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Spring may be here, but in Westeros, winter is coming. Game of Thrones fans who have waited patiently since last June will see what fate unfurls for their favorite characters. Who will continue onward with their journey and how many limbs will they have intact? While George R.R. Martin’s epic series of novels often serve as a guidepost / built-in “spoiler alert” as to which characters may live or die, Game of Thrones still manages to pull off some shocking moments and a number of surprises.

So what can fans look forward to in Season 3 of Game of Thrones? Read on to find out!

Supersized Season

Game of Thrones Season 3 will be built around the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, titled A Storm of Swords. In the novel, several important characters are introduced and Showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have elaborated that book three will actually be split into two separate seasons, mentioning that there’s just too much action to cram into a 10-episode season. Viewers will be kept on their toes to see what goes down in Season 3 and what will just have to wait until Season 4. Additionally, episodes will be slightly longer with roughly five more minutes added to each -- essentially giving the show an “extra” episode, just broken up into smaller chunks.

New Characters

Several new, rather important characters will be added to the mix in Game of Thrones’ third season. British actor / comedian Paul Kaye joins the cast as Thoros of Myr, a red priest of the Lord of Light. Kaye will likely leave his comedic roots behind as he steps into Thoros’ armor to wield an imposing sword of wildfire.

Veteran stage and screen actress Dame Diana Rigg will portray the formidable Queen of Thorns, Lady Olenna Redwyne, scheming grandmother to Margaery Tyrell. Considering that Margaery is slated to wed King Joffrey, she’s going to need all the help she can get. Rigg’s turn as Emma Peel in ‘60s action/adventure series, The Avengers, marked her as a feminist icon. She should feel right at home among all of the strong female characters on Game of Thrones.

Two more additions to the cast are actually familiar HBO faces. Game of Thrones Season 3 reunites former Rome alumni, Ciaran Hinds and Tobias Menzies. Menzies will portray Edmure Tully, brother to Catelyn Stark. Hinds takes up the mantle of Mance Rayder, a mysterious former member of the Night Watch who abandoned his post. Known as “The King Beyond the Wall” Mance eventually plays a pivotal role in Jon Snow’s storyline.

Dragons and Direwolves and White Walkers! Oh, My!

In last season’s final moments, we caught a glimpse at what lies beyond The Wall. And it looks a lot like the result of a bad Yeti / zombie mating ritual. Depending on how big their CG budget is, we may see more of the White Walkers in Season 3.

Of course, we’ll see more of the ferocious, yet fuzzy direwolves that accompany the Stark children. (Considering licensed plush toys of the critters exist, the show better get some mileage out of them!)

And as seen in the extended trailer, it looks like Daenerys’ little hatchlings are all grown up into fully-grown flamethrowers once Mama Khaleesi is finally reunited with them. It’s about to get real toasty in Slaver’s Bay.

Lethal Ladies

One of the driving forces behind Game of Thrones is its assortment of strong female characters that take center stage.

In HBO’s extended trailer, Cersei Lannister is shown exchanging words with her brother, Tyrion -- quite possibly the only person more cunning than she in all of the Westerlands.

Yet another fierce mama, Catelyn Stark, prepares to exact revenge on behalf of her family, possibly butting heads with Cersei down the line this season.

Speaking of butting heads, we also sneak a peek at Lady Brienne of Tarth cracking some dude’s cranium with her own noggin before facing down a bear. (Beats browbeating Jaime Lannister any day, I suppose.)

Daenerys Targarean appears to be reunited with at least one of her dragons before taking what’s left of her entourage to Slaver’s Bay in search of a new army...of eunuchs. Let the good times roll!

And last, but not least, plucky (yet grimy) heroine, Needle-wielding Arya Stark and her ragtag gang of outcasts run into the Brotherhood Without Banners - a group of outlaw warriors. Sounds right up the little lass’s alley!

Extreme Makeover: Lannister Edition

Several members of House Lannister will show off their “extreme makeovers” in Season three. Fan-favorite Tyrion Lannister now sports a bad ass new facial scar. Having been cleaved in the face in battle during last season’s finale, he still looks better than poor old Sandor “The Hound” Clegane. (Who also returns this season!)

Tyrion’s brother, Jaime Lannister, also appears to receive a “makeunder” this season. Without giving away too much, Ser Jaime is on track to become Westeros’ answer to Woody Harrelson’s Kingpin character, Roy Munson.

