Game of Thrones Season 3 Recap and Review
Last night, the third season of quite possibly television's best show, Game of Thrones, came to an end in epic fashion. The third season saw betrayal, heartbreak, triumph, and world changing events unfold in the series' turning point. Characters changed forever. Beloved characters lost their lives. Others found new hope.
One of the main storylines of this season was obviously the ongoing War of the Five Kings. Stannis Baratheon's army was decimated at the Battle of the Blackwater and the Lannisters got firm control of the throne. Even though Robb Stark's army had never lost a battle, they were still losing the war as the Lannister's power grew in the south. Robb tries to gain an advantage that would allow him to take Casterly Rock from the Lannisters by reaching a partnership with Walder Frey, who's daughter he was supposed to marry but married Talisa instead. Under the condition that Edmure Tully marry one of his daughters in Robb's place, Walder Frey agrees to pledge his allegiance to Robb Stark. At the wedding, Frey's men slaughter Stark's men. Talisa is brutally killed, Robb is riddled with arrows and killed by Roose Bolton, and Catelyn Stark has her throat cut. Robb's entire army is destroyed and the war is virtually won for the Lannisters, who reached an agreement with Walder Frey and Roose Bolton, the latter whom was named the new Warden of the North.
For those who hadn't read the book or had no knowledge of these events through research, the Red Wedding came as a total shock that hit fans at their core. People were angry, sad, and sometimes ecstatic at the fact that such a bold event occurred. The impact of the Red Wedding itself was gripping. I watched in shock and horror as some of the few remaining heroes in the show were massacred. The scene was very well done and carried the emotional impact needed for such a scene to be pulled off. This one event is the turning point for this world. The bad guys win because of this act of betrayal, at least for now. The bad guys winning has been a huge trait for this show so far. Every time the Lannisters look like they're on the ropes, something happens that gives them victory, even if they technically lose. For an audience that is mostly used to seeing the good guys win, this is one of the aspects of this series that keeps drawing people in because it is so different than what is normally seen by the viewing public. The good guys always win in entertainment, but not in George R. R. Martin's world. In his world, the most powerful are the ones who triumph and the most powerful ones are the most evil.
One of the other main storylines follows the Lannister family themselves as they ruled the land from withing the walls of the Red Keep. Geoffry Baratheon is still the king. His grandfather, Tywin Lannister, is now the Hand of the King and arguably the real ruler of the realm. Cersei continues her fued with Tyrion and Tyrion deals with his disintegrating position within the family and his relationship with Shae. After Margeary Tyrell agrees to marry the king, Sansa Stark grows close with her and Margeary tries to set her up with Loras Tyrell, the former lover of Renly Baratheon, that way Sansa can escape the Lannisters. Tywin sniffs out this plot and marries Sansa to Tyrion and Cersei to Loras, to the dismay of both Lannister children. These events show how Tyrion may be a Lannister but he is nothing like them seeing as he's the only one with a heart and a desire to actually do some good instead of trampling over anyone who may be a threat to the family and the throne.
Peter Dinklage continues to be the standout among standouts as Tyrion Lannister. His performance gets more amazing the longer he's in the role. He encompasses everything that Tyrion is and challenges everything that he doesn't want to be. Tyrion is a Lannister by name only. It's sometimes hard to watch how he constantly gets screwed over after everything he did to save the same people in Season 2. That's a testament to how great Dinklage is. He makes you feel it all just as much as his character does. Charles Dance is still in great form as the ruthless, but logical, Tywin Lannister, who manages to make every single ruthless and cruel action make perfect sense with his infallibly evil logic. Geoffrey still makde me wish that he was dead as he continuously tried to come up with sadistic act after sadistic act only to be reigned in by his family. Sophie Turner continues to be a heartbreaking sight as the broken Sansa. To see her unable to escape from being the peace of meat she's treated as is tough to see. I can't wait to see Sansa and Tyrion break away from the Lannisters, even if they're not the greatest of scenarios.
The other main storyline of the season was the continuing adventures of Daenerys Targaryen as she tries to find an army that will deliver her the Iron Throne. She buys the Unsullied, an army of eunuch soldiers, and lays waste to the city of Astapor. She frees the slaves of the city and attempts to do the same at the city of Yunkai, she eventually succeeds and the slaves of Yunkai join her on her journey.
Dany makes a transition in this season. She takes a giant leap into the queen that she wants to be and behaves as such. She doesn't take any flack from anyone and doesn't blink an eye when it comes to taking a life if it threatens her. However, she still remains benevolent as she frees every slave she comes across in Astapor and Yunkai. She wins the people just as she wins battles. That's going to be important for her going forward as she continues to evolve into a future queen. The inclusion of Ser Beristan Selmy into her inner circle was a nice moment where the world's finally crossed paths. Emilia Clarke continues to deliver as Dany and adequately captures her journey from scared child to fierce leader.
The other storylines see Jon Snow get tangled up with the Wildlings and begin a relationship with Ygritte. Stannis Baratheon prepares for his next offensive and uses Melisandre's magic and the blood of Gendry to destory his enemies. He later hears news that confirms his vision at the end of Season 2 of a great battle in the snow. Bran, Osha, Rickon, and Hodor, encounter Jojen and Meera Reed. Jojen reveals to Bran that he is a warg who can enter the minds of animals and even people. Bran's journey ends with him deciding to go north of the wall to find the one-eyed raven. Theon Greyjoy endures the torture of a lifetime at the hands of Ramsay Bolton. Arya continues her evolution into the killer she wants to be as she encounters the Brotherhood Without Banners and disgraced knight, Sandor Clegane. Jamie Lannister finally made it back to King's Landing after being assisted by Brienne of Tarth. Samwell Tarly helps Gilly escape Crastor, the Knight's Watch mutiny, and White Walkers.
All actors involved did fantastic jobs in their roles. It was great to see some of these storylines blend such as Bran and co. being in the tower and actually helping Jon Snow escape the Wildlings, Samwell Tarly and Gilly running into Bran, Beristan Selmy joining Dany, and Gendry being used as a guinea pig for Stannis' war. The handling of each storyline has been very impressive throughout the entire show. There's a lot that goes on in the world of Westeros and the showrunners do a very good job at covering the right bases and giving enough attention to everything and everyone who is important. It will be interesting to see how the future storylines are handled as they span multiple books and include a slew of new characters. I believe that each storyline will be accurately portrayed and will continue the greatness that has already been scene from this series.
There are no signs of decline for this show and it continues to impress more and more as it goes on. I hope that the books are finished in time so that the show can have a proper ending and I hope that the battle at the wall will be fully shown like the Battle of the Blackwater in the next season. Season 3 will undoubtedly be nominated for every Golden Globe and Emmy that it's up for and the future looks bright, assuming that George R. R. Martin and HBO stay on the same page.