How to get up to speed on "Game of Thrones"

If you haven’t been watching HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” you probably feel a little left out of the excitement about Sunday’s premiere of the fourth season of this popular fantasy drama series.

Can you feel the excitement? It’s everywhere!

But it’s not too late for you to get caught up. All you need is a little perseverance, and before you know it, you’ll know what everyone means when they say mysterious phrases like “Winter is coming,” “Dracarys,” and “Hodor.” And don’t worry if you don’t remember the name of every single character, because there are dozens of them. (It’s a good thing that they die off so quickly, or there would be twice as many.)

For maximum points, you could try reading the books until you catch up to the show somewhere in the middle of the third book. But that’s going to require getting through a little over 2,000 pages, so if that’s your plan, you should probably stop reading stories on the Internet and get to work. If you prefer to keep things digital, they’re all available on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and pretty much everywhere else books are sold.

Unless you’re the most voracious of readers, watching the series itself might be easier, as there are only thirty one-hour episodes. It’s not available on Netflix, but each episode is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. More importantly, the entire series is available on HBO Go, so if you have HBO, you can stream every episode on a variety of devices. In fact, HBO has said that it doesn’t mind that much if you borrow a friend’s login information to do this even if you don’t have HBO, which is definitely a plus. But if your friend shares a login, be sure to make like a Lannister and pay your debts.

That’s the kind of reference you’ll find hilarious once you’ve seen the show.

HBO also has a variety of extras available, such as “The Politics of Power,” a 26-minute featurette that sums up the events of season three.

And for even more extras, there’s HBO’s complete viewers guide, which gives every episode a synopsis, a recap, and behind-the-scenes videos so you can choose your own level of detail. (You can also read the author’s own Game of Thrones recaps at Television Without Pity.—ed.)

Frankly, at this point, you have only yourself to blame if you don’t know what’s happening at the big “Game of Thrones” party you’re going to on Sunday. Get to work!

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