‘Game of Thrones’ Season 3 Finale Review & Discussion

Published 1 year ago by , Updated June 10th, 2013 at 5:46 am,

game of thrones season 3 finale Game of Thrones Season 3 Finale Review & Discussion

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW!!!

From top to bottom, opening sequence to end credits, season 3 of Game of Thrones has coaxed from 10 episodes a story arc that successfully demonstrated how much the idea of “the realm” means to the series’ overall narrative and how so many of show’s characters, whether they know it or not, are driven by similar concepts.

While it lacked the devastating emotional impact of last week’s ‘The Rains of Castamere‘ – or, really, the last ten minutes detailing the horrifically violent “Red Wedding” – it was the discussion between Varys and Littlefinger in ‘The Climb‘ that seems to have been the true turning point for the season, in terms of laying out precisely what it is everyone is so up in arms about

And amazingly, through all the death and destruction pertaining to House Stark, the symbolic dismembering of Jaime and Theon, and the masterful (and apparently extremely persuasive) letter writing of Tywin Lannister, the main thrust of the season has been to better define the meaning of the realm. To illustrate that while the land connecting these kingdoms may be vast, the realm is not so immeasurable that a single menace cannot threaten its very existence.

For its part, ‘Mhysa’ doesn’t hesitate to get into the very notion that characters are oftentimes ruled by his or her devotion to an elusive thing or concept. Like Varys and Littlefinger and their attachment to the notion of “the good of the realm” or, conversely, “chaos [as] a ladder,” abstract thoughts and intangibles bring these individuals equal amounts of pain, pleasure and a thirst for more, through which they define themselves and build their hopes and dreams. Things like: oaths, love, happiness, power, title and, most poignantly this season, a family name that means something and is, for the time being, sustainable.

Kit Harington in Game of Thrones Mhysa Game of Thrones Season 3 Finale Review & Discussion

It may be Tywin’s wish to ensure the Lannister name continues to live on and instill something in the hearts and minds of those who speak it, but it’s Varys who recognizes the larger good to be done with such a remarkably powerful word. When he speaks to Shae, urging her to take a small pouch of diamonds and to make a new life for herself far away, he’s insistent that Tyrion is the man in whom the realm should stake its future well-being.

Harsh truths regarding Shae’s upbringing and future prospects in King’s Landing aside, Varys is offering her a way out; all she must do is ignore the pull of her love (a powerful concept) for Tyrion and understand that with her sacrifice, an incalculable amount of potential good could come about for the realm.

That’s a lot of potential good that can come of such a significant sacrifice, but as we see, Shae may not be the kind of person to believe the needs of the many necessarily outweigh the need or desires of a single person. In that regard, Shae sees the world like Ser Davos, who, as we learn, comes from a place that’s probably not too far off from where she was brought up – and it certainly isn’t far removed from Gendry’s upbringing either.

In Davos’ freeing of Gendry, we not only see the dichotomy between those who would take a single life in order to “save” tens of thousands, and those who believe a life, no matter how small, has reason to be allowed to continue. But we also see how those who might sacrifice an innocent life for the good of the realm, more likely than not, have a rather significant stake in the game – should the cards rule in their favor.

The vast and growing schism between the powerful and the powerless seems to be the other concept Game of Thrones is eager to present to the audience. As was seen in season 3, power is a notion that seems to be universally recognized, and while those holding on to it will do anything to maintain their grip – men like Roose Bolton, Walder Frey and even Tywin Lannister – there are still those with whom the idea holds little sway. And while it was first suggested that the Brotherhood Without Banners might be the bastions of this great insolence, it was eventually revealed that they, too, readily answer to the man (or unseen being) they believe to hold all the power. Instead, the true audacity lies within the characters who have been thought by everyone else to be so small and weak (or far away) they hold little importance to those in power.

Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones Mhysa Game of Thrones Season 3 Finale Review & Discussion

On one hand, there is Arya Stark‘s slaying of a soldier taking credit for mounting a dire wolf’s head on Robb Stark’s body. Sure, she had the Hound to back her up, but the way she dispatched the man suggested a level of aforethought that likely would have been present had she been wandering the amazingly populated woods of Westeros on her own. On the other hand, there is Daenerys Targaryen, her dragons and her army of Unsullied who have recently liberated the enslaved people of Yunkai.

