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In photos: Can’t wait for Mad Men? 5 reasons you should try Game of Thrones

Mad Men junkies still have to wait a week for the two-hour Season 6 premiere, but in the meantime, you might as well get hooked on another show with betrayal, bloodshed and loads of inappropriate sex (one that returns with its third season Sunday). Here is a Game of Thrones primer for the Mad Men crowd.

1 of 5

Don Draper is Jaime Lannister. Damaged – check; devilishly handsome – obviously; harbouring a secret that could cause their respective realities to implode at any moment – most definitely. The Mad Men audience learns the truth about Don Draper’s true identity early on, so the tension becomes, when will everyone else find out? Similarly, Jaime’s affair with his twin sister the Queen came out in the series premiere, so again, we get to sit back and watch him squirm. Both men are prime examples of cable TV’s current darling – the anti-hero. Don is known for his cutthroat approach to advertising, while Jaime is known for cutting throats, including that of a previous monarch, which earned him his nickname, the Kingslayer. Common signature: simmering self-loathing.

Photo montage by The Globe and Mail/AP/Handout

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Peggy Olson is Arya Stark. Both are brave, independent and unfettered by the gender norms of their day. Peggy competes gamely with the boys at the ad firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, while Arya is forced to take the whole woman-in-a-man’s-world thing one step further, disguising herself as a boy in order to escape the evil king (the one who put her dad’s head on a spike). Peggy’s sword is her pen, while Arya’s sword is, well, a sword. Both characters provide a virtuous foil to the many morally bankrupt characters that surround them. Peggy is perhaps a little more self-serving, but give Arya time – she’s only 9. Common signature: unfortunate haircuts

Photo montage by The Globe and Mail/AMC/Handout

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Joan Harris is Daenerys Targaryen: There’s nothing wrong with using certain female advantages to get what you want, or at least that’s the key common ground between Joan Harris (Queen Bee at Sterling Cooper) and Daenerys, who becomes the Khaleesi, literal Queen of the Dothraki horse warriors and one of the many Game of Thrones characters fighting for control of the Seven Kingdoms. In what remains the most memorable moment of Thrones TV history, Daenerys became mother to three fire-breathing baby dragons, so she, like Joan, knows that having kids comes with a whole new whack of responsibilities. She will do whatever it takes to get what she wants, a concept that is certainly not unfamiliar to Joan. Common signature: chest-accenting wardrobe

Photo montage by The Globe and Mail/AMC/Keith Bernstein

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Roger Sterling is Tyrion Lannister. Both characters are a compelling mix of bravado, self-doubt and searing wit – which is why we are willing to forgive them their baser instincts. Both men use humour to deflect from complicated relationships with physicality and mortality: Roger has survived two heart attacks, whereas Tyrion was born a dwarf and caused his mother’s death during delivery. Like Roger, Tyrion is a master manipulator, a gifted orator and he knows how to hold it together after a three-goblet lunch. Common signature: killer one-liners

Photo montage by The Globe and Mail/Handout/Helen Sloan

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Betty Draper is Cersei Lannister. Motherhood isn’t for everyone, particularly if you picked the wrong baby daddy, which is most likely the case for Betty Draper, and most definitely the case for Cersei Lanister, the widowed Queen whose children are the offspring of a not-so-secret affair with her brother. Betty is a terrible parent because she can barely tolerate her brood most of the time, while Cersei uses her children as pawns in her own game of selfish ambition. Both are unthinkably harsh: If you thought Betty slapping Sally was bad, you should see Cersei lecture her son’s girlfriend about the power “between your legs.” Common signature: frostiness, drinking problem

Photo montage by The Globe and Mail/Handout/Helen Sloan

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