Put away your replica Longclaw swords, take off your Hand of the King badges and tuck away your love/hate relationship with George R.R. Martin until next spring; Game of Thrones is finished for another year. But before the withdrawal symptoms set in (around about 9pm next Monday) lets talk about we experienced this season.
What annoys me about a lot of other Game of Thrones review pieces is that critics have a habit of always relating events and plotlines from that episode back to the source material ie: “This character may not have gotten much screen time at the moment, but fans of the books know he’ll feature quite heavily later on”. Well, I read the books two years ago, and this article is going to weigh season 3 on its own merits.
6. The Budget
Firstly, despite the absence of the clash between the White Walkers and the Night’s Watch we were teased with at the end of Season 2 (well, the visual absence) the show’s budget was put to good use this year. Yet again they filmed in three different countries at once, but we also got some fantastic set pieces, Direwolves and Dragons pretty much every episode, a Giant cameo and epic action sequences that range from Wildling fisticuffs in the mud to Daenerys conquering not one but two cities without breaking a sweat. As long as HBO spends their money this way instead of on Sex and the City movies, we all win.
Staying with Daenerys, this season was by far her most effective. She didn’t have as much of a character arc as the previous seasons, but from the moment she started yelling orders at the Unsullied and setting her dragon on the lech she’d bought them from, you could see she was a be a force to be reckoned with. The former Mrs Khal Drogo knew better than to take any shit from crude mercenaries or patronising guyliner-wearing diplomats, gained a few valuable allies and was rewarded with the closing scene of the season. Up to now, with the main body of the drama occurring in Westeros, her scenes often struck me as intervals, but no more.
4. Kings Landing Intrigue
The King’s Landing-centric storylines were somewhat toned down this season. Much of the focus was on the double-arranged marriage between Tyrion and Sansa and Cersei and Loras Tyrell. It all felt a bit rom-com. Even Joffrey appeared to have softened his psychopathic bastard routine following his engagement to Margery. We got a closer look at the dueling schemes of the apparently altruistic Varys and the scarily power hungry Littlefinger. We got to see the Queen of Thorns show how duplicitous she could be, while at the same time moaning about her bowels. And above all, we got to see that Tyrion Lannister may be the best boss in TV history. Myreenese knot, indeed.
Also, Charles Dance is awesome. That is all.