Over the past four years, since making it’s debut in April 2011, Game Of Thrones has grown to become a true worldwide phenomenon; it’s the most popular show HBO have ever produced (a true accomplishment for the network which gave us The Sopranos, The Wire, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire and Rome), and being based on the worldwide best-selling novels of George R.R. Martin it’s not hard to see why.
Based on Martin’s series of Fantasy novels A Song Of Ice And Fire, Game Of Thrones is set in the sprawling fictional world of Westeros, where great families go to war for control of the Seven Kingdoms, each vying to gain power, control, and hoping to secure the infamous iron throne for their own ends. It’s a show embroiled in intrigue, mystery, and fantastical elements where sex and violence are part of everyday life, everyone has an agenda, a score to settle, and not one of your favourite characters is ever safe.
So without further ado, ahead of the Season 5 premiere on April 12th in the US (on HBO) and on April 13th in the UK (on Sky Atlantic), we present the third of our Game Of Thrones “Best Of” features, celebrating the top ten moments from Game Of Thrones Season Three (episode by episode).
Needless to say, massive spoilers follow.
Despite winning the battle of Blackwater Bay, things have taken a bit of a downward turn for Tyrion, and all his hopes of receiving recognition and reward from his father are dashed when he and Tywin have one of the most tense and brutal exchanges in the history of Westerns (where Tywin scolds his son for killing his wife while she gave birth to him). Still, such a memorable and frank exchange cannot compare to the first time we, and Jon Snow, see a giant. A real-life, north-of-the-wall, giant. Hammering a gigantic fence post into the ground with his bare fists.
In Episode Two we see Sansa meet the outspoken granny Tyrell, Brienne fight Jamie, and Lord Karstark deliver one of the truest statements ever spoken (saying Robb lost the war the day he married his queen, rather than the Frey girl he promised to wed in Season One), but the highlight of the episode comes when a disheveled Catelyn, clearly worried about her children’s fates, shows a rare moment of vulnerability; talking of both her love and hate for Jon Snow (her late husband’s bastard son), and constantly wrestling with her conscience about killing or caring for him. It’s not only a gripping tale of fear, grief, love, and betrayal, but a thought-inducing monologue, and one which makes us even more endeared to Lady Stark.
With a number of stand-out moments; including the loss of Jamie’s hand and Edmure’s failure to light his father’s funeral pyre (and subsequent showing-up at the hand of his uncle); there can be only one true Episode Three highlight. Proving to be a series highlight, and one which still perplexes many a viewer, adding a pleasingly comic outlet to an episode in an increasingly dark series, we learn that Pod, yes Podrick (Tyrion’s timid young servant) may just be the best lover in all the Seven Kingdoms; after he proves so efficient, so… pleasing, to the whores who’ve been given to him as a gift, they refuse to take payment! Baffling not only everyone in Westeros (Ros, Varys, Tyrion and Bronn all try to find out ‘how’ he managed it), but everyone watching as well.
After an eventful first season, Danerys Targaryen and her dragons felt like a bit of a let down in Season Two. Not so here. Since arriving in Astapor, meeting Ser Baristan, and generally being rather polite to the coarse slave-master, Danerys unleashes a strength greater than anything we’ve ever seen before with the sacking of Astapor. Shocking viewers, her subjects (even close and loyal confidants), and proving she’s not only a strong woman but immensely clever and a born leader the Khalessi frees the Unsullied from their chains, burns the masters where they stand and gains a truly loyal army in the process. A fantastic scene, accompanied a by perfectly fitting score, and providing a timely reminder that neither Danerys or her dragons are to be trifled with.
The Hound wins a trial by combat which results in a bit of black magic, Tywin plans to wed both Tyrion and Cersei to different families, and Jon Snow loses his virginity to the wildling Ygritte. The finest piece of acting and the real humanising of a character, who started out as a horribly cocky knight who was bedding his own sister and attempting to murder children within a two minute window, however comes when Jamie takes a bath; leading to a rare moment of vulnerability where he confesses his sins to Brienne, and tells the tale of how he earned the name Kingslayer (having to choose between murdering the man he swore to protect, or his own father and a city full of innocent people), breaking down in the process.
Being called The Climb, it’s easy to guess both what happens in the sixth episode of Season Three (Jon and the wildling group he’s accompanying climb The Wall), and what proves to be the highlight; a special effects marvel, a near-fall for Jon and Ygritte, and a gargantuan task which results in Jon and Ygritte sharing a romantic moment, standing in each other’s arms and watching the sunset over the world from the top of The Wall.
We’ve Brienne fighting a bear, Robb finding out he’s going to be a father, and Tywin being summoned by Joffrey (though by the end of their exchange there’s clearly no doubt as to who holds the real power), but the best, nicest, and most sweet moment of Episode Seven comes once again from Jon and Ygritte; with the wildling pack passing a disused old windmill, and Ygritte genuinely asking if it’s a palace.
Commanded by Lord Tywin, Tyrion marries Sansa Stark. It’s a heartbreaking match for Sansa, as after being tormented by Joffrey for years she believed she was to marry the handsome (though unknown to her, rather gay) Lord of Flowers and escape Kings Landing, but instead has ended up marrying a Lannister; the uncle of the man who had her father killed, and a dwarf at that. Tyrion’s always been good to Sansa though, and wrestling with his conscience he agreed to marry the girl he still sees as a child, but has to get blind drunk at the wedding reception; proving for a tense and heated exchange when he publicly threatens the King (his young nephew), and a truly heartwarming/heartbreaking scene where he informs Sansa he will not enter her bed until she wants him to. “And so my watch begins.”
Watch from 1:56 to go behind the wedding reception.
Three words define Game Of Thrones‘ most shocking event; The Red Wedding. Despite winning every battle, Robb Stark has still been losing the war against the Lannisters, and after a series of bad decisions he finds himself, his close family, and a good chunk of what remains of his army, guests of Walder Frey (the man who’s daughter Robb promised to marry in season one). After an awkward meeting, a jolly wedding, a feast and some jokes the doors lock shut, the band begins to play The Rains Of Castamere (the Lannister song), and Catelyn Stark suddenly realises Robb has been betrayed by not only Walder Frey, but his bannerman Roose Bolton as well; a realisation which comes all too late, as the crossbow bolts begin to fly, the Frey swords are drawn, and almost all that remains of the Stark line is cut down to nothing (with the deaths of Robb, his mother, his queen, and his unborn son). It’s shocking, it’s brutal, it completely changes the balance of power within the Seven Kingdoms, and left fans reeling for months, but what’s even more shocking… it’s based on an actual event from medieval Scotland.
In the closing episode of Season 3, with everyone still reeling from the events of The Red Wedding (leading Arya, who was heartbreakingly close to finally reuniting with her family, to kill some of the men she finds bragging about murdering her mother and brother), Joffrey brags about winning the war and makes the rather tasteless decision to serve Robb’s head to Sansa at his own wedding (an outburst which leads to an amazing piece of TV where Tywin sends the king to bed without his supper), Ramsey Snow eats a sausage, and we see the breakdown of Jon and Ygritte’s doomed love affair. As after killing most of the wildling party he was with, Ygritte catches up to Jon and, with both clearly heartbroken over their inevitable partying of ways, she puts three arrows into him before he can escape and head for Castle Black.
Agree with the list? Think there’s a glaring omission or something which has no place being on any ‘Top Ten’ list? Or simply want to talk about the show? Get involved and let us know in the comments section below.