Perhaps that is why “The Children” manages to be the best season finale Game of Thrones has done yet, and for my money, one of this series’ finer episodes to date. It is a breathless hour of television that swings from high to high.
Browsing: Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones often seems to consider itself less as a television show than as a novel playing out on the small screen. As such, it pays little attention to the concerns of episodic structure, and even seems, at times, to struggle against the confines of a season. This is a big, complex epic that is unwinding slowly, and each season plays out like a chunk in a larger story.
That sequence ends “The Mountain and the Viper,” and while it is a very strong fight scene, it feels rushed and truncated. Everything in the episode leads up to this moment, like the show was checking off various character boxes until it could get to the real action, but by the time it got there, the episode didn’t have time to give that final confrontation the weight it deserved.
Few shows are better at long, drawn out monologues than Game of Thrones. This is one of the show’s chief assets, as it allows backstory, character motivations, and plotting to all be dealt out within long, meandering speeches that its bevy of excellent performers can…
Among the many ways Game of Thrones explores power, the one it is most fascinated with in “The Laws of Gods and Men” is legacy. Power is the ultimate goal of virtually everyone on this show (even Varys, who claims to lack all desire, gives a long glance at the Iron Throne when asked what he can focus on due to his utter lack of interest …
Game of Thrones has a problem. Last week, I talked at length about the reasons I thought Jaime’s rape of Cersei was a mistake, both from a plot perspective, as an adaptation choice, and as an indication of the message this series is trying to send to its viewers. I am unsurprised to find that the rape is pretty much completely ignored tonight, but that