Everyone’s favorite product of incest doesn’t really get a makeover this season (or likely, a comeuppance, either). However, it seems he has a nifty new crossbow that photos show he’s been running about the castle with. Just when you think Joffrey cannot possibly get any more vile, the boy king declares, “Everyone is mine to torment.” Hoo boy!

There’s a lot to look forward to in Game of Thrones Season 3. If you haven’t caught up already, pick up the Game of Thrones Season 2 DVD to get ready for more action, drama, and dragons.

Game of Thrones Season 3 premieres Sunday March 31st at 9pm EST on HBO

With the excitement of Season 3 of HBO's wildly popular Game of Thrones series underway, Connect Your Home is giving away three (3) copies of the exquisite Season 2 Blu-ray set to three lucky Game of Thrones fans.

Here's how to enter. Use the form below to log in and enter the giveaway. Simply do one or more of the following four entry methods listed and earn up to 13 points for your best chance of winning. Good luck!

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GAME OF THRONES Season 2 Blu-ray Giveaway Official Rules

Rules on Giveaway Entry and Eligibility: The giveaway will end on May 24th, 2013 at 12:00am (the giveaway period/duration). All giveaway participants must use the Rafflecopter form to log in and enter. Each giveaway participant may complete all four entry options for the maximum number of entry points. In order to be eligible for our giveaway, you must legally reside in the United States or the District of Columbia and be 18 years of age or older. There is no purchase necessary during this giveaway. Personal information provided by all entrants such as email address will not be sold or shared with any third party. This information will remain confidential and used only to verify and contact the winner. Any and all rules pertaining to the giveaway are subject to change at any time at the discretion of Connect Your Home.

Further participation rules are as follows, but not limited to: all participants must agree to the Official Rules as mentioned. Connect Your Home, its divisions, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies are not responsible for Rafflecopter malfunctions including, but not limited to service defects, failures, errors in determining winners, amount of entry options, any human errors, defects, lost data or delivery service failures (again, not just limited to this). Connect Your Home and the aforementioned affiliates are also not responsible for participants’ inability to access the Internet or any websites, inability to operate web equipment or computer software and are not responsible for late, missing, deleted, misdirected or unreadable entries by the participants. Connect Your Home is not liable for computer or network mishandling or damage caused by participation in accessing/downloading information associated with our giveaway. Giveaways sponsored by Connect Your Home is governed by U.S. law, subject to all federal, state, and local laws. By participating in the giveaway, entrants must know that Connect Your Home, its employees, agencies, affiliates, subsidiaries, divisions and other associations connected with Connect Your Home is not responsible nor liable for damage, loss or injury (not limited to) as a result of receiving the prize or participating in the giveaway.

Who Will Win and What is the Prize?

Winner: Connect Your Home will determine three (3) winners at the end of the giveaway (end date is May 24th, 2013) and the winner will be announced by May 29th, 2013 (time TBA), via Rafflecopter. The winners of this giveaway is based completely on chance; however, the more or less you submit an eligible entry will determine your odds of winning. Three (3) winners will be selected at random through Rafflecopter provided he or she completed the entry options correctly. Should any chosen winner fail to enter an entry option correctly, a new winner will be randomly selected through Rafflecopter. Connect Your Home will ask the winners to provide their contact/mailing information so we can process the shipping and handling of the prize to the appropriate contact. The prize is not transferable; you cannot substitute the prize and cash alternatives are not allowed nor accepted. Each winner has one week to respond to our prize notification and if there is no response to Connect Your Home from the winners within one week’s period or if the contact information cannot be verified or if a winner declines the prize, then a new winner will be selected at random. Connect Your Home reserves the right to determine the winners based on the eligible participants. By participating in the giveaway, you are consenting to have Connect Your Home use your contact name in any promotional materials and on all social networking websites to announce the winner. Connect Your Home also reserves the right to have the winners sign a liability or publicity acceptance form if need be.

The prize details: The prize will be (1) Game of Thrones Season 2 Blu-ray for each winner. The winner is solely responsible for any and all taxes. Under no circumstances, unless decided upon by Connect Your Home can the prize be substituted for a different prize or cash. If for some reason there is unavailability of the prize then a prize of equal or greater value will be substituted. The winners of the Game of Thrones Season 2 Blu-ray should expect the prize to reach the contact address of the winner between 4-6 weeks, but depending on varying circumstances, it may take longer. Shipping of both prize items will come directly from the manufacturer. Connect Your Home is not responsible for lost or damaged items during transit. Connect Your Home does not offer warranty for either item and is not liable for any manufacturing defects. It is the sole responsibility of the winner to contact the manufacturer directly for all technical assistance and/or replacements.

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