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It has been a long year already and I, for one, was ready for the return of the dragons.

Roaring, fire-breathing, snarling, wing-flapping, sheep-and/or-people-eating, scaly, sharp-toothed dragons.

Like most rational Americans, I have spent the past several weeks praying that the world would not end before Sunday's season premiere of HBO's "Game of Thrones."

I needed the dragons, man. I needed to see some people with giant swords lopping off parts of other people with giant swords while someone called the Mother of Dragons wipes the sand with the men who doubt her. I need some weird magic stuff and some intrigue that doesn't involved the name "Trump."

And my great fear, lo these past many weeks, as I awaited a television show that, before Sunday’s season premiere, felt like it last aired 20 years ago, was that something cataclysmic would come along and screw everything up.

The president would accidentally drop a nuke on Canada and the ensuing war would botch up my satellite signal.

The Earth would crash into the sun.

A giant iceberg would break off from Antarctica and destroy the planet. (The first part of that actually happened a couple of days before Sunday’s premiere, but fortunately the giant hunk of ice lacks planet-destroying capability. Thank God for wimpy giant icebergs.)

'Game of Thrones' premiere! Winter is here!

Whether you're a fan of the show or not, let me bring you up to speed on what's happening in the "Game of Thrones" world: I have no clue. And I'm not exaggerating. If you strapped me to the Iron Throne and belted me with the hilt of a sword, I could not tell you what is happening in this show that I have watched religiously.

I can't remember what I wrote one paragraph ago (was it something about dragons?), so the odds of me accurately recounting the plot line of a wildly complex fantasy tale are slim to none.

The truth is, I have little to no idea what's going on. There are seven kingdoms and umpteen families and key characters dying right and left and a weird kid whose eyes roll up in his head a lot and bad guys who seem good and good guys who seem bad and Lannisters and Targaryens and Baratheons and Kardashians. (Not sure if that last one's right.)

It's baffling. The only way I could possibly figure out what the hell is going on is if I read the George R.R. Martin books the show is based on, but those things are massive and watching television is way better than reading so there's no way that's going to happen.

And you know what? It doesn't matter. About 90 percent of the time I'm not totally clear on what's happening or why someone is chopping something off someone else, but it's still AWESOME and I don't care whether it makes a lick of sense.

If you were to transcribe what's happening in my brain during an episode of "Game of Thrones" it would go something like this: "What? What? Who's that? SWORD FIGHT! What? What? Why? HOLY CRAP, IT'S A DRAGON! What? Huh? Why would ... OH MY GOD HIS HEAD GOT CHOPPED OFF! What? NAKED PERSON! What? What? DRAGONS AGAIN! WOO-HOOO!"

I'm in a state of blissful Westeros ignorance because I gave up long ago trying to understand the show's intricate storylines and settled for just enjoying the heck out of watching some big honking dragons fly around and listening to the thwip-thwip-thwip of arrows killing god knows who.

I know many have a much deeper understanding of "Game of Thrones." I'm sure I sound unworthy to those folks, and for that I apologize.

But life is complicated on its own, and my brain is tired. And I like seeing dragons soar across the sky, for whatever reason.

I, and I'd venture to say most Americans, need a fantasy fix and the joy that can only come from watching a fire-belching dragon wipe out a phalanx of ... I don't know ... Lannisters? Urlachers?

Whatever.

My brain hurts. Just keep showing me those darn dragons.

— Rex Huppke is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Readers may email him at rhuppke@chicagotribune.com.

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