Those who have watched the previous two seasons of Game of Thrones will not be disappointed with the latest season. It is crammed with everything you will have come to love the series for: fighting, betrayal, blood, sex, dragons, shocking twists, plotting, Peter Dinklage, and revenge. And for those who have never watched this latest phenomenon: why are you depriving yourselves? I cannot emphasise how strongly you are missing out on a seriously enjoyable series, and the third season is no exception to this.
Continuing straight from where the previous season left off, season 3 focuses mainly on the events in Kings Landing. The Lannisters and the Tyrells have formed an alliance, but, in true Game of Thrones fashion, both families are still plotting to outdo each other. In the North, Robb Stark (Richard Madden) is starting to run into trouble with his war campaign, and across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is attempting to amass an army of her own. Considering that all this, plus the other sub-plots, must be squeezed into ten hour-long episodes, I must applaud the writers for getting the balance almost right. I say ‘almost’ due to the unnecessary, lengthy scenes of toe-curling torture which, in this season alone, seem to serve no purpose other than pushing another boundary that most shows wouldn’t dare cross.
Although this series has some truly memorable scenes, most of which include Daenerys and her dragons, I was disappointed with the lack of an exciting build-up. Whereas season 2 had the intense ‘Battle of Blackwater’, which was hyped up throughout the entire season, season 3 did not give the viewer anything to impatiently anticipate, besides a few upcoming weddings. And we all know that weddings are not going to be filled with the same horror, tension, shock, spurting blood and deaths that a battle will have. Right? Instead, we are treated to a complete u-turn of opinions about certain characters, which I must once again applaud the writers for. Personally, I have always been eager for Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to get his just desserts, ever since he pushed Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) out of the window in the very first episode. But while watching season 3, I found that I wanted him to emerge victorious from his situation. Likewise, I regret hoping that Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) would get what he deserves.
But the true joy of this series comes from watching Daenerys come into power. For the first time in the series, the viewer realises that she is a strong, likely candidate to take the Iron Throne. Peter Dinklage is also an absolute favourite as Tyrion Lannister. I could even say that it is worth watching season 3 purely to see his character deliver witty lines. Along with the already large cast, there are also some new, noteworthy characters who deserve recognition. Diana Rigg is excellent as Olenna Tyrell, and Iwan Rheon may steal ‘most unpleasant character’ from Jack Gleeson’s Joffrey Baratheon with his performance as Ramsay Snow.
Unfortunately, my main criticism of the season is derived from the ending. In season 1, we were left with Daenerys emerging from the fire with her three dragons. Season 2 chilled us all with the uncountable numbers of whitewalkers marching towards the Wall. But in season 3, we are not left with a particularly nail-biting cliffhanger, or any cliffhanger at all, really. In fact, we realise that we are in almost the exact same position as we were at the end of season 2: dreading the arrival of the whitewalkers. So what actually happened in season 3, besides another candidate for the Iron Throne being removed? In a way, the entire season seemed to be mostly a build-up for season 4. This does not mean that the season was bad, of course, only that it was slightly less epic than season 2.
Despite this criticism, season 3 of Game of Thrones is still something that should be watched. It will have you cheering, gasping, flinching, cringing, weeping, and completely re-evaluate your opinion of weddings. And now begins the long, impatient wait for season 4. And for the first time in the series, I am completely unsure of what to expect next.