Television Series DVD
Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season
Distributed By: HBO
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I am woefully behind in my Game of Thrones television series. Truth is, I finished Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season on DVD months ago. I just haven’t had an opportunity to tell you how I felt about it. Nor had I the opportunity to watch any more seasons of the show. Well, that’s about to change, starting with this review!
It all begins north of the Wall. Jon Snow (Kit Harington), having killed his Night’s Watchmen brother in an effort to gain the trust of the Wildlings, is brought before the King Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder (Claran Hinds). Though Rayder likes him, he must continue to prove himself without losing who he is to his cause. However, his relationship with the Wildling Ygritte (Rose Leslie) threatens one of his most sacred Night’s Watchmen vows.
Meanwhile, a recovering Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) struggles to deal with the return of his overbearing father, Tywin (Charles Dance). Despite winning the battle against Stannis Baratheon’s (Stephen Dillane) armada, the Lannisters are finding it hard to maintain their grip on the Iron Throne. Cersei (Lena Headey) feels threatened by the Lannisters new ally, House Tyrell, especially when it is announced that not only will Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) be marrying Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer), but Cersei is sworn to marry Sir Loras (Finn Jones), Margaery’s brother. As the King's Hand, Tywin is not content with reigning in his grandson or controlling his feisty daughter, he also wants to reign in his wayward son, so Tyrion is forced to marry Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), a match neither are happy with. Eldest son Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) has been freed by Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley), but is none too happy with his traveling companion Brienne of Tarth (Gwendolyn Christie), that is, until shared enemies throw their fate together.
The Starks have won every battle and yet, they find themselves losing the war. Robb Stark (Richard Madden), having broken his vow to the Freys when he married Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin), must find a way to get the Frey’s loyalty back. Especially now, with members of the army losing faith in their leader and the reported losses of his bothers Bran and Rickon. He decides to make a deal to marry his uncle to one of the Frey daughters. Lord Walder Frey (David Bradley) agrees, but there will be one hell of a price to pay for Robb’s betrayal.
Though believed dead, Bran (Isaac Hempstesad Wright) and Rickon (Art Parkinson) are still alive, traveling north toward the Wall in search of help after escaping the grasp of Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen). Mr. Greyjoy has his own troubles after being captured by Lord Bolton’s (Michael McElhatton) bastard child, Ramsay Snow (Iwan Rheon), who delights in Theon’s suffering. Arya (Maisie Williams) has survived as well, though none of her family knows it. After a brief stay with The Brotherhood Without Banners and a betrayal at their hands, she finds herself throwing in her fate with that of Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann). The Hound has left the services of the Lannisters and is striking out on his own. He believes that turning Arya over to her family will earn him a great reward.
Meanwhile, in Astapor, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is still on her quest to reclaim her title as Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms as rightful heir of the House Targaryen. She strengthens her armies through the addition of the Unsullied, an elite army of eunichs, former King’s Guard Commander Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney) and every slave she can find a way to free.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave! The third season of Game of Thrones is filled with bet betrayals, action, suspense and surprises. Jon Snow’s move to join the Wildlings and learn about them from within is startling to say the least, but his love scenes with Ygritte are quite steamy indeed. Those two have terrific chemistry. You can see how much it pains Jon to betray his vows, but at the same time, you can see him beginning to understand the actions of the Wildlings and even respect quite a few of them. Thanks to Jon Snow’s love interest, the season has garnered a new catch phrase. Whereas the previous seasons touted “Winter is coming,” this season, it’s “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” I now use this phrase in a multitude of situations at work and home.
Poor Tyrion Lannister can’t seem to catch a break. He helps beat back Stannis Baratheon’s army, but receives little in the way of praise from his father Tywin upon his return. He loses his status as King’s Hand and receives a grievous injury to boot. Then his father, scorning him for desiring Casterly Rock, decides to wed him to Sansa Stark who is no longer betrothed to the abusive Joffrey. Nevermind that he is in love with Shae (Sibel Kelkilli). And poor Sansa, long-suffering under the thumb of Joffrey and Cersei, she had thought to marry Sir Loras, but had that match snatched from her. Though one does have to laugh at Cersei’s proposed betrothal to Loras. For all of his bluster, Jaime Lannister is beginning to learn something of honor while on the road with Brienne, but at the loss of a treasured friend – his fighting hand.
Daenerys Targaryen has difficulty in Astapor and Essos, but manages to outsmart the slavers, purchasing the Unsullied, but immediately granting them freedom and turning them against their enslavers. Though she is gaining allies, she appears to be distancing herself from her staunchest supporter, Sir Jorah (Iain Glen). Her dragons are growing strong and aiding her in her quest, but for how long will she be able to control them? And with all of the new “allies” she has gained, how many of them can truly be trusted?
As for the Starks – well, they have more suffering to do, Caitlyn more so than anyone. She has lost her son, betrayed Robb, believes her sons Rickon and Bran dead, believes Arya might be as well and has no way to get to Sansa in King's Landing. Now, her father has died and Robb finds himself losing the war. Believing that marrying her brother to a Frey girl would be Robb’s best course of action, she goes along with the scheme and finds herself smack dab in the middle of a murderous plot. For those who haven’t read the books, the Red Wedding takes place during this season and it is one hell of a bloody affair. The television series keeps very close to the events of the Red Wedding portrayed in the book with only a few exceptions. I was glad of that as I felt the Red Wedding was an incredible turning point in the war for the Iron Throne. The Rains of Castamere was my favorite episode of the season thanks to the dramatic plot twists and outright betrayals leading to the deaths of many a main character (Be forewarned!).
Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season features all sorts of extras, including an In-Episode Guide; Histories and Lore of Westeros, presented in the perspectives of the various characters of the show; Roots of Westeros, which explores the relationships, alliances and conflicts of the various families of Westeros; A Gathering Storm, which is a 14-minute recap of Season 2; The Politics of Marriage, a featurette that allows the cast and crew to examine the institution of marriage as it pertains in Game of Thrones; The Rains of Castamere Unveiled, an in-depth look at the episode by cast and crew; Inside the Wildlings, a featurette that offers more insight into the background of the people beyond the Wall, plus audio commentaries, new character stories and deleted scenes. In addition, the DVD set I received contained a digital copy of the series.
I found the third season of Game of Thrones to be quite entertaining. Though it doesn’t religiously follow George R.R. Martin’s books, there is enough of the storyline to make it faithful enough to make fans of the novels very happy. The third season of Game of Thrones has everything a fan could ask for: action, fight scenes, undead, dragons, blood and guts, massive betrayals, comeuppances and more. Add to that some sexy characters and an amazing storyline and one can’t help but fall under the trance of Game of Thrones. I can’t wait to watch The Complete Fourth Season!