Short Review of Game of Thrones Season 3

Alright, it’s over. It feels like it shouldn’t be over, but it’s over. I guess that’s what happens when you take a book, slice it in half, and turn it into two seasons. Thus, where we are at now that Game of Thrones has ended for the season. The major reactions are already out there, so I don’t have much to add.

I talked recently about some of the interesting results of making the show with knowledge of the later story in mind – and season 3 had a little bit of this, but not much worth talking about. However, there were a few interesting things done with characters that I wanted to explore for a few moments. Spoilers to follow for Game of Thrones: Season 3, but I’ll try to keep the spoilers for later seasons to a minimum!

But hey, here’s the great scene of the season, based on the books, perhaps, but not a scene we would have read: we have neither Varys nor Littlefinger as a perspective. Kind of wraps up the whole series nicely, and especially this season.

The Adding and Removing of Characters

Yes, this has been happening throughout all of the seasons. Some of it, I think, is them not wanting to overburden us with characters we have to remember, or share screen time with more. That’s okay.

It was nice to see some characters appear who were late in doing so, likely to make it so there weren’t too many characters being introduced each season. As such, the Reeds arriving this season is a welcome addition, and glad to see them there.

Others work well, such as Daario Naharis replacing Brown Ben Plumm, and whole groups of sellswords disappearing off the screen. We don’t really need to have as many companies as there are in the books, especially since most of them are only mentioned, or we only really see one or two of them as talking characters.

However, I do miss Strong Belwas. A simple character, he nonetheless is a lot of fun. But I can understand that he, as well, would have been a bit too many characters orbiting Dany.

The most interesting character addition in my opinion, though, is the whore-turned-spy, who traveled all the way from the North in season one, worked for Littlefinger in season 2, and was recruited by Varys in season 3. It is she who is dead in the video above, and that came as a George-R-R-Martin-esque shock to me – they gave me a character and killed her off. I feel like she was a character put there to mess with the people who have read the books: wondering all the time what they’re going to do with her, what secrets she might reveal, how she would work in later seasons – and then killed just as easily as Martin kills any other character.

Well played, HBO.

Reek, Reek, it Rhymes with Meek

Oh, Theon, Theon, Theon.

If you’ve only watched the show, then Theon has been around the whole time and you’ve been watching his story. In the book, Theon kind of disappears into the North and is gone. Ramsay Snow (Bolton) and his companions from the Dreadfort, including one Reek, take him away and sack Winterfell. Somewhere in there, I remember Reek dies.

Yet later on, lo and behold, Ramsay has a new Reek. Who is this miserable creature? What happened to him? The reveal is slow that it’s poor Theon Greyjoy, broken of spirit, stripped of his will and identity, and far, far worse than dead.

And, blessedly, it all happens off-the-page.

Not so with the show. Much of this season watches as a primer in how to utterly destroy someone, torture them in ways far more than physical – helping Theon escape, gaining his trust, getting all of his secrets from him, only to circle around and return him to holding? I mean, it’s brutal. And all of this before the utterly uncomfortable disfiguring torture.

New meaning for Dick in a Box? Not okay, guys. I could have gone my whole life without Theon in this season. Theon’s mysterious transformation into Reek could have been left to my imagination, which would likely have been far kinder to him.

Power in a King’s Blood

So, to I guess make there be more action coming from Dragonstone, and King Stannis and the Lady Melisandre, they worked them into combining with another character in a way that did not happen in the book – Gendry does not end up in Dragonstone, but stays with the Brotherhood Without Banners.

Now, I am okay with this change. In the books, it was more about Edric Storm, the acknowledged bastard of King Robert, who was holding the Baratheon castle of Storm’s End. Almost a null-character, from a castle we have not really seen yet in the books. Replacing him with a known character who also perfectly fits the bill seems like a good move.

However, it tells us some things.

  • One, it tells us that Edric Storm, as yet un-mentioned in the show, may not end up being at all important in the books. Of course, like with the Reeds, he can always be added into the show later.
  • Two, it tells us that Gendry, who is now totally in the wrong place in the show, may not end up being at all important in the books. Then again, he was sent off back to King’s Landing – not to the East like Edric Storm is in the book – meaning he could end up wherever he may need to for the plot.

So, okay, maybe it tells us nothing at all. But hey, they fit in more male penis torture, so that’s a thing.

Regardless, this ended up a great place to leave the season: the moment where the audience finally feels like the real plot is moving forward. Someone else has acknowledged the threat that we’ve known about since the opening scenes of the first story: the White Walkers are back, and everyone is going to die if nothing is done about them.

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