‘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.

_____

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

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163 Comments

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  1. That was amazing!! Wow I feel better, last week was evil, this week was good, nice balance. Climaxes are overrated, the entire series is a dam cliffhanger, with about 6 main stories running at all times. Also this episode stayed in line with all episode 10′s, brought people home, rejoined people, you start to see battle lines drawn, Joffrey looking like a useless tit, that was cool (If you have to say ‘I am the King” loved that part). The only thing I hoped for was the brothers without banners (book readers know) that would have given a tease of something to come, NO SPOILERS don’t worry, but all in all I thought it was excellent. Now its time to go outside for months on end, and get lost in my own glorious forest, adieu fellow GOT junkies (books and shows alike)

  2. Wow after last weeks episode I halfway expected to watch another intense of the very few episodes of this series. Boy was I disappointed I mean its a finale end it on a great note not just Oh…Im back sitter look at my hand, or hey I freed you now let me crowd surf. This show is dry, unfortunately Spartacus is done, Trueblood isn’t on yet, totally can’t wait until Dexter. 10 episode series and episode 9 was the best.

    • Episode 9 is always the climax for Game of Thrones. And the final episode seems to always be the denouement.

  3. now we have to way one year to continue the follow up of game of thrones… one year is too long… and I’m so hyped for this series

  4. The way I see it the season finale is episode 9 and episode 10 is the epilogue for the next season…

    season one/ep9: Ned
    season two/ep9: Blackwater
    season three/ep9: red wedding…

    do you see the pattern….

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  5. I was sooooo disappointed in the game of thrones finale they did nothing to make me excited about next season on the other season finales I was on the edge of my seat and could talk about no other show year long but now idk if I care to tune in next year I’m so upset. Scandal may be my new favorite show I do also like the walking dead but they need to do better cause some of the casting sucks and they keep killing time on bull s*** and going quickly through what we care about. Pls keep it interesting.

    • Exactly,nothing to get people looking forward to next season’s premiere,and they had 2 very specific events to include in the finale,that would get everyone crazy talking about it for the whole year we gotta wait.

      • I agree they could have added one thing in particular that would have had people combing the books and internet for a clue to its relevance. Although I loved the finale, as I already know the secrets I felt for the watchers, no shocking twist to get them thru the year :(

  6. Prob weakest episode of the season. Most likely because it was pretty much impossible to top ep 9. Very weak finale.

  7. I can wait a year now and not freaking out to see what happens. There looks like a little trust building between Sansa and Tyrion — that scene made me laugh for you saw a sly side of Sansa. I’m worried about Jon, but he’ll live now since he’s back at the Wall — stupid wildling woman. All in all a good finale I’m so glad that the “Red Wedding” wasn’t the finale, as nvictus brought out – all episode 9′s led up to the climax of the finale’s …. Now I can relax and wait until 2014 when the show restarts, maybe by that time I’ll be on the fourth book.

  8. I’m happy this episode was tame. Quite honestly, I’m not sure I could’ve handled another episode like ‘The Red Wedding’. Then again, I’m not fond of season ending cliff-hangers.

    • Agreed I felt like it was a nice hot chocolate after almost freezing to death!

  9. It was a massive fail for a final episode. At least with most top shows they end a season in an interesting or exciting way then manage to leave an opening to the following season aswell. This did not.

  10. I thought the season finale was fine, it gave us a little peek at everyone’s goings on.

    And season 3 was more than half of Storm of Swords, I’m thinking in season 4 they’ll finish book 3 and actually delve into a bit of books 4 AND 5. The scenes with Theon/Reek aren’t actually seen until much later. If memory serves, after winterfell was sacked and Theon captured, in the books it was a long time before anyone knew what happened to Theon, but on the show they went right into Theon’s story with no break, though I did like the way they created the mystery of his captor throughout the season, with clues left for the viewer.

  11. This is Walking Dead all over again. People scream for nonstop action scenes and no character development.

    Goes to show that many may not understand the show they are watching.

    • Exactly. Weren’t 2 major characters killed off in the previous episode?
      I swear people are so impatient. This show is at it’s core a drama and it needs to show how the characters react to the events of the Red Wedding. If they wanted a show that was non-stop action they should watch 24.

    • Exactly. This episode had so much character development. I really like that episode and what was said earlier every 10nd episode of got is mellow to the 9th ep. Season 1,2 and 3.

    • I agree . there are alot people whining who really should pick up a book and read it every now and then, instead they moan and groan also with out any depth of characters the show would grow too stale .

      • so many people are accustomed to t.v instant gratification, they want cliff hangers and extreme reveals leading to another cliff-hangers, its bloody exhausting.

    • Well said! People are way to focused on the violence of the show. (though engaging) that they forget to care about the AMAZING character development.

    • @Kofi

      I disagree. What people ultimately want is a closure of the running themes throughout the season and then a reason to stick around for the next season.

      Just like Walking Dead season 3, Game of Thrones built things up with it’s penultimate episode but never gave viewers the payoff it deserved.

      Whilst I believe that yes, the season finale should be exciting and be the biggest episode of the season, there doesn’t necessarily have to be an action scene every 5 mins. The Borgias season 2 finale wasn’t action packed but had some terrific scenes that were dramatic and at least gave the viewer something to wait for next year.

      There’s a difference between no character development and lack of urgent storytelling .Sadly Game of Thrones is spending too much time on characters that don’t matter instead of delivering a compelling exciting story which seems almost ridiculous given that its a medieval fantasy show.

      Smallville and Spartacus were able to consistently deliver action packed finales whilst retaining character development. I really can’t see why Game of Thrones cannot do the same.

      • All the characters with focus are important, I know it feels slow because it is a giant novel series, every line is important, they all lead to what I believe will be a climax of epic proportions.

  12. With last episode being a very epic I kind of thought they would go the “set up the epilogue for next season” route. With last season’s finale being just awesome I thought they would at least attempt at making it somewhat exciting but what I got was a boring filter episode. Yes, it was still an okay episode but just disappointed that I got a finale that was soo lackluster. It’s The Walking Dead finale all over again. A buildup to something that could have been a very epic but only to disappoint.

  13. Perhaps the finale was anti-climactic, but I think it really needed to be. The Red Wedding was one of the most powerful episodes ever seen on television. The show needed to explore the effects of the RW on the key players and get the characters in place for next season. This was not a time for startling reveals. We still have lots of Book 3 story-telling in front of us. It’s not all action, folks. This is not a video game. The writers are doing a wonderful job developing the key players and their relationships. The scene with Tywin, Tyrion, and Joffrey was outstanding, for example, and quite necessary
    for future story-telling. We see Arya exacting revenge–her first kill. Theon becomes Reek. Stannis now knows that he needs to take his army to the North. Dany becomes the mother of thousands of slaves. Etc., etc. Each scene was necessary for the unfolding of the story in season 4. It’s about the characters!

    • excellent!

  14. Interesting reactions to the last two episodes.

    Episode 9 instilled an over reaction to characters dying that most cared little about or downright disliked.

    Episode 10 explores the aftermath of the Red Wedding and its affects on the other players as well as setting up the next season; engendering disappointment and negative responses.

    Fascinating.

  15. With the exception of the exciting final scene (which is the only thing this finale had), the Game of Thrones finales have always been about setting up the storylines for next season, all the exciting stuff happens in the ninth episode. What, do you people want this show to blow you away every single episode? It’s not going to happen.

    Given the tragic circumstances of the last episode you need to give the show a bit of breathing space and let the events of the Red Wedding sink in for the characters and see how they react. Season 3 was only the first 50/60% of the third book anyway. The rest is still to come in season 4.

    • this finale didn’t have* :P

  16. I could not be happier with this show. Once Breaking Bad is finished, This will be the Number One show on tv. As far as the drama to action ratio… everyone who sticks with it through next season will be rewarded. I really find it hard to talk about it without spoiling it. And for those who were letdown by the finale and don’t want to watch anymore… Good riddance. This story is too epic for you to understand.

  17. What I hate about GoT is that they make 6-7 mediocre episodes and then 3 great ones, unlike the first season, which was amazing. And now, they didn’t even finish the book, they could, if they moved the red wedding to the episode 5, Joffreys wedding in episode 7-8…

  18. Fair enough that the last episode was going to be a load of reactions to the red wedding but I was very disappoint at the way George R. R. Martin vision and layout which I find brilliant was not addressed again. Not giving to much away but people are arriving in places before major events have even unfolded. HBO needed to try and stay on par with the books for the fans of both book and TV show. The reason the series of novels where and are best sellers is due to the fans of that read them and the structured way the story is told by George R. R. Martin.Stick to the script.

    • We were just talking about that at work today, lol. A couple of people brought up The Hobbit references today with how season 3 went for GOT. I kept hearing “too many side stories”, “I trust George R. R. Martin but the show is moving too slow”, “they are straying away from the source material with characters and major events”, “I loved George R.R. Martin’s books but since Season 1 the series are far as progression is just average compared to other shows to TV right now”. I’ve always seen GOT fans excited, thrilled, and very positive for the next season since the series began on HBO but I’ve never seen soo much negative feedback as I have today. It’s something rather fascinating. A good comparison is TWD finale. TWD finale was a setup epilogue for next season but still people had a certain hatred for it and I see the same feedback here. Just fascinating

    • But it could be said that Martin moved ‘too fast’ after the Red Wedding in the books. I kind of look at it as a difference perspective of the same canon. Sure, you know it didn’t happen exactly that way, but the original canon doesn’t speak to what the show is portraying, so its believable.

  19. I thought the finale was perfect the way they set up all the storylines for next season. Why are people saying it sucked? Because their was little violence? They set up future seasons perfectly. Its waht makes this show great they dont show violence just to show it. Its one of the best written shows on tv right now, if not of all time

    • It was once

  20. It was the perfect season finale to balance out the prior episode. The Red Wedding opened up all sorts of possibilities. This episode tied up necessary loose ends, revealed character, and created an intellectually solid launching pad for Season Four. It’s rather unimaginative to think that every season must end on a cliff-hanger to be resolved at the opening of the next season. Winter is Coming is enough of a threat component. This season-finale set the necessary stage to resolve how the Houses deal with the collective threat as they fight for supremacy among themselves. This was a thoughtful, intelligent finale for which one is grateful to the writers.

  21. I’m a little surprised to read so many complaints about the finale.
    This is how it’s been for the past 3 seasons, episode 9 is when the s**t hits the fan, episode 10 is mostly set-up for the next season with a moment at the end that really hammers home what’s about to happen.
    The moment that I was really surprised to have a reaction to… Jamie walking into the room with Cersei. I was actually happy for him!!! What the hell does that say about me???

    • It says, like me, you’ve watched in season 3 Jamie transform from this dishonest, loathsome individual to this multidimensional man who desperately wants to be honorable and forthright … all thanks to Brianne of Tarth.

      I was happy for him too for I so want him to continue on his current path to becoming a better man.

      (Is it weird that I get that wrapped up in this show??)

  22. At least they finally got Aria to have her ‘first’ kill. Readers know just how much of a bad a$s Aria is. Also, my other complaint might be the lack of foreshadowing. As one who knew, before reading the books, that Rob had to pay for the slight on the House Frey for his slight, I’m not sure if they did a good job of giving an idea of what’s to come. I fear so many might be turned off by last weeks bloodletting, the show might not get to finish the story…

  23. I’m still surprised such terrible fantasy is so popular. It’s just War of the Roses told in a different setting….and badly at that!

    • Then don’t watch or read. I know it’s your opinion, but if you watch a show or read a book only for the purpose of ragging on the fans or material then you lose your right to post a comment. You’re like Mark Whalberg’s character in ‘The Other Guys’, did you learn how to dance ballet sarcastically as well?

  24. Extremely unexpected finale…The death of Robb Stark and his wife and mother just gave me nightmares. I was hoping so bad that he’s going to win that war and revenge his father.I liked from the begining House Stark specially ’cause of those awesome Dusk Wolves ( cool ideea to me). And there are only Shaggydog, Summer and Ghost left :(. I still hope that the Starks left are going to finih what their brother started. But still….one year to wait..is waaaaay to much!

    • Nymeria (arya’s wolf) wasn’t killed on screen. 4 direwolves left…

    • you really should read the book.

  25. By the way! I still don’t understand what values are they trying to promote in this TV Series… Because kicking Robb Stark out of the paysage means that they are not promoting values like honor, love, compassion…or they are not promoting values at all. Thats why i’m pretty mad at them.

    • The duality of self promotion or self interest vs. the interest of the greater good. You see the self in House Lannister or House Tyrell and the greater good or the realm in House Stark or The Knight’s Watch. Even Daenerys has these competing values in herself. Is she after her crown in the Seven Kingdoms? What does that have to do with being a “mother” or freer of slaves? There are a bunch of values to still be worked out in GoT. Will they get to it all is my question…

  26. From A Storm Of Swords

    QUOTE:

    A NOTE ON CHRONOLOGY

    A Song of Ice and Fire is told through the eyes of characters who are sometimes hundreds or even thousands of miles apart from one another. Some chapters cover a day, some only an hour; others might span a fortnight, a month, half a year. With such a structure, the narrative cannot be strictly sequential; sometimes important things are happening simultaneously, a thousand leagues apart.
    In the case of the volume now in hand, the reader should realize that the opening chapters of A Storm of Swords do not follow the closing chapters of A Clash of Kings so much as overlap them. I open with a look at some of the things that were happening on the Fist of the First Men, at Riverrun, Harrenhal, and on the Trident while the Battle of the Blackwater was being fought at King’s Landing, and during its aftermath…

    GEORGE R. R. MARTIN

    END QUOTE

    Really, how hard is it to understand that events that play out on screen are not going to happen in the same order they happened in the books? Some of the chronology may be tweaked for the show, but it does very little in changing the main plot. It began last year when people were complaining about story lines being rushed as events from ASOS started happening towards the end of season two.

    Now people are upset that another wedding didn’t occur in the finale? I’m not surprised it didn’t happen, nor did I expect it. Anyone that is paying attention realizes that episode 9 features a climactic event, and episode 10 deals with the aftermath of said event. The only exception to that, you could argue, would be the birth of the dragons at the end of season one. The show is, first and foremost, a character-driven drama. The books are exactly the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next wedding doesn’t occur until mid-season four, somewhere between episodes three and six. Still, it’s possible they could stretch it out to be next season’s climax (though it’s my hope that they don’t). In any event, I can’t think of anything to come that can top the Red Wedding as a season climax. There are, however, several twists ahead that are worthy of continued viewing.

    In a sense, the finale spoiled an event for those who may have intended to read the books. I’m referring specifically to the revelation that Reek is in fact Theon Greyjoy, in which readers weren’t immediately privy to. However, a lot of that story didn’t unfold until much later, whereas we (as viewers) get to witness his transformation as it occurs. How would a literal adaptation make sense to viewers?

    The show will deviate from the books slightly, and that’s okay. Yes, some characters have died that don’t die in the books, but they were inconsequential to the major plot. Some of the episodes people deem as “boring” often contain the most important developments to understanding that plot. With so much material to cover in such a short season, hardly a word of dialogue is wasted. One only needs to be paying attention to what’s being said.

    • I would agree with that account for the most part. Usually the script is very efficient at telling the core story of the books. But sometimes I’m baffled about side plots that they choose to shoe horn in, considering how tight they are for screen time. One example. Podrick Payne’s trip to the brothel and the scene with Tyrion and Bronn… Really? That was necessary why? There have been other examples of these sorts of indulgences and most, sadly, seem to have something to do with needlessly ramping up the T&A factor.

  27. This season as a whole wasn’t very good to me.With the exception of episode 9,the rest of the season was just too slow and plodding.It’s like they have taken a page out of Tarantino’s storytelling book.Lot’s of build up and set up,for a quick payoff.The only things that really happened that were actually exciting this season,was the King Slayer getting his hand chopped off,the head of The Night’s Watch biting it,and the events at the wedding in ep.9.Other than that,everything in this entire season was just set up.

    This show has a definite pacing problem that needs to be resolved if they want to keep people interested.I’m not saying go balls to the wall every episode,but there’s a lot of unnecessary exposition that could easily be trimmed to pick up the pace,mainly from supporting character like Samwell,who I do like,but they have spent way too much time on him.

    At this point,the only thing that I’m looking forward to next season,which should have been shown in this episode,is Little Finger’s reaction to what happened.I’m extremely curious to see if his character has more depth than just his own preservation.

    • I dig what you say about Samwell, they shouldn`t have given him so much screen time, especially considering they did not develop his character in all this time (basically because we already knew much about him).

    • I agree. I think as a whole this show is great but as you said the pacing on this show needs to be resolved. Some episodes are great and some parts in others are just useless. I still love the show and will support anything in this genre but at this point it’s like The Walking Dead where it’s a good show but not an epic show

  28. Looking back at the show, I think they f^^ed up with the last two episodes. They should have ended it with the Red Wedding, not with Danny being worshiped by people nobody cares about. I know that`s what they did with the first 2 seasons (episode 9 was the culmination), but still the last episode of each season has had something big in it (revealing the dragons and revealing the walkers). I think it`s wrong that they didn`t give Jamie and Cersei some dialogue, and that they didn`t explore more of the Lannister family feud (because duh, make the final episode a couple of minutes longer ,that will suffice).

    I get it, they wanted the audicence to chill after the massacre and give an idea about where every story arc is going in the next season, but think about it: Jamie gets home, what a shock; the Others threaten the lands (we knew that from season 2 basically); Danny is worshiped by slaves (knew that), and the rest of the “reveals” are just things that could have happened in every other episode.

    I would have cut the scene with Jon Snow being shot in the back right there, to leave the people guessing, but I liked the Davos/Gendry part. I`m not even gonna mention Lady Stoneheart or Coldhands. Although I admit revelaing Coldhands would have been too soon, at least they could have hinted Lady Stoneheart in some way, maybe by means of the Brotherhood.

    I`m frankly a little dissapointed with the show, but it is defenetly one of the best shows on tv and I will continue to watch it. Things about to occur are very exciting for those who have not read the books.

    • Yes, I agree. People keep saying, “well, it’s been like that for the last 2 seasons” but the difference is in each season finale there was a “big reveal”(dragons, walkers). Even just a reference to Lady Stoneheart would have made this finale just that much better.

  29. It’s not an entire year people, and if you need to know what happens, there are books you can read. The season finale was just what it needed to be. The “Red Wedding” literally closed the season with all the climax anyone needs for a year. What I find fascinating is the inability most people have to look at this show as a complete picture. The series dragged in the beginning but delivered one hell of story at the end of the season. In my opinion with the North wiped out, the battle is on. The White-walkers are coming and all these families that are fighting for what they believe are rightfully theirs is about to transcend to a whole new level of chaos. Remember, chaos is a ladder and all there is, is the climb.

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