By Mandi Bierly
Updated September 14, 2010 at 05:25 PM EDT
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Cast and crew are hard at work on the 2011 HBO series Game of Thrones, based on the George R. R. Martin fantasy saga A Song of Ice and Fire. I have not read this addictive series yet, and frankly, the synopsis on the back cover of the first book is mildly overwhelming. But I’m intrigued. Reasons why:

1. HBO simplified the synopsis on the show’s website to break us in gently. “Summer span decades. Winters can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plots, lusts, and intrigues; to the cast and savage eastern lands; all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords, and honest men… all will play the ‘Game of Thrones.'”

2. As show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss point out in their new behind-the-scenes video embedded below, no one has ever done fantasy the HBO way. “It’s not a bloodless, sexless PG-13 tale of the eternal conflict between Good and Evil. No, ser,” they add in a note to fans on the show’s making-of site. “This tale is bloody, it’s sexy, and few of the characters can be neatly labeled Lawful Good (well, okay, maybe Ned Stark, Maester Luwin, and a few others). This stuff isn’t for kids, and the story won’t fit neatly into a two-minute trailer.”

3. In that same note, Benioff and Weiss admit they were Dungeon Masters who “ran very strict games.”

4. It’s been too long since I’ve seen Sean Bean, pictured, in something. This is like Lord of the Rings, only he has better hair.

5. Peter Dinklage!