lines. How can all of this be required reading? Not sure how Martin does it, but I’ll never skip a word.

But just a couple weeks ago I finished volume three and now of course will be watching and waiting with bated geek breath as Season 3 unfolds. If it hews closely to the novel — as executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss say it will — every episode will bring with it twists and turns, shocking character deaths that will make Ned Stark’s beheading feel like child’s play.

Fans of Peter Dinklage will be happy to know that Tyrion Lannister looms large this season, even though his character is in for some mighty rough times. Rob Stark continues to come into his own as a king, waging war against the Lannisters while trying to smooth over hurt feelings from his allies after going rogue on choosing a queen. Daenerys is getting closer to building her army and journeying to Westeros to reclaim what she believes is her rightful crown, and her baby dragons grow bigger. Then there’s Joffrey, acting more than ever like he needs a good slap. Or twenty. Something that worries me down the road, however, are those Others. While those scenes are still compelling, it’d be a shame to think that all this is going to lead up to just another zombie show.

RELATED: Interview with Game of Thrones producers before Season 1

One advantage the series has over the books is being able to condense the many long sequences where Martin has characters traveling long, difficult roads to get from Point A to Point B. Yes, it’s all brilliant writing, but it’s nice to see characters actually being somewhere doing stuff as opposed to working through hardships on the way there. And hey, dragons always look cool onscreen.

Like any Thrones fans, I have certain scenes I’m salivating over seeing brought to life, but of course I can’t really reveal any of those without being one of those jerk spoiler guys. But hey, I’m always up for a discussion after the fact.

OK, time to stop writing now. It’s never too early to start on A Feast for Crows.

Photo: Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO