Television Revision: Game of Thrones – Season 3

Game of Thrones S3

By Andrew Williams
August 20, 2013

Television Revision is a weekly feature in which our tuned in TV critic trawls through the best the box has to offer, giving you a primer on some of history’s finest shows (and warning you away from the specific episodes – or even seasons! – that might have ruined their reputation).

Now, this is a story all about how… Honestly, I have no damn idea how to sum up what happens in this season with a single sentence, but, suffice it to say, there are a lot of people in a lot of different places and a lot of them are in the midst of a war. Magic! Dragons! Nudity! You know the drill.

Game of Thrones S3

Happy days? The third season of Game of Thrones delivered another of the show’s signature water cooler moments (offices around the country were frantically buying extra water coolers, such was the demand) and perhaps more importantly, the show’s most thematically satisfying season to date. While it might go down in pop culture history for that traumatic Red Wedding, it’s what the third season had to say about the nature of nobility and sacrifice that provided the most thrills.

Beneath Game of Thrones’ graphically violent and frequently naked surface, simple conversations between well-drawn characters tend to provide the real highlights. Season Three builds satisfyingly on plenty of relationships with huge potential: the Kingslayer Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and noble knight Brienne (Gwendoline Christie); the (mostly) dastardly Hound (Rory McCann) and the ever more fascinating Arya Stark (Maisie Williams); the maligned son Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and his cruel father Tywin (Charles Dance), to name just a few. Some duos don’t work quite as well – the unending torture of poor Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) might still be going on in a deleted scene somewhere – but amidst all this plot it’s the characters of Game of Thrones that continue to make this one of the best shows on TV.

The final frontier: I’ve always loved the way Game of Thrones is able to tell its story. Yet, this is the first time the story has had the kind of thematic resonance needed to bring the show to the next level. It’s another great season for this remarkable series.

Game of Thrones S3

Top three episodes: 4) And Now His Watch Is Ended. After the ‘Where are my dragons?’ missteps of Season Two, Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen gets back on track, ending this fantastic episode with my favourite scene of the season. 9) The Rains of Castemere. Another amazing ninth episode, as REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED. 7) The Bear and the Maiden Fair. Does what it says on the tin, but perhaps not in the way you might expect.

Worst episode: 8) Second Sons. Not exactly a horrible episode in a very consistent season of television. However, it would be nice to see the lead-up to the now-famous ninth episode of each season of Thrones ratchet up the tension rather than easing it. There’s a great scene at the end though.

Season MVP: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s character Jaime ended the pilot episode by pushing a small child out of a high window after being caught having sex with his sister. Thirty episodes later, Jaime is practically the closest thing the show has to a romantic hero. I can’t think of another series (or actor) that’s been able to pull off that kind of remarkable story arc, and it’s a huge testament to Coster-Waldau’s talents as an actor.

4.5/5

Check out Andrew Williams’ previous instalments:

Television Revision: Game of Thrones – Season 1

Television Revision: Game of Thrones – Season 2

Game of Thrones is available on Quickflix.

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