Welcome to the second installment of Dead Season Discussion, where Jeff of Slazenger1 and I discuss Season 3 of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Not only is Game of Thrones more popular than our first effort, ABC’s Last Resort, but it’s also a better program, meaning we probably won’t spend 2,000+ words discussing what we didn’t like about the show.
If the title didn’t make SEASON 3 SPOILERS obvious, then you need to start paying attention while you read. Oh, and also, book 3 spoiler alert. There are, however, NO spoilers from later in the book series, beyond what season 3 of the TV show covers.
For the final part of our Game of Thrones Season 3 analysis, we go back to the well for some more superlatives. If you haven’t read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 yet, here are the links. This time, though, there’s no theme. They’re all Reviewer’s Choice! Enjoy and thanks for reading!
Best Main Theme (Patches)
Ramin Djawadi: I have been a big fan of Ramin Djawadi’s work ever since his incredible soundtrack for EA’s 2010 Medal of Honor reboot. Although the Game of Thrones soundtracks aren’t at that level, the show’s main theme is the best theme song on television. It’s so good that I can’t watch an episode without watching the opening.
Most Blatant Ripoff of The CW’s Beauty and the Beast (Jeff)
Tyrion Lannister: The books make Tyrion sound ugly to begin with, something that couldn’t really be helped once Peter Dinklage was cast in the role. After Tyrion gets his face slashed during the Battle of Blackwater, the books frequently discuss his apparent lack of nose and general disfigurement. Rather than cause viewers to puke up lamprey pie every time they saw Tyrion, the TV team decided to go the CW route of “guy with a sexy scar.” Probably a good move.
Best Cold Open (Patches)
Episode 10 – “Mhysa”: My one complaint about “The Rains of Castamere’s” depiction of the Red Wedding was that we didn’t get a sense of the sheer scale of the carnage. Then, the very first scene of “Mhysa” shows Northerner camps aflame, bloody slaughter, and a brief eerie shot of a severed direwolf head on Robb Stark’s body. Now THAT’S the Red Wedding I remember.
Most Unsatisfying Attempts to Prove that “We do too have a CGI budget!” (Jeff)
Episode 1 – “Valar Dohaeris”: Hey, we saw a giant! Hey, he didn’t do anything exciting (and he never reappeared after episode 1). Also, how important was it to show that Dany’s dragons can catch fish and fry them in midair? It seemed just a little bit cartoonish. Maybe next season Hodor will make a giant sandwich and eat it all in one bite!
Best Battle Scene (Patches)
Beric/Hound: Two words: Flaming. Sword.
Best Independence Day Reference (Jeff)
Episode 5 – “Kissed by Fire”: No, it wasn’t when Sam stabbed the white walker with the dragonglass dagger and proclaimed “I have go to get me one of these!” It wasn’t when Daario, Grey Worm and Jorah snuck into Yunkai and gave it a virus. It wasn’t when the Hound knocked out Arya to get her away from the Red Wedding and exclaimed “Welcome to Middle Earth!…er, Westeros.” Nope. It was when we got to see just how far the madness of Queen Selyse goes. She introduce us to the rest of Stannis’ family, namely, his three pickled, glass tube-bound sons, “or as some of us have come to call it: The Freak Show.”
Best Episode Number in the Series (Patches)
Nine: Great shows don’t end on the bang. They end after dealing with its aftermath, making episode nine the unforgettable episode of each season. Season 1 had Ned’s execution. Season 2 had the Battle of the Blackwater. This season had the Red Wedding. That’s a pretty solid list right there.
Best Endorsement for the Westeros Postal Service (Jeff)
Tie – Varys and Ramsay Snow: Not only does Varys get a sorcerer shipped to him, and not only does he gets a sorcerer shipped to him from across the sea, he gets a sorcerer shipped to him from across the sea and the dude arrives alive. That’s impressive. Also, kudos to Ramsay for sending Theon’s favorite toy to his family in a nice wooden box. He may be a bastard, but you know the guy shelled out for “package” insurance.
Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor (Patches)
Hodor: Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor
Most Satisfying Attempts to Prove that “We do too have a CGI budget!” (Jeff)
Blackwater aftermath and Sam the Slayer: I think my favorite CGI moment of the season was the overhead shot of Melisandre and Gendry sailing through Blackwater Bay. I’m not certain why they decided to go so close to King’s Landing, though. Also, Sam finally figuring out what dragonglass can do was pretty cool, though it was a little too The Birds-esque, methinks.
Worst Howard Zinn Impression (Patches)
Patches: One of the bigger criticisms of Game of Thrones, especially pre-”Blackwater,” was that the show didn’t depict the battles of the War of the Five Kings. If it was due to budgetary concerns, I can understand. I think what we really miss is a depiction of the nature of war. The books did a remarkable job of describing the bloodiness of the various battles, a barren Riverlands, the flood of refugees, burning villages, etc. The series makes the war seem like a game of chess, which it is to the various leaders. But war is not chess. War is death and suffering and misery. To be fair, the series is called Game of Thrones, but I still think the show is missing out on a critical idea.
Best “Very Special Episode” Moment (Jeff)
Episode 5 – “Kissed by Fire”: We’re never going to get an episode where Renly gets to come out to his family. Dany’s crew seems more interested in freeing slaves than teaching us that “they’re just like us.” We’re still several years early for an episode about gun violence (“Give me the [crossbow], Carlton!). Thankfully, Game of Thrones allowed us an episode in which Davos (an adult man with a title) reveals that he is illiterate and then is taught how to read by Shireen, King Stannis’ disgustingly cute daughter. Props to actor Liam Cunningham for giving us a great little moment in Episode 8 (“Second Sons”) of him enjoying his picture book.
Best Painful Realization (Patches)
Cersei and Tyrion: The old adage about misery and company helps explain why Cersei and Tyrion with their guards down are so compelling. Both of them are trapped. She’s trapped by her gender. He’s trapped by his dwarfism. Neither will ever get what they want. They both know it too.
Best Garden State Reference (Jeff)
Episode 6 – “The Climb”: Jon and Ygritte climb to the top of The Wall, stare into Albert’s (Aegon’s?) Infinite Abyss and then share an epic kiss. “The Only Living Boy in the North”…
Best Running Joke (Patches)
Pod the Rod: I won’t take credit for the nickname, especially when I’m writing this alongside its originator. Awkward Pod’s prowess popped up (amirite?) several times over the course of the season. Just like Baelish’s employees, I couldn’t get enough.
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