Before I begin, I should clarify that I have not read any of the books in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, which will make this post seem sacrilegiously out of place on a blog that will (maybe) predominantly deal with books. I might read them in the future, who knows, but for now, I can’t see Martin’s septilogy finishing any time soon and I would be frustrated if I were to start the books only for Martin to kick the bucket before he is able to complete them, à la the (first) author of the Wheel of Time series. Nevertheless, I have succumbed to religiously watching the TV series and like millions of viewers around the world, I LOVE IT.
As you know, the final episode of this amazing and epic TV series aired only a couple of days ago and I couldn’t resist in adding to the saturation of online discussion and heated response. But rather than attempt to approach a television series through my standard pretentiously over-analytic English Lit major gaze, I figured it would be better on everyone, including myself, if I gave a breakdown of what I consider to be…
The 10 best bits in Season Three of Game of Thrones
#10 “You know nothing, Jon Snow”
First, there was “Winter is Coming”. Then, “A Lannister always pays his debts”. And this season, Ygritte really takes the biscuit with the number of times she sneeringly mutters these five words throughout the series. Does she say it in every episode that she is in? I bet she does. She says it so often and so flippantly that she is even interrupted mid-sentence by Jon who proves her wrong by informing her what a windmill is. Though its overuse in the series is ridiculous, there is a certain comfort in hearing this disparagement and just like the other aforementioned phrases, one only has to hear a put-on Northern drawl of “Jun Snuuuh” with no context whatsoever for fellow watchers to know what you are nodding to. I imagine that the actors will have this catchphrase follow them to the grave.
#9 Brienne and the bear
What’s great about Jaime Lannister is his total transformation from a sister-fucking child-crippling villain to a respectable contender for the show’s most awesome character. His banter with Brienne and, of course, the fact that he stands up for her multiple times and saves her from a BEAR just about outweighs his gross act of executing Bran’s non-consensual defenestration. I often get too absorbed in films and TV, and I remember being figuratively on the edge of my seat during the bear scene, frantically hoping she would survive. And she did, and we love Jaime the more for it.
#8 Dick in a Box
Hate Theon Greyjoy all you want, and rightly so, but his torture scenes awakened some capacity for empathy with his character. Should I feel bad for Theon because Ramsay Snow a.k.a. Simon from Misfits cuts off his cock? Perhaps. These scenes were very difficult to watch and no matter how much torture one receives, there ain’t nobody who should ever be subjected to that. Hats off to Simon from Misfits though, for playing the part of a character so effortlessly creepy and for rivalling Joffrey in receiving unanimous hatred.
You can uncross your legs now, as this brings us seamlessly to the next point…
#7 Where Varys casually keeps a man in a box this whole time
One way to get revenge on the guy who cuts off your genitals for the purpose of a magic ritual is to kidnap him and keep him tied up and starved in a crate in King’s Landing until further notice. Theon could take note for the future. Varys is secretly one of the most underrated characters in terms of WTFery and in pulling things that make you go “Awwww shit” as he unleashes this bombshell to Tyrion on explaining how he become a eunuch.
#6 The union of Tyrion and Sansa
I was undecided about which moment was the most stirring about the union of this pair. Whether it is Tywin putting his fist down and forcing this arranged marriage, or Tyrion having to break the news to Sansa in front of Shae, or when Joffrey is a total dick and takes away those steps at their wedding, or the tender moment after the wedding feast when Tyrion tells Sansa that they will only consummate their marriage if she wants to. I suppose what was the most striking part was that I never expected these two major characters to ever get into such a position and I am excited to see where their future goes from here. Probably Tyrion’s best moment in the season is his outburst to Joffrey threatening him with the immortal words:
Lad points to Tyrion.
#5 Jaime loses his hand (this number is appropriately the number of fingers Jaime has left)
In the grand scheme of things, this is small time compared to the accumulation of drama and violence to come. However, it is still a surprising moment and one that defines a turning point in the whole show – that anything brutal and unexpected can happen to anyone.
I am not a huge fan of Daenerys’ storyline overall since her exploits in season one, there, I said it. But her taking over the city of Astapor was enjoyable to see. No fucks were given as she reveals that she speaks the language that she was being berated in and casually burns that merchant to a crisp, taking his 8,000 and freeing the slaves. Good work, Mhysa.
#3 Chaos is a ladder
Littlefinger’s epic speech accompanied by a montage of unhappiness – Ros at the crossbow of Joffrey, and Sansa watching Littlefinger’s ship sail away. The TV series adaptation made sure to put in this haunting scene in case you weren’t 100% sure whether or not you hated Joffrey for being a twisted sociopath.
#2 Grandma Tyrell
Grandma Tyrell. Aw lawdy. Other than the absolute bro that is Davos Seaworth, Grandma Tyrell is probably my favourite character. She is the definition of an elderly woman who is past the point of giving a shit and says what she wants to whoever she wants. She is a quote-worthy woman:
So, their son will be your [Loras’] nephew. After you’re wed to Cersei of course. And you will be the king’s step-father and brother-in-law. When you [Margaery] marry the king, Joffrey’s mother will become his sister-in-law. And you son will be Loras’… nephew? Grandson? I’m not sure. But you brother will become your father-in-law. That much is beyond dispute.
I hope there is more of her to come because she is excellent.
#1 The Red Wedding
Everything that needs to be said about the Red Wedding has already been said. But my God. I know a HUGE spoiler (unfortunately) for the next season but I was not expecting this climactic moment to happen at all. It took me completely off guard and I felt dem chills. However, if you are going to name your kid after Eddard Stark, well, don’t expect it to live beyond the end of the ninth episode
In all, a traumatic and memorable episode but one that totally made this season great. If you look here, a lot of people are mad. This is obviously testimony towards the power of storytelling and the bittersweet burden of becoming invested in fiction, etc., yet I cannot help but agree with Martin’s ideology over his work and that nobody ought to really be mad at Martin, because that’s just the way it be when it comes to creating fiction.
You read that certain kind of fiction where the guy will always get the girl and the good guys win and it reaffirms to you that life is fair. We all want that at times. There’s a certain vicarious release to that … But that’s not the kind of fiction I write, in most cases. It’s certainly not what Ice and Fire is. It tries to be more realistic about what life is. It has joy but it also has pain and fear. I think the best fiction captures life in all its light and darkness.
Not to say that one can’t be upset or emotional when characters they love get brutally murdered or when villains come out smelling of roses, but it is a mistake to assume that GoT should pander to the fantastical expectations of justice that much of its audience misguidedly yearns for and to ragequit because the story didn’t do what you wanted it to. That’s realism, yo. As Ramsay Snow explains to Theon, “if you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention”.