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What Crawls Out of Nightmares: GAME OF THRONES, Season 3, Review


No S3 Spoilers


Based in part on the first half of A Clash of Kings, Book 3 of George R. R. Martin’s best-selling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, the third season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, created and written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, the stories of the inhabitants of Westeros and the Lands beyond continue. Love, power, and betrayal are its major themes as the War of the Five Kings intensifies. The third season of Game of Thrones gets viewers more intimately involved with the peripheral characters, bringing them to the forefront.

Season 3

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Though there are multiple, ultimately converging storylines, the excellent writing and powerful acting keep the viewers engaged without confusing them. Even the scene transitions flawlessly guide viewers from one character — or group of characters — to another, and back again. The acting is riveting, with some previously minor characters taking center stage, and some previously “evil” characters gaining the sympathy of the audience.

The Lannisters


The head of House Lannister, Tywin (Charles Dance, above L) fights the rebels, takes his position as the Hand of King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson, above, center), and brokers political marriages for his daughter Cersei (Lena Headey, above R) and his youngest son Tyrion (Peter Dinklage, below L).

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The eldest son of the House Lannister, Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, below L), accompanied by the Knight, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie, below R), struggles to return to King’s Landing to be reunited with his family.

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Tywin’s grandson, King Joffrey, becomes more unmanageable as his latent violent tendencies surface.

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Who will rule in King’s Landing? The Lannisters or the Tyrells?

The Starks

House Stark

Robb (Richard Madden) — the King of the North — is winning every battle against Tywin and the House Lannister, yet he cannot seem to win the war. When Lady Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) sets hostage Jaime Lannister free in an attempt to bargain for her daughters, her son Robb declares her a traitor.

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 Robb further isolates himself from his own military forces by breaking his oath to one of his Bannermen, Lord Walder Frey, causing enmity within the ranks and setting the stage for unforseen difficulties. Eventually, Robb needs the help of his mother’s brother, Edmure (Tobias Menzies) to try and solve these problems.


Sansa (Sophie Turner), now abandoned by King Joffrey but not permitted to leave the capitol, tries to maneuver the dangerous political environment while staying out of Joffrey’s increasingly cruel grasp.


Hunted by the House Lannister as well as by anyone who thinks he can profit from ransom, Arya (Maisie Williams, below, center) hides among runaways, thieves, and murderers as she travels to her home in the north. She pretends to be a boy: a dangerous charade for a girl too young to defend herself.

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Despite warnings from the Wildling Osha, Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), accompanied by his younger brother, treks toward the North beyond the Wall in an attempt to understand and fulfill his prophetic dreams.


The members of Stark House are fighting for survival, but each person’s survival might endanger another’s in the same family.

The Targaryens


With her dragons growing, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is still raising an army so that she can return to Westeros and claim the Iron Throne of her father. Betrayed by virtually everyone she encounters, she must learn whom she can trust, if anyone. Her dragons, once thought extinct, are coveted by virtually everyone who wants ultimate power. Can Daenerys retake the throne?

The Baratheons

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With the help of the witch Melisandre (Carice van Houten), Stannis uses black magic to murder his younger brother Renly and to restore his military standing. Stannis (Stephen Dillane, below) is willing to commit any atrocity in order to sit on the Iron Throne. But will his followers stay loyal?


The Greyjoys


After Theon’s (Alfie Allen) treachery at Wintefell, he finds himself betrayed by his Iron Brothers and by his own emotional weakness. But who is holding Theon hostage: his father, House Stark, or House Lannister?

The Tyrells


As clever as Margery (Natalie Dormer) is at infiltrating King Joffrey’s emotions, she doesn’t seem as politically manipulative as her grandmother Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg), who is working hard to establish even more Tyrell power at court. She may even usurp Cersei in this game.

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The Night’s Watch


Having gone beyond the Wall into the North, Jon Snow and his fellows encounter clans of Wildlings, who are not only moving South en masse, but who have declared Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds, below) their own King of the North, calling him The King Beyond the Wall.

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To further complicate matters, Jon (Kit Harington) is isolated from the others, and becomes involved with the Wildling Ygritte, who threatens to kill him herself if she discovers any treachery.


The White Walkers are also making their way south to the Wall, to the terror of the Wildlings and to the men of the Night’s Watch, none of whom knows how to stop this army of  paranormal creatures.


The Men of the Night’s Watch fear the Wildlings and the White Walkers. The Wildlings fear the White Walkers and something else that’s roaming the woods. Do the White Walkers fear anything at all?

No matter how much the show Game of Thrones may diverge from the series of books on which it’s based, the writing is so strong that anyone can follow the story with ease. Considering how many characters are involved, that’s a major accomplishment. The writing and the acting are powerful, the dialogue important, the characters complex and sophisticated.

HBO’s Game of Thrones is one of the best series since its own Deadwood (created and written by David Milch), and Showtime’s two hit series,  The Tudors (created and written by Michael Hirst) and Penny Dreadful (created and written by John Logan).

Game of Thrones Season 3 is available for purchase for $19.99 from Amazon (or free with a 30-day HBO trial), for $28.99 from GooglePlay, and for $38.99 from iTunes. The season is always available free of charge for HBO subscribers.

Rated Very Mature for Graphic Violence, Explicit Sexual Situations, Nudity, Adult Content, and Adult Language.

Related Posts

Love and Betrayal amidst Swordplay,
Dragons, and White Walkers:
Game of Thrones, Season 1

The Summer of Our Discontent:
Game of Thrones, Season 2

The Dead Can’t Hear Us:
Game of Thrones, Season 4

The Last Thing You See Before You Die:
Game of Thrones, Season 5


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Love and Betrayal amidst Swordplay, Dragons, and White Walkers: GAME OF THRONES season 1, Review


No Spoilers


Created and (mostly) written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and based on the fantasy novel  A Game of Thrones, Book 1 of the best-selling series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones is set in the fictional land of Westeros, composed mainly of The 7 Kingdoms, where royal claimants and usurpers fight for the right to sit on the Iron Throne.


Season One

Season One concentrates on three major families: the Lannisters, the Starks, and the Targaryens. Their stories become interwoven with their claims to the throne, and their loyalty to their ruler.

The Lannisters
(in the South)


Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy), “First of His Name,” is King in Season 1 of Game of Thrones, having won the throne in battle (also called “rebellion”). The Lannisters are the ruling family since Cersei (Lena Headey) is the King’s wife, and his Queen.

Surrounded by her brothers, Jaime (Nikolaj Walder-Costau) known as “The Kingslayer” because he killed the previously ruling king,


and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) known as “The Imp” because he is a dwarf,


Cersei wants to ensure that her son Joffrey (Jack Gleeson, below) inherits the throne after King Robert’s death.


To help ensure the family succession, the head of the Lannister family, Tywin (Charles Dance), does whatever he deems necessary, from lending King Robert enormous sums of money, to going to war.

Can the Lannisters stay in power?

The Starks
(in the North)


When King Robert comes to Winterfell, asking his long-time friend Lord Eddard (Sean Bean) to come to court to serve as the King’s Hand (financial minister), the Starks become more intimately involved in the deadly political game. Eddard, who guards the North, reluctantly accepts the role of The Hand.


His two daughters accompany Eddard to the court in the south, at King’s Landing. The eldest, Sansa (Sophie Turner) is formerly engaged to Prince Joffrey.


While the youngest, Arya (Maisie Williams) fights to remain independent and honest.


The Stark sons, Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright, below L), Jon (Kit Harington, below center), and Robb (Richard Madden, below R), must deal with their own difficulties regarding the Lannisters and their father’s absence.


Will the members of House Stark survive?

The Targaryens
(in the East)

King Robert ascended to the throne after The Kingslayer Jaime Lannister killed “The Mad King” Targaryen. His children, in exile, want the throne back. To regain it, Viserys (Harry Lloyd)


arranges a marriage between his sister Daenerys (Emilia Clarke),


and the “King” — Khal — of the Dothroki horse-tribe, Drogo (Jason Momoa), a legendary warrior who has never been defeated in battle.


With the army he plans to get from Khal Drogo, Viserys intends to invade Westerns and take the Iron Throne back from the usurpers.

Can the Targaryens successfully reclaim their ancestral throne?

The Wall
(even further North)


As if all the political and emotional dramas surrounding the Iron Throne weren’t enough, author Martin throws in The Wall, a huge, almost magical barrier of ice in the North, meant to protect the 7 Kingdoms from roving bands of Wildlings as well as from the mysteriously re-animated corpses known as the White Walkers.


Guarded by the men of The Night’s Watch, The Wall is a barrier of Ice that introduces an element of the paranormal into Game of Thrones.

Think of Game of Thrones as a medieval costume drama in an unspecified kingdom, complete with jousts, duels, illicit love affairs, and war. Throw in witches, dire-wolves, the re-animated White Walkers, and some dragons, and the story is amped up into high fantasy.


Though the premiere was a little confusing till you got all the families figured out, it was still interesting enough to watch the next episode. Strong scripts, complex and memorable characters, snappy dialogue, and powerful acting by all the cast members — including the children — make the HBO dramatic series Game of Thrones worth watching whether you’ve read the books or not.

Initially, I watched the show without having read the books, but didn’t like the fantasy element. Now, a few years after reading the books, I simply accepted the fantastical elements of the show, and enjoyed it for its riveting plot, fascinating characters, action sequences, and droll touches of humor.

Even if, like me, you tend not to like fantasy, chances are you’ll like Game of Thrones for the fascinating political and family dramas.

Game of Thrones Season 1 is available for purchase for $19.99 from Amazon (or free with a 30-day HBO trial), for $28.99 from GooglePlay, and for $38.99 from iTunes (go into iTunes to purchase). (Pricing differences seem to be for SD versus HD videos.) The season is always available free of charge for HBO subscribers.

Rated Mature for (sometimes graphic) Violence, Sexual Situations, Nudity (sometimes full frontal, male and female), Adult Content, and Adult Language.

Related Posts

The Summer of Our Discontent:
Game of Thrones, Season 2

What Crawls Out of Nightmares:
Game of Thrones, Season 3

The Dead Can’t Hear Us:
Game of Thrones, Season 4

The Last Thing You See Before You Die:
Game of Thrones, Season 5


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Filed under Actors, Books, Game of Thrones, Movies/Television, Review, Videos, Violence