Season three of Game of Thrones doesn’t ever have a lull. Just when you think you know what’s happening and why you’re given more information and you receive the unexpected from a visual storytelling standpoint and via the storyline. This season, the most memorable (after the last season), is incendiary. I only say that because of episode nine, aptly named, “Rains of Castamare” and what occurs in the 52 minutes of television.
The events leading up to episode are just as important. There are few characters’ storylines (as all the others) here that continue moving the plot along.
Theon Greyjoy, we learn, has been captured after trying (and failing) to capture Winterfell in the last season. We, as viewers, are kept in the dark until the season finale regarding his tormentor’s identity and his motives behind it. A very clever way to keep us invested in Theon’s story throughout this season. This abuse, like everything in the series, has a role in who Theon becomes moving forward.
Jon Snow has met Mance Ryder, the leader of the widlings and has fallen in love with Ygritte (Rose Leslie), also a widling. What struck me the most about Snow and Ygritte’s pairing was mostly that I knew that they fell in love on set, during this season. Similar to how I felt when I saw the tedious Eyes Wide Shut with real life couple playing on screen couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman at the time, it was like peeking into their bedroom for all the world to see. While I’m sure viewers didn’t have that information at the time, because Kit Harington is a private person, I couldn’t not think about it; which made it distracting. Luckily, the show isn’t all about Jon Snow; so, that was a huge relief. This storyline, this season, really ramps us up for Jon Snow’s role in the Night Watch for season four.
Daenarys is trucking along and gains an army called the Unsullie; eunuchs who follow whoever is their master. We meet Missandei, the translator for Dany, and ultimately becomes her confidante for the remainder of the series. We learn early on that the phrase, “dracarys” is Dany’s signature trick for her dragons to expel fire upon hearing it. One of my favorite scenes in this season involves this use and illustrates just how unfuckable with she can be. She keeps it on the down low here and then bam! Dracarys! I gasped with joy. I rooted for her in this moment. Except for the last shot in the series.
She frees the slaves in Yunkai and they call her, “myhsa” meaning mother in Valerian. After a rousing speech, Dany is lifted up and floated around a sea of brown faces as they kept repeating this word. This connotation of this “white savior” in this context, while it being fantasy, didn’t sit well. Slaves, in the 1800s, saved themselves. I know this show isn’t meant to provide a social commentary on this time period, but to me, it felt like it was trying to correct a wrong that was created by the white population of that time period. I understood the importance of this scene and plot point for the series but I still didn’t like it.
Other than hearing Dany say, “Dracarys” and burning someone up, I enjoyed the switch in my feelings about The Hound aka Sandor Clegane and Jaime Lannister. These two characters start showing honor and humility in ways I didn’t think could be done on a show like this. I think their storylines is a testament to George R. R. Martin’s source material, the showrunners, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff and especially their performances. All I can say is there’s a bear in an arena with Brienne in the pit and Jamie shows up. A bear!!! It was a great scene and surprisingly heartwarming for me in spite of myself because I’m supposed to hate Jaime. And I did not in this moment.
Lastly, The Rains of Castamere is a song, that I mentioned in my last recap, and when it’s heard in episode nine, from the look on Catelyn Stark’s face, we know something’s up.
Early in this season, Cersei details the origin of the song to Margaery Tyrell, to do two things: to intimidate her and show her great distaste for her existence. While the alliance with House Tyrell is inevitable since she is now betrothed to Joffrey instead of Sansa, Cersei hates how well Margaery has become a beloved queen to King’s Landing. The origin of this song tells of how one house tried to attack the Lannisters and was wiped out. This song is Cersei’s way of saying, “Stay out of my way.” The scene is magical. Lena Heady’s performance is Cersei Lannister has to be my favorite villain in television history.
Back to episode nine. The Red Wedding refers to bloodshed on the day of Lord Edmure, Catelyn’s brother, marriage to Walder Frey’s daughter. Robb Stark married another woman, Talisa, instead of his daughter. Robb betrayed him and Frey, well, Frey didn’t take that very well.
Arya Stark arrives just in time to almost see her mom and brother but The Hound tells her, “It’s too late,” knocking her out and taking her away.
I anticipated the events and didn’t expect so much blood. It reminded of a Quentin Tarantino movie, in the vein of Kill Bill Volume 2. The deaths were almost comical and yet, heart-wrenching and beautifully choreographed. I remember seeing and hearing about the Red Wedding on social media and via friends.
I understand the hype about the show. It’s involving and you don’t know who will live or survive. This season, I have to say, is a favorite simply for the Red Wedding episode alone.
Still glad I didn’t watch live though. Those cliffhangers, oi!