On the far side of the world, Game of Thrones deftly and rather marvelously demonstrates a level of unity that’s largely unknown to the embattled kingdoms on the other side of the sea.

But winter is still coming and with it comes unspeakable horror and almost certain death. As Davos (and in their own way, Varys and Sam) argues, unless the kingdoms can rally together and unite against a common and mighty foe, there’ll soon be no realm for anyone to be fighting over.

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Game of Thrones season 4 will premiere in 2014 on HBO.

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  1. Everyone hating on this show needs to stop whining and be thankful we have it at all… what the hell do you expect? Could you do better? 99.9% of you complaining are complete trolls with zero respect for the incredible amount of work that goes into bringing the world this level of entertainment. To those that say, “it moves to slowly” you’re probably the same people complaining in line at fast food places that it’s taking too long. Just shut up and be thankful that someone decided to tackle this monumental undertaken of adapting a series of UNFINISHED novels in to a 12 to 10 episode season series. SHUT UP.

    • Calm down.You sound like a petulant child that’s responding to a classmate that has insulted you mother.

      • I find myself agreeing with travis here. It’s the commenters calling it boring who sound like petulant, and somewhat mindless, children with ADD.

        We had the fantastic scenes of things starting to unravel for the victorious Lannisters – the confrontation between Tywin and Joffrey followed by the devastating scene between Tywin and Tyrion were Tension filled and emotional. Cersei revealing that her motivations are a little more complex, and even not entirely unsympathetic. A quiet and beautifully bittersweet scene of Jamie’s return. Stannis heading north, Arya getting a small measure of vengeance, Asha , stirringly, setting off to rescue her brother. It being revealed just how terrible his fate is – and with the revelation of Ramsey and Roose Bolton’s connection and that Tywin has set things up so that the North will be in their ruthless hands and the Riverlands in Walder Frey’s adds a real poignancy to Vary’s confession that his great hope for something better for the realm rests in Tyrion.

        I can only say that if you are only watching the show for Breasts, Battles and massacres you are missing many of it’s best pleasures. And catcalling “Boring” does not strike me as “constructive” criticism.

        I do suspect calling the show lacklustre or mediocre is just trolling. Given a combination of an incredibly rich story, fantastic dialogue delivered by some really great actors bringing complex and richly drawn characters to life, great action sequences and a production that looks more like a cinematic epic than a TV show I really do wonder what would satisfy someone calling it “mediocre”? I can understand that it might not be everyone’s cup of tea – the sex and violence and fantasy elements might just be too far out of some peoples comfort zone. But Mediocre ? Gimme a break.

        • Money makers, they just don’t know what to do at the end of all season and kill all characters . Every time they start to have a story frame they kill the show,. You can see they are making the show episode by episode to entertain and play with your feelings until there is no one good character- zero moral —- zero enjoyment

    • LOL, it’s called constructive criticism. We are not hating but offering observations as do all people for all shows. Not one show is perfect and if people complain it’s because they care about the show and the novels.

      • Longshanks… your reference makes little sense. I’m guessing you’ve made fun of a lot of mother in your day? …Either way… Not sure how many children make fun of other childrens mothers… but okay.

        Jared… it’s not constructive criticism if it’s just hogwash. I’m not talking about those that have something to add that’s helpful. (Not that it needs any). And you’re right, EXACTLY my point… no show is perfect, which is why I get so sick and tired of all the “know it all complainers” out there barking at the “good” shows. I don’t buy crap about “it’s my opinion” either… that’s just something people hide behind. I’m more so talking about those people that complain simply to complain. I find it ridiculous the lack of respect and appreciation people have for all the great entertainment there is out there. Hell… we should be happy we have television at all… it’s a marvelous thing. Sure, it’s FULL of garbage worth while of many criticisms… but Game of Thrones is not one of those shows. No it’s not perfect… but when I read people writing… “I’m not watching it because the finale didn’t excite me as much as episode 9 did”… well… that’s where I draw the line… there is nothing constructive about that.

        • Or… like Moss’s comment below. REALLY? “Waste of time”… he should have his television privileges taken away.

        • The best part is that, I’d like to compare the fanbase to Hydra. Every time something devastatingly tragic happens, a million people swear they won’t ever watch it again, but for every million that quit watching… two more million take it’s place. As for me? I could literally watch an entire episode of just Varys talking to everyone. Like one big supercut. If you watched that, you would know everything about everything. I believe him and Littlefinger to be the center of the shows universe. Sort of like a god vs. satan type of game. Anyway… the show is a snowball rolling and constantly collecting more snow. Sometimes it hits a bump and loses some snow but never loses momentum and gains much more snow. This show is big and still has not gotten as big as it will get. Have no fear about it getting cancelled, its not going anywhere. Might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

  2. OMG what a waste of time
    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    1.20 mins of crap

  3. OK, here’s my take on it: Last week after episode 9, I wrote here how I wasn’t going to watch GoT any more because it just made me so damned unhappy.

    But… I couldn’t resist.

    Let me just say that the ending of this episode was so uplifting. But I know given the previous 3 seasons, that the character I’ve now given my allegiance to (Daenerys) will have her throat cut, her intestines dumped onto the floor, her nipples pinched and her left buttock roasted, cooked and eaten in front of her by some random evildoer who nobody can remember the name of, at some point next season.

    Apologies for the above spoiler. But if that does happen I’m DEFINITELY NOT WATCHING THIS SHOW AGAIN, OK?

  4. Any episode with a three-way confrontation between Tywin, Tyrion, and Joffrey is pretty good in my book. And the scene where Tywin shows some emotion with Tyrion was priceless. The only thing I didn’t like about the episode was it spent way too much time on Theon Greyjoy’s genitals.

  5. many of you guys were disappointed in season 3 finale was because season 3 only covered half of book 3, which didn’t conclude the loose ends that some of you guys want. once season 4 comes along, that should conclude the all the lose ends and set up for season 5. think GOT of season 3 as a movie that is part 1, like many books that were split and didn’t conclude all the loose ends when the part 2 of a movie came out. this season had a slower pace, as i book reader, i’m glad i knew ahead of time, otherwise i won’t like it as much. but i need to say to you guys who think this season wasn’t as good, need to think that this season was all about character relationship build ups, connections, view of right and wrong, and most importantly to me that you guys don’t pay attention to the most is FORESHADOW. GOT has a lot of foreshadowing plots and elements. you can guess that i love details and i love foreshadowing. just want to get this foreshadowing thing in your head, to think about. GOT is mostly about the political and hunger for power than a war and battles that you usually see are read in other fantasy books, tv shows, and movies. one more thing i would like to add, a scene with Tywin talking to Tyrion (spoil alert if you haven’t watched episode 10 of season 3). when Tywin was talking about how he wanted to kill Tyrion as a baby, but then didn’t. Tywin’s expression and tone of that line “Because you are a Lannister!” left me in a big question of Tyrion’s birth. i know the theory about tyrion (look up in westroes.com) and it’s possible, but i don’t know, no one doesn’t know, and i’m wondering if the tv writers are going that root? i could be wrong, again, i know nothing about it at the moment. Varys also has an interest in Tyrion saying something about Tyrion is one of the few people who could make the world more peaceful or something, by right as a some type of a ruler. Again, could be a hint or a red herring. anyway, season 3 of GOT overall, pretty good, but not as good as season 1. one more thing i promise, the promotion that season 3 did this year i think got the wrong idea that season 3 was going to be epic. what’s even worse was how many of the articles were talking about how season 3 will be the most epic season so far. apparently, they were all wrong, and i’m still mad how the articles overhyped season 3. Love GOT don’t get me wrong, but as a book reader (no offense to non book readers) i knew season 3 wasn’t going to be as epic, but rather an interesting season that will deal with deaths and that it’s life and sometimes life sucks.

    • I agree, this season was overly hyped. But I believe they did that, because out of all 5 books released thus far, Book 3 was the best read of them.

      Yes, season 3 is the first half of the book 3 and season 4 is the second half. Those of us, who have read the books(just finished the 4th book, boring)knows what’s to come next season.

      I must say though, between this season and the book, I didn’t like many of the changes that were done. Some were good, while others left me scratching my head, especially when bran and rickon were together the whole season, honesty some of that was boring, and also no mention of coldhands(I believe he could be benjen).

      I can’t wait until the “Purple Wedding”.

  6. I mean honestly what the hell was that ? i read the books and i was waiting for SOOO much more than that. such a horrendous episode and ending, the producers and writers are really messing with the story. verry bad episode, verry bad ending, they shouldve ended with the red wedding because this episode is just a normal avergame got that shouldve aired in season 4.

  7. I thought Hodor was exceptional in this episode.

    “HOOOOOOOODOOOOOOOOR”

    He has somes of the best lines.

  8. 2014..?! Man it’s been 2 days and it’s already killing me.

  9. And this what was supposedly a season finale? It had the feel of a middle of the road episode showing no promise at all of what season 4 may deliver. It was a poor end to what is increasingly becoming a very ordinary show.

    I appreciate that its sticking close to the books, but television is a different medium altogether that requires a lot more tighter, urgent pace of story telling.

    With season 1 it was the Starks against the Lannisters and everything was clear as to who people were and what they were trying to achieve. Now everything is lost spending too much time on un-important characters who aren’t pivotal to the main events. Any character of note gets killed off and the most rootable character Tyrion has vritually been non-descript this year.

    The finale itself was just a bore. A season finale should be the most exciting, important episode wrapping up the season story arc and giving you a reason to stick around for the next season. This was even more disappointing that Walking Dead’s season 3 finale.

    The producers need to look at the likes of Smallville and Spartacus of which both delivered exceptional season finales every year.

    Falling Skies season 2 finale had a doozy of an ending leaving an agonising wait for the next season.

    Boardwalk Empire used to suffer the same slow burn but has upped it’s game majorly each season whilst Game of Thrones has simply regressed.

    Such a great concept is really being under utilized at the moment with this show and it’s shame. Just like Danerys who has like ten armies, three massive dragons and doesn’t do a damn thing with them.

    If we don’t see an improvement in season 4 then I will be turning off for sure.

    • I haven’t read any of the books but the show is far from boring and no character is “unimportant”.

      That’s the thing with great storytelling. You start off with a clear “one side vs the other side” motif and then you open up to show more of the world, more of the characters and more reason for things to happen, otherwise it becomes cliche and boring.

      24 started off with one plot device then opened up with twists and turns, throwing “unimportant” characters up as major players. Spartacus did the same, as did countless other great TV shows.

      Great actors like Sean Bean and Mark Addy gave way to other great actors like Rose Leslie and Maisie Williams. An “unimportant” character like Ser Davos Seaforth or Sansa Stark grew into becoming major figureheads just behind the main players.

      As for the finale itself, I thought it was great and as I said below, it filled me with pride to see Danaerys go from shy little girl to confident future queen being accepted by thousands of freed slaves and while there wasn’t much of her story this season and her story was pretty boring in season 2, it’s all hinting that she may indeed be the key to everything and possibly the true heir to the Iron Throne.

  10. Have to admit, the end of the episode wasn’t what I expected but it still made me well up with pride like I did with the season 1 finale.

    Awesome show, awesome finale.

    Ramsay was deliciously creepy and funny too.

  11. I for one am damn glad the tied a lot of loose ends instead of ending the season with the wedding slaughter. I’d much rather have a hint of what might be in store than a tragic ending that is just a shocker until the new season.

    I’d still like to know if all this is in a parallel universe or something. I’m listening to the books in my truck and they speak of kingdoms going back eight thousand years or more. Are their years shorter than ours I wonder? Then again….why remain in this mid evil time lock for so many years? Isn’t there people with imaginations to invent things? It just always throws me when they refer to the long time spans that clearly make this someplace other than our planet

    And come on Sam…..after all that time beyond the wall and time training….he looks like he never drops a pound….Hell…I’d think he woud have crapped a few pounds killing the zombie

  12. Part of the intrigue of watching this series comes from having read the books. They both work together so beautifully. Sometimes, in the TV series, the power is lost – I find myself explaining to my husband the significance of the salt at the Red Wedding and how the king of the north leaves his dire wolf outside and why – but I adore how the two work together so beautifully. Cersei’s face as she sees Jamie handless!!! All jokes aside, it’s powerful precisely because in the book you KNOW what follows, and how powerful this is. The scene with Jamie in the bath with Brienne, her in the bear pit – the film is mesmerising because i had loved the relationship in the book. I couldn’t imagine watching it having NOT read the series. The nail biting anticipation of some events are fantastic. I loved Daenerys-as-Mother – she’s a wonderful character and damn i’d love for her to finally hit westeros as much as I’d like Arya to meet up with Jon. Like Lord of the Rings, you can’t watch one and ignore the other – leave the book, watch the film – or vice versa – both form a really amazing event. Yes, they focused too much on Theon’s genitals but hey….it was almost light relief, though I’ll never look at a pork sausage again the same way. I love the constant reference to ‘all men must die’, as it reminds us not to attach to characters, because in real life, war doesn’t particularly favour anyone no matter how attached you are – people die. That’s it. The Red Wedding was more powerful in teh book – Cat’s PAIN – oh! But it did seem to shock and gather GOT fans of the TV series, so it did its job – that’s the power of TV. Go read the books if you are dying for 2014 – even if you are one or two books ahead, it’s gonna enrich your experience of this fantastic series.

    • I’m listening to the books going down the road in my semi…I’m glad I’m behind the series because things like the Red Wedding were a total surprise to me. That and how I get better understanding of who is who and connected to who in the series after listening to the books that I miss in the series….Also..Having the series characters in my mind while listening to the books also keeps things straight in the story much easier…To me anyway

  13. As someone who doesn’t watch a ton of TV series’, I’ve become quite fond of Game of Thrones. I’ve always been more of a fan of quality writing, foreshadowing and good drama, and this series has opened me up to a world I haven’t cared much about since I watched Battlestar Galactica (A few other series’ got me interested for a bit, but none have held more than 2-3 seasons).

    Personally, I wouldn’t want a crazy finale for this season. Red Wedding was insane. One knew it was coming, but even so, I felt a state of shock when it happened. As I said, I’ve not read the books, but from reading comments I’ve learned a bit of what’s to come, and from that I can guarantee that season 4 will be off the wall. It will start quick, new characters will be revealed in a timely fashion, and I think it will move almost as fast as season 1.

    I have a strong feeling on who will “win” the Game of Thrones in the end, and it’s not who I’d like to be on the throne in the end. Going by what I’ve learned so far though, it’s painfully obvious there is very few candidates who CAN win. I love the series, it might not be the most action packed one on TV, but at this point it doesn’t need to be. Now it needs to give it’s viewers a good storyline to follow. Season 1 is the hook, the rest is just a slow real until the final climax.

    I’m excited for the future of the series, and can’t wait for what will likely be a great season 4.

    • I have no clue what going to happen next so this is only who I THINK will win. To me its seems a bit obvious that Daenerys will take the throne and free Westoros after killing off the White Walkers with her dragons. However, I know George RR Martin loves to throw curveballs at us, so anything can happen. This is just something that I would like to happen, but so far everything that I want to happen, doesn’t. Thanks a lot Martn. Lol

  14. Today, I went to the beach front with my children.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was
    a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!

    LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

  15. I’m going through such off-season withdrawal ugg! This music vid about Arya has been giving me my fix! http://bit.ly/songofarya

  16. Too bad everyone seems to have forgotten she is/was a water-dancer. Now it is just blitz attacks. No skill, no practice like she did in the books. They cut it just like Strong Belwas. It is going to be kind of hard for Arya to stay alive without her skills anymore, just like it is going to be hard for Denarys since Belwas saves her. I guess we will get some more dropped scenes to make up for it.

    Interesting how they cut so much out, just to replace with filler (Theyon’s torture scenes, Pod’s skills, etc). While some was very appropriate (Pod), and more importantly, brief. The rest tended to be wasteful and somewhat insulting considering the far more important material discarded.

    Bring on Season 4, and let us enjoy the rest of book 3. Season 5 will be the end of the show, and there is no point in suffering through that book again (or half, it they try to stretch it out, making the drop in ratings even more precipitous).

  17. This show absolutely keeps me on my toes. My stomach is in knots before every episode. I am scared of what happens next. Martin sure loves to kill people I grow to love. Having said that, I fraking love this show. I’m reading the books as well, I read a book after they air the season in order to avoid spoilers. It helps me to visualize settings and characters better.

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