When I was a wee boy a friend of the family was staying with us. The best way to describe her is as a Wodehousian-aunt like figure. I must have been well behaved (I was once) because she brought me two small booklets of Greek myths. It was from such wonderful beginnings that my love of history and fantasy began.
But that love faded over time. Trite story lines, two dimensional characters, and predictable plots drove me from fantasy for several years. Then I read Game of Thrones and George R. R. Martin rekindled that love and reminded me that fantasy can be so much more. I thinks it is great, and for the last couple of years HBO has been bringing it to the screen.
My partner and I had a marathon to catch up and it was full of candles, roast meat, wine. I have to recommend a good marathon especially over winter. As requested here is my take on Season 3.
WARNING SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW
Season three takes us beyond the wall with Jon and the crows seeking out the King of the North, the civil war between the Starks, GreyJoys, Lannisters and Baratheons and the uncivil war in the royal court between Tyrion, Cersei, along with the introduction of the Tyrells. Last, but not least Daenerys Targaryen and her struggle for power to reclaim the iron throne. There is so much to talk about I will touch on the major Characters:
I think Jon has a long way to go yet, and he might just survive this. I thought Harington plays the young Snow very well, he balances vulnerability and strength equally when needed. The scenes with Rose Leslie were very good, although she definitely wears the trousers in the relationship. I am sure we haven't seen the last of her. Mackenzie Crook gave a good performance of the Warg Orell.
Robb and Catelyn Stark
Bran and Rickon Sark
Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Rickon (Art Parkinson) have escaped the Greyjoys and met up with the enigmatic Reeds. Bran is learning more and more about his dreams and discovers that he is a warg, someone that can possess animals. Following the Reeds counsel he sends Rickon away with Oosha for safety while he heads over the wall north. Bran meets up with Sam Tarly on his way back and Sam tells them that Dragon glass can kill the white walkers. Brans story is interesting and I am curious to see where it goes. Poor old Rickon doesn't have much of a storyline but if Bran is the new lord of Winterfell, then Rickon is his heir, so I suspect given the next books to come out of Martin are an estimated 3000 pages he will come back. Also in the storyline the body count continues with Maester Luwin dying (veteran actor Donald Sumpter).
Brave little Aryra is out of the frying pan into the fire. Her alliance with the assassin Jaqen got her and her friends freedom from the Lannisters, only to be captured (again) by the Brotherhood Without Banners. They intended to ransom her to the Tullys but after they sold her friend Gendry to Melisandre, she runs off. Only to be captured by the Hound who intends to return her to her mother. Arya has been captured more times than Daphine from Scooby Doo! Faced with the slaughter of her entire family she has some names, a coin and a promise. I can’t wait to see where it leads.
Probably the least favourite character of the series, poor old Sansa is vilified for not being Arya, Robb or Danerys or even Cersei. I have a soft spot for Sansa who learned at her cost the dangers of court. Yes of course it was her foolish confession to Cersei that brought about her fathers capture, but I think she has paid for that mistake somewhat. She is a lonely abused girl who is trying her best to survive with what she has. She has not wit, or armies or friends, well friends that she can trust. If she could not marry into the Tyrell, then her marriage to Tyrion is actually a blessing. Not that you can blame her for seeing otherwise, marrying into the family who orchestrated the murder of her family. I wonder if she will survive them all.
Stannis Baratheon and Matthis the Onion knight.
Matthis and the red priestess battle for Stannis’s soul as he battles for the realm. Unrelenting Stannis is defeated by the Lannisters when Lord Tywin arrives in the nick of time to rout his army. Matthis struggles to keep his king out of the light and human sacrifice on the road of human decency. Unfortunately for the onion Knight Melisandre has something to offer the king that Matthis doesn’t in the way of a compelling argument, wink wink. But the question remains was the death of Robb foretold by Melisandre the work of her god, or was it coincidence?
Tyrion with his wit, intelligence and compassion is easily a favourite. Peter Dinklage plays the part exceptionally well and makes the character more likeable than he is in the books. His compassion for Sansa brings out open defiance against Jofferys madness and cruelty. Tyrion gets some of the best lines and despite his best attempts to do his duty to his house and the security of the Kingdom, he ends up in a small room disfigured and neglected with his father taking all the glory. But he is not alone. Jaime is maimed but, unlike Tyrion, his disfigurement appears to ground him. The Kingslayer forms a curious friendship (Starkhome syndrome?) with his captor Brienne of Tarth. Removed of his wealth, his father’s protection and the love affair with his sister, Jaime turns out to be a decent sort of fellow. The beautiful Cersei on the other hand has no respect from her father, no lover, and only her last child to dote on, and is turning even meaner.
In scenes that probably gave Quentin Tarrentino wood, Theon is being tortured by the rather psychotic Ramsey Snow, the illegitimate son of Lord Roose Boltan after his men betray him and leave him to the Starks justice. Despised by everyone in Westeros but his sister Yara, who is moved by her little brothers torture to go and get him.
In this season the mother of dragons, through her wits and guiles, amasses a small army. In a brilliant move the destitute queen trades a dragon for an elite army from a slaver. The unsullied are an almost unstoppable force of highly skilled and disciplined warriors that obey without question. Once they followed Daenerys she ordered them to kill all the slavers, and for the dragon to kill the slavers. Daenerys is a great character, strong, compassionate, clever and also ruthless. She is everything Cersei wants to be in a queen but is too crazy to be. Daenerys is methodically conquering the land and has slightly lost sight of the Iron Throne in order to destroy the slaver city states but her dragons are growing and if she dallies any more there will be no one left to conquer.
So finally we get Lady Olenna Tyrell one of my favorite characters from the books. Yes the Queen of Thorns is an excellent addition to the story and fences with Lord Varys, Lord Tywin and Tyrion. Diana Rigg has brought the character to life and I am excited to see more of her. Her grand daughter Margaery Tyrell (the delicious Natalie Dormer) befriends Sansa, and charms the mental Joffery much to Cersei's displeasure. The Tyrell enter the game of thrones late but make a strong bid for the game. The Lannisters kept them at bay for now by marrying Sansa off to Tyrion. But who knows what will happen in season 4. Hopefuly more Lady Olenna and and Lady Margaery. Oh yeah Loras flounced around blah.
There was blood, and mud and bottoms galore. Oh a special mention should go to Lord Varys for possibly the creepiest scene ever. Well done Varys. The series are great and in some ways better than the books. I can't wait for season 4.
And wrap up because winter is bloody well here!