“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.
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.