Fine, there's a little magic. But HBO's brand-new series Game of Thrones is more Wars of the Roses than Lord of the Rings. See, the families of Westeros can't stand each other—so don't expect any bands of unlikely companions journeying across a barren landscape while forging unfathomable bonds. Instead, prepare for an interfamilial battle royale.

And you can forget good and evil—it's all a bit of a gray area. The knight in shining armor is pretty much an egotistic killer with outstanding hair. And the requisite grandfatherly dwarf is nowhere in sight. Instead, there are characters like Peter Dinklage's (The Station Agent) Tyrion, a wise-cracking connoisseur of prostitutes, whose birth alone is an embarrassment to his family. And don't even ask about the queen. But in Westeros, living "happily ever after" means waking up with all of your favorite body parts still attached. So don't get too comfortable with the series regulars...

HBO's Game of Thrones launches its ten-episode season this Sunday, April 17 at 9 PM ET/PT.