[SPOILER ALERT]With both King Robert Baratheon and his staunch advisor Eddard Stark, the Hand of King, brutally deposed, and that sociopathic tween with the pond scum haircut, King Joffrey, on the Iron Throne, five former Lords proclaim themselves Kings as the contending forces begin a long process of winnowing, eliminating the weakest contenders one by one.

On the screen, even more than on the page, the details of this process soon begin to blur, furnishing a tumultuous backdrop frieze against which the disconnected adventures of several compelling characters stand out in bold relief. It helps that each of them has the flavor of a slightly different genre of popular storytelling: we’re instantly situated emotionally as well as geographically whenever the scenes change.

The delicious backroom skullduggery of the most entertaining plotter in contemporary culture, Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister, who relishes every twist of the knife, is the distillation of every account of business, political and gangster sharp practice you’ve ever savored. The outcast bastard hero Jon Snow will be heading into noir territory this season, even more deeply than in season one. And Daenerys Targaryen’s Arabia Deserta-style expedition across the Red Waste, with her three infant dragons and that manliest of lovelorn noble knights, Iain Glenn’s Jorah Mormont, continues to deliver first-rate romantic heroic fantasy.

My advice is, roughly, to love the one you’re with. Enjoy the latest installment of whichever story happens in front of you, and allow the big picture to take care of itself. Relax, people. You’re in good hands.