This mythical world of seven kingdoms, Winterfell, the White Walkers, feuding families, and protracted seasons no longer has novelty to stand on, and yet Episode 3, Lord Snow, was just as pulse-pounding and riveting as anything we’ve seen.

What began as a brilliant, fascinating attraction has sustained its momentum through pure virtuosity, earning the clear rights to the phrase, “finest show on television.” Game of Thrones is a series that – thus far – has proceeded without flaw, and continues to make use of compelling source material to dazzle viewers and leave them hopelessly addicted. Why can it not be Sunday already for Episode 4???

Picking up right where The Kingsroad (Episode 2) left off, Ned Stark is now at Kings Landing, Jon Snow is training for the Night Watch, and the Targaryens continue to move west with their Dothraki horsemen. These three main plot lines are weaved in and out artistically like a Bosch triptych, paced perfectly and transitioned with superlative skill. Because all three focal points are equally enthralling, the suspense roars in triple; the viewer desperately wants to know what will happen in one story arc, but does not mind shifting to another where the same eager feeling pervaded before. To make an analogy, it would be as if a reader pulled out his/her three favorite books and read them at the same time, shuffling from one to the next without disappointment. Thrones has been just THAT good!

There is plenty of scheming going on, with most characters embodying a lighter or shadier color on a gray spectrum, but one heroine has emerged as angelically white as Kate Middleton in a wedding dress: Arya Stark (Maisie Williams). The little, tomboyish daughter represents all of Ned Stark’s best qualities, with a little extra fire and grit. Think of a softer Mattie Ross from True Grit, with a profound understanding of the decaying world around her, and yet she also displays youthful exuberance and a great love for all things good. She does not just fight for good: she is goodness personified, capable of standing up to a sniveling prince and jumping into the arms of her loving, bastard half-brother. She can fight with a sword and make it seem like a “dance,” and then smile like a child who stumbles upon something magical. A wonder to behold, her character is developed in extraordinary fashion.

And then we have Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke), the silver-haired beauty who is now discovering the perks of her ill-begotten marriage. Her despicable brother may have forced her to wed the leader of the Dothraki, but she is finally finding her inner voice. We still don’t know what will come of her newfound influence, but her transformation from meek, emotionless subservient to I-am-worth-something force is beautiful to observe. Winter is coming, but Daenerys warms herself to Thrones fans every scene.

Lastly, we have Jon Snow (Kit Harington) in his plight to discover himself north of the wall, assisted by the ever-so-likable dwarf, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage). Over the course of his career, Dinklage has played a number of intriguing characters (The Station Agent, for one), but he has really come into his own as the sharp-witted Lannister runt, scheming at something genius. It’s still not clear what he’s up to, but I sincerely hope it’s something good. He does make you want to like him so much.

Three episodes through, there are two things we can say with absolute certainty: winter is coming, and you should ABSOLUTELY be watching Game of Thrones.

Adam Spunberg is an associate editor at Picktainment and founder of the Austen Twitter Project. Email him at adam@picktainment.com or tweet @AdamSpunberg.