Game of Thrones series three: spoiler-free review

“The night is dark and full of terrors.”

The civil war rolls on. Houses Baratheon, Stark and Lannister remain locked in their dance of death. Pretenders to the throne come and go whilst in the Orient, Danareys Targaryen slowly builds her power from what was a ragged band of refugees. Her dragons are growing faster than anyone could have imagined when they were born in the flames of a funeral pyre.

Daenerys Targaryen

Source: IMDB


Meanwhile, the cult of the Lord of Light is growing ever stronger. It is gaining support everywhere from throne rooms to criminal gangs in the forests. On first hearing the name Lord of Light, I had assumed that this deity was a benevolent one, but now it reminds me more of another name for the Devil: Lucifer, the bringer of light.

By the third series of Game of Thrones, certain tropes are starting to appear. George R.R. Martin particularly likes situations where two opponents are forced to travel together, one as captor and the other as captive, frequently with the latter tied up and stumbling. This happens again and again to an extent that it is starting to become tiresome by the umpteeth time it occurs.

The other obsession is more disturbing. The third series features extended scenes of torture, often brutal, for little narrative effect. There is also the constant threat of sexual violence, particularly towards women, which is hardly suitable for something whose objective is entertainment. Martin has defended himself against these criticisms elsewhere in the press but whatever its justification in the story, it casts a dark shadow over the viewing experience.

The unfortunate result is that series three is the weakest so far. Fortunately, it is saved towards the end with the notorious Red Wedding, a traumatic event which has shocking repercussions for the rest of the series. It is the culmination of a long series of weddings, matches and dynastic alliances, which makes up the main theme of this third season. With this one moment of horror, Game of Thrones returns to setting the pace in modern drama.

Series 3 Unusual guest star: Former Avenger and Bond girl Diana Rigg is in scene-stealing form as the saucy, seen-it-all, matriarch of House Tyrell. Her parental discussion with Tywen Lannister (Charles Dance) is one of the highlights of the show so far.


4 responses to “Game of Thrones series three: spoiler-free review

  1. The whole Theon Greyjoy storyline becomes quite unpleasant to watch I think, particularly because all the actors involved are on form. Agreed on Diana Rigg though, she has many of the best scenes. Her and Charles Dance are marvellous together for example.

    • The whole torture thing goes on and on doesn’t it, without bringing anything new to the story? Credit to the actors though, as you say.
      Charles Dance has had lots of the best moments in the series actually and I also loved that sequence in series 2 where Aria Stark was working as his cup bearer without him knowing (although suspecting all the time that she was far, far more than she seemed).

  2. That is spot on, the violence was a bit much and I was hoping for some interesting revelations on the reason for it but it didn’t strike me as that impressive…I think some storylines could have done with a little more slick but over all it still had enough to get me to watch season 4.

    • I just didn’t see the point of all that violence, especially when the same situation is being perpetuated episode after episode.
      I’m waiting for series 4 too but I have to wait to get the DVD because it’s not on normal TV here in Spain. Another year to wait… sigh!

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