Have you recovered from the Red Wedding yet? Hopefully you’re ready to return to Westeros because it’s time to wrap up the third season with a supersized episode intended to set-up season four.
Let’s bitch it out…Just as the ninth episode of each season of Game Of Thrones is meant to be a barn-burner, the final episode of the season traditionally resets the board for the season to come. Frequently this involves multiple characters journeying (here it’s Joe Dempsie’s Gendry), making great strides towards their goals (the death of Robb and Catelyn Stark effectively ends the war of the five kings for those in King’s Landing and Dragonstone) or reunites disparate storylines (Kit Harington’s Jon Snow is brought back to Castle Black and John Bradley’s Sam).
The end of the war is a good place to start. There are the requisite scenes at the Twins to clean up (both figuratively and literally) after the Red Wedding and provide some closure on the events of ‘The Rains of Castamere.’. Blackfish (an unseen Clive Russell), Catelyn’s uncle, has escaped while her brother Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies, also unseen) remains in the dungeon. Walder Frey (a cackling John Bradley) enthusiastically replays his victory, though it’s clarified that the only reason he and Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) went ahead with the attack is because Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) gave them the go-ahead. This despite the apparent curse that accompanies anyone who murders a guest under their roof. (Side Note: I’m betting that Isaac Hempstead Wright’s Brann recounted this delightful bedtime story because it’ll come back to bite Walder Frey, and possibly Tywin, in the ass)
The end of wartime means that things have lightened considerably. Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) can waltz right into King’s Landing without anyone blinking an eye and news of Robb’s death has King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) in the happy state he usually reserves for killing kittens. The scenes in King’s Landing in general seem to breathe a little easier, aided by almost cheerful lighting. This isn’t entirely out of the ordinary since King’s Landing is traditionally filmed in cheerful, yellowy sunshine, but the contrast is that much more obvious when we’re bouncing back and forth between it and the somber oppressiveness of Dragonstone and the Iron Islands. The sole exception is the contentious conversation between Tywin and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), which is conducted in a gloomy chamber, and Sansa Stark’s (Sophie Turner) shadowy bedchambers after she learns the latest ill-news to befall her family. (Side Note: On a show that frequently delights in the suffering of good characters, has anyone else suffered more than Sansa Stark? EW certainly doesn’t think so)
If bad things always seem to occur to Sansa, it often seems as though Davos (Liam Cunningham) brings them upon himself. Having only recently been restored to his role as The Hand to Stannis (Stephane Dillane), he immediately incurs his wrath – and a death sentence – by freeing Gendry (Joe Dempsie) rather than see him sacrificed to the Lord of Light. Who would have thought that it would be Melisandre (Carice von Houten) that would pull his a*s out of the fire? Apparently all the drama that’s occurring up on The Wall with the White Walkers is enough to convince everyone in Dragonstone that it’s time to shift priorities. Now that the War of the 5 Kings has come to a close, it appears that Stannis, Davos and Melisandre will turn their attention North for the next looming conflict.
To be continued in S4…
- After a season of beatings, flayings and cutting off of penises, Theon’s (Alfie Allen) captor is finally revealed to be Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), the bastard son of Roose Bolton. For those of us who failed to find meaning in the continued torture of Theon throughout S3, ‘Mhysa’ fails to provide enlightenment. Although we end the season with Theon’s adoption of a new name, Reek, and his father, Balon (Patrick Malahide) has received his c*ck in the mail along with an ultimatum to withdraw his forces, it still feels unimportant. I’ll admit that if this recent turn of events means more Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) then I’m good with that, but overall it feels like we wasted a lot of time watching Theon tied to a cross this season
- My favourite scene of the night has to go to the siblings Lannister: Cersei (Lena Headey) tries to convince Tyrion to consummate his marriage so that Sansa can find happiness in their child, a role she cherishes despite how terrible Joffrey has become. As much as I love the cattiness between these two (and there’s more than a few humdingers here), there’s also a tenderness to their relationship. They’ve both been mistreated by life (he for him impishness and she for her womanhood), but they’re proud and strong characters. I wonder what they might have accomplished had they worked more together instead of at odds with one another?
- Speaking of zingers and their delights, how fantastic is Tywin’s takedown of Joffrey during the council meeting. My only lament? The boy king didn’t end up getting slapped (Side Note: I love how Game Of Thrones makes me actively cheer for a teenage boy to be beaten)
- Possibly the most important scene of the evening is the private conversation between Shae (Sibel Kekili) and Lord Varys (Conleth Hill), who basically throws a sack of coins at her and tells her to get the hell out of town – in the nicest way possible. Is Varys planning something? He certainly seems to think Tyrion has a destiny. I wasn’t sure if Sibel misinterprets and thinks that he’s acting on behalf of Tyrion, or if she’ll only leave if she hears it from Tyrion, but whatever her reasons, she’s sticking around. Wanna bet this is a bad decision?
- I continue to love Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and her ability to bring out the best in men. Is her sneak attack at the campfire really the first time she’s killed someone with her own hands? Perhaps it’s just that she’s had a man to kill for her that I’m surprised at this fact. While her sudden attack on the bashful man is a little shocking, consider he and the others are boasting about mounting Grey Wolf’s head on Robb’s body, I’m going to have to say that they had it coming
- Dany’s (Emilia Clarke) appearance amounts to little more than a cameo at the end of the episode. The act of freeing Yunkai grants her thousands more followers who bestow upon her the title Mhysa, or Mother. She then does a bit of crowdsurfing, thereby ending the season in the best position of all of our characters
- Finally, Brann and company have successfully found their route through The Wall courtesy of Sam and Gilly. Bonus points: they’re now armed with obsidian daggers for their long journey into White Walker territory. Still, I have to say that I’m more of a coward like Sam because there’s no way in hell that I’d be heading into danger the way this group is!
- Tyrion (when he sees how excited Joffrey is): “Killed a few puppies today?”
- Gendry (to Davos, describing how he ended up with Melisandre): “Big words, no clothes. What would you have done?”
- Tyrion (to Podrick): “It’s not easy being drunk all the time. If it was, everyone would do it.”
That’s a wrap on S3. What are your thoughts? Which storyline worked the best for you these past ten episodes? Upon reflection, do you feel the Theon scenes were worthwhile? Are you excited to see Stannis pursue a different venture? Can you believe that Ygritte (Rose Leslie) actually pumped three arrows into Jon? Do you care about Dany’s adventures freeing slaves across the Narrow Sea? Hit the comments below
*Please remember: this is a spoiler free zone. You are welcome to discuss events from the show, but refrain from discussing the books or Internet rumours.
Game Of Thrones has now completed its third season. It will return in the Spring of 2014 on HBO