‘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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163 Comments

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  1. First

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  2. Second

  3. Third

  4. Fourth :p

  5. Fifth :)

  6. *in Youtube Juggernaut voice* I’m numba six!

  7. The red wedding should have been the season finally! Anything that followed wouldn’t be able to hold up to that episode.

    • FINALLY…LOL
      Honestly I have to agree with you; that episode was great and the FINALE tonight was pretty lackluster. The Red Wedding definitely would have made a better ending than the terrible sequel-grabbing episode we just watched.

      It was definitely not an ending in the traditional sense of the word. Nothing interesting was resolved nor was there anything that really made me say “wow”. I thought for sure we were going to see some white-walkers and some more….I don’t know..anything?!

      • if you watched the previous seasons you would know that the most shocking moments happen in episode 9. Ned losing his head, Blackwater in season 2… episode 9 is the biggest part and the last episode sets up the next season. Thats how the directors do things.

        • I did watch the previous seasons. Just because those episodes have more violence CERTAINLY does not mean the following season finale (and some of the episodes within this season) couldn’t have been worked-out better.

      • Episode 9 was the finale. Episode 10 is always the epilogue to ease us out of the most tense episode of the season and to prepare us for the waiting period.

    • What would have held up and been a better finally: The Brotherhood finding Lady Stark, and Joffrey getting his comeuppance.

      Those are two things that are huge twists and cliffhangers that would have left us all wanting season 4 today.

      Oh well.

  8. Season three ending was pretty anti-climactic. I was hoping to have some of the ideas that had been so strongly developed over the previous episodes manifest in some way. It surely would have been nice to know what happened with, well, EVERYTHING!

    The season three finale sucked.

    • Yeah that’s i what thought also,totally anti-climatic,of course we know that ASoS has been split into 2 seasons,but c’mon give it an ending that will make people barely stand waiting for season 4…not the disappointment we got instead.

      • Exactly, it’s much better to leave everyone totally wow-ed and chomping at the bit for more than to make a s***** (sort-of) cliffhanger and ride the next season on controversy.

        b*******!

  9. Seriously? No Lady Stoneheart cliffhanger? Instead,one of the most boring Dany scenes ever? WOW,i can almost feel offended by this finale.

    • Agreed

      • ****Warning Spoiler******

        Lady Stoneheart doesn’t happen till the end of Book 3. Since they are splitting book 3 into 2 seasons. why would they have her appear at the end of this season????

        • Bingo.

        • I didn’t know they were splitting three into two seasons. I thought they were overlapping books three and four together over the next two seasons. I was looking for Lady Stoneheart too. Thanks for the clarificatin

  10. Thought it was ok. A little anti-climactic, given last week’s monumental episode. But given the current state of television, it’s still the best thing on.

    What I really liked were some added scenes that were not in the book. Specifically Arya stabbing that soldier.

    Also, the head of Gray Wind on Robb’s body. That was only mentioned as rumor and not actually detailed. That was disgustingly good.

    And lastly, Theon’s sister Asha (forget her name in the show) saying she is going to rescue Theon. That does not happen at all. So, could this mean a change in the story for the series? If so, I am all for it. I like the small departures from the novel. It keeps things interesting.

    All in all, a bit of a filler episode to end the season. It could have been a lot better. It could have been a lot worse.

    There were some moments where the moved the plot along a bit too quickly some other parts that could have been moved forward to create a better cliff hanger. That being Jon returning to Castle Black. There is a significant event right on the heels of his return that would have been fantastic to end the show with.

    That’s my two cents.

    • I was kind’ve looking forward to a kingsmoot, but if Yara wants to go find Theon that’s cool too.

    • *There were some moments where THEY moved the plot along a bit too quickly AND some other parts that could have been moved forward to create a better cliff hanger.*

    • I loved seeing Asha disobey her father, and the c#$k in the box, how many guys went owwwww. There was detail about Grey Winds head mentioned in the book, marching it around, and they completely left out other details I guess waiting for next season, makes us wonder. This was a very nice ending, after last weeks blow, watching a preg lady get stabbed is not something you see on t.v a lot, it stayed with me the whole week. Good review

    • I remember reading a scene with Arya that was almost the same, with her dropping the coin… Though I think it was earlier in time in books.

  11. At least they finally named Ramsay . . . in the most off-handed, draw-your-own-conclusions way possible.

    • No doubt he’s nasty to theon, but I wish they’d dropped a few little smal and short scenes of him being just downright nasty. Like even a glimpse of human skins hung up or a woman in a cage. The dude’s a batch. I wonder how far they’ll take his cruelty on film. He’ll definitely surpass Joffrey as the king of bastards

  12. Many people will be upset by how “dull” and “lackluster” this episode was, especially compared to Rains of Castamere. However, those who know the story understand the upcoming the story lines that this episode is hinting at and setting up. Don’t give up on this show, there is still more greatness to come. The story will go in directions that you cannot imagine, and as a reader of the series I am just as excited to see where the show goes as I am satisfied with the representation it has brought forth so far. Benioff and Weiss are doing an incredible job so far. It will be great to see them bring the second half of book 3 to the screen next season, and it will be even better to see where Martin takes us with book 7.

    Wow, that much positivity was nearly exhausting. I need to go find another article to gripe about, haha!

    • ** book 6, of course.

    • I try to see both sides of the fence too, but really, this is premium TV. It’s just sad that THAT is their best ending for what’s supposed to be the number-one “medieval-kings-and-castles-story-show”-show. So much time, effort, and money that’s gone into [what's turning out to be] a pretty lackluster and mediocre show.

      • And yet, you’ll still watch it next season…

        • …IF I still have HBO by then. I’m thinking with all the crap they’ve been reeling lately I’m just going to cancel it. Behind the Candelabra about did it for me; SURELY I’m no homophobe, I’m simply against bad television.

          • I also thought Hemingway & Gellhorn was lousy. Maybe I’m just a sour old sod.
            As for GoT, I’ll sure miss watching the beautiful Rose Leslie (Ygritte). It’s worth watching just to see her! LOL I sound like a creep now.
            Good talking with you all.

  13. Just came up to me,what about Coldhands? By the story’s timeline that should’ve been even before the finale in episode 8,what are they doing to the plotlines?

    • Yes! I was wondering the same thing!

      It seems they ignored him altogether. If he’s not in it yet, I doubt he’ll be in it at all. Disappointing.

      • Hope they don’t,he still comes up in book 5 so,maybe in like 8 years we’ll see him on screen lol.

        • Maybe they didn’t have him in the show because his true identity has yet to be revealed in the books? And, if the prevailing theory about him is correct, maybe that actor just hasn’t been free to do it.

      • I was wondering the same thing, that as an ending at the black gate would have been amazing…cold hands reach out, but I still thought that episode was truly amazing

    • in the book storyline, yes they should have shown him, but thats not how the tv storyline is going. I bet because of the few episodes he would have been in during this season is why they didn’t decide the cast the character until next season. Expect to see him next season when Bran and his part are North of the wall.

  14. Eh, it was fine. Basically was exactly what I expected. I was a little disappointed at the lack of a cliffhanger (I was hoping Coldhands would show up, but I now fear that he may be excised completely), but it did what it had to do to set up the conflicts for next season.

    As for Lady Stoneheart, that’ll be the cliffhanger for season 4.

    • But how can she be the cliffhanger for season 4 if only 3 days had passed after the RW? That’s the reason i thought they’d include her in this finale,well,i guess my expectations came off way too high.

      • by the way isn’t the mention of LS and Coldhands, the fact that he is north of the wall, Bran etc, massive spoilers?? A guy told me I ruined his life because I said after the RW that things may not be as they seem, I was trying to calm everyone was so devastated, (it was rated the most intense reaction to an episode ever, like support groups etc, people calling in sick, grieving for the entire week) anyway this site is totally confusing, you are all mentioning massive spoilers, just don’t get it. Obviously I wouldn’t mention certain things ever, but these things are either spoilers or they aren’t, just confused, I couldn’t care less either way, doesn’t ruin my life. :)

      • I agree. I thought a cliffhanger of Lady Stoneheart, even just a glimpse would have been better than what I watched last night. Very disappointing. At least do something that excites me for next season. I felt like this episode was just weak. I am slowly starting to lose my confidence in the HBO series brand. With series like True Blood, a weak season of Boardwalk Empire, and now this with GOT? I might just go ahead and not even keep my HBO now

  15. Stupid

  16. is anybody else bothered by the group of white people going around ‘freeing’ all these slaves who are only people of color?

    • Yes.

    • Are we really going to start that conversation? To further invalidate what you say, some of those people were white with dirt smeared on their faces because their slaves, and most importantly, actors acting out a show. I love Marcus Garvey and Gil-Scott Heron as much as the next guy but c’mon mang.

      • *they’re* …anyways I really don’t think GoT is racist, at all.

    • I know, right? Because white people would never do such a thing.

    • @ smash I know I dnt like the fact that she always says there are no slaves here but the black woman that waits on her hand and foot she never gave a choice. She baths her and all um that’s a slave b****.

      • Did you pay no attention when she granted her hand-maiden her freedom? As soon as she acquired the Unsullied, she told her maiden she was free. Just because someone chooses to stay doesn’t make them a slave, it makes them realize that there are much worse places in the world than working for a future queen.

    • No – my only worry is that it would lead to the overly precious people worrying about whether “white people” should be depicted freeing slaves.

      But because your comment is like an onion of idiocy lets excavate some of the layers it’s idiotic on. a)this is a fantasy world which borrows from medieval Europe and Eurasia for setting. b) Given that the Unsullied were slaves much of the liberating was done by what you seem to think are brown people. b)The Social and Political cleavages in this world are not racial – class and political allegiance are far more important, and there is certainly no racial line when it comes to being or becoming a slave. c)In our own real world and our own real history the racially defined slavery of the new world was an exception – Slavery in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and East Asia were all cases where slavery might involve variously Tribal, religious, class or caste – but none were defined by racial lines. d) Also in our world and our real history the abolition of the slave trade and emancipation of slaves actually were a case where white people used force against both other white people as well as various slavers ranging from barbary corsairs to the traders on zanzibar to liberate. So we should be worried that this scene might faintly echo reality? Why?

  17. Are all the book references really necessary? It would be nice to have a place to discuss the tv show without book readers dying to spoil things to come.

    • Completely agree!

      • Yeah that’s why I stop reading as soon as anyone says, “Well in the book…”

    • ok there we go, I was reading all these massive spoilers thinking holy sh*t what I said was mild and no one is saying anything, so I guess thanks

  18. I will give the casting staff props for finding good actors and amazingly beautiful and fresh actresses, which is something a young guy like me of course enjoys seeing.

    Surely watching Emilia Clarke disrobe was a wonderful treat. Rose Leslie is possibly the most beautiful red-haired woman I’ve ever seen on screen or in-person for that matter. Sophie Turner is also beautiful, not to mention Sibel Kekilli and Amrita Acharia for those of you who love dark-haired ladies.

    GoT casting did a very good job of keeping my eyes glued on their women, but the telling of a great story; not so much.

    • +1

  19. What can really followup the Red Wedding except the aftermath and the dust clearing? You got that. Viewers should’ve worked out by now that all the punch is saved for Episode 9 and the finales are just reshuffling and setting the pieces for the next part.

  20. Most boring season finale ever.

    • Is it more disappointing than the sopranos Finale???

      • No, because that was an epic show with an amazing story, cast, and ending that was (IMO) appropriate. Besides, that wasn’t supposed to be the ENDING, just the finale. The Sopranos ending (which is what I assume you’re referring to) was excellent IMO.

  21. I believe the producers where not attempting to top last week episode. I feel all stories needed to be some that concluded or set up for what’s to follow. Although the season finale didn’t have the “wow” factor as previous seasons, I feel game of thrones (even with a weak episode) remains the top show on television.

    • It was at one point. Not anymore

  22. Horrible finale! Sooooo disapointed!

  23. I was really hoping it would end at Joffrey’s wedding. That would have been a cliffhanger I would have been okay with. The Dany scene was sooo lame lol and the rest was blah.

  24. I thought i was just disappointed…but actually i feel i’m mad as hell at the show,i mean,couldn’t they just save the bugdet on that white walker kill scene from episode 8 (which never took it’s right place to begin with),and replace it with a scene depicting Coldhands?

  25. OK…..Bit dissapointed by the finale esp after last weeks red wedding and having read the book expected a whole lot of bang for the last episode. In short 5 more harrowing deaths and one spectacular twist end at the end. oh well, they had to waste time on theon greyjoy and the bastard bolton…..and a subpar finale to the sack of yunkai as the icing(really thats fit for a finale vs the book ending?). In all essence last weeks episode would have made a better finale if you are not going to be true to the book.

  26. People are so butt hurt saying this episode sucked or that it was nothing to freak out about but this episode was pretty good. Yes episode 9 was better but episode 9 of seasons 1 and 2 were huge so I wasn’t expecting something crazy to happen. Remember people that they are splitting up ASOS into 2 seasons because its such a big book. Yes the finale scene was a little anti-climactic but it was still a nice way to leave off the season and pick back up on that in season 4 next year. This was by far the best season yet and I personally can’t wait until season 4 and I am already freaking out about not seeing a new episode until next year. I will be having a countdown clock on my desktop screen when the day season 4 will be arriving back to our TV screens around the world.

    • totally agree…I cried at the end, after all the carnage, Deanerys lightened my heart with her amazing soul. That was a nice big hug after being crushed by a RW. Perfect 10 Now I can wait a year without such a heavy heart. :)

  27. The season finale was a huge disappointing let down. We’ve gone through the whole season and the only memorable episode was last weeks. Blah! They should of just ended it last week and put this snooze of a season to rest.

    • Crushingly disappointing!

      The actress who plays Kaleesi is so painfully bad and to end on a reenactment of The Lion King was just LAME.

      I was really hoping Joffrey was going to die (king’s-blood-leetch-voodoo and all that) and the Lannisters were going to splinter or some badass stuff of the sort..instead we almost lost Jon ‘cunnilingus’ Snow and had to endure Fat Sam AND more Greyjoy meanderings..

      Ugh! (I almost got happy when the crowd looked like it was going to swallow Kaleesi but…)

    • Tell me about it, That whole dragon story is a bore feast too many slaves freeing not enough dragons killing people. They are milking the hell out of this series hell a season of this show is equivalent to one episode of spartacus.

      • I loved the first season. It appeared that they weren’t holding anything back. Season 2 was a little slow but it was still okay. Season 3 was just average at best. The only good episode was the Red Wedding episode. What I loved about Spartacus was that they held nothing back. The details and storytelling was just top notch. The finales on that show was just spectacular.

      • read the book ,if you dont like the way the show is going

  28. A lot of people seem mad at this finale, but when you consider that it’s basically the middle of the third book I really don’t understand why you were expecting more.

    I can live without Coldhands for the moment, and Lady Stoneheart really shouldn’t come before the end of season 4. Let’s just let those two go.

    I did like Joffrey’s temper tantrum, and Tywin’s A+ parenting. I kind of felt insulted for Shae when Varys handed her that money. I felt like Cersei should have been A LOT more excited to see the man she’s supposedly in love with, but I don’t know why I expected more from her. I was not about that Arya scene, but if I’m giving Sansa a pass for being a teenage, then I have to do the same for Arya. Hodor did a great job, as always. On the one hand, I don’t really like that scene with Jon and Ygritte, but, on the other, I understand why it is necessary. That scene in the Nightfort felt a lot scarier in the book, but at least we got story time. Also, Pip has lasted longer in Game of Thrones than he did in Misfits.

  29. Eh it was a bit of a let down from last weeks ep but still good. Loved how John snow and sam finally reunited that was an awesome moment.

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