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by Alison Willmore
March 23, 2012 3:39 PM
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Need a Refresher on 'Game of Thrones'? Try This Featurette

Peter Dinklage in 'Game of Thrones' Paul Schiraldi/HBO
If you're devoting any time this weekend to delving into the back catalog of a show for a refresher (or to catch up) it's most likely "Mad Men," which makes its triumphant return on AMC on Sunday night after a long 17 months between seasons. (In brief: Advertising, infidelity, smoking, alcohol, fabulous period outfits.)

But in the off chance that Don Draper and company are not your cup of tea -- or you already know every episode of the show by heart -- HBO has provided a look ahead to "Game of Thrones," which starts its new season a week after "Mad Men" on April 1st.

The handy featurette below offers a CliffsNotes explanation of the characters and machinations of the first season, while carefully trying to position the show as a drama with universal appeal and not an exclusive genrefest. "I think it's more reality-based than fantasy, personally," muses Peter Dinklage. "I feel like there's some sort of codebook that you have to follow in fantasy. With our show, that line is very unclear."

Elsewhere, executive producer David Benioff compares settings in the series by saying "it's southern California as opposed to Alaska." Except, of course, with dragons and direwolves.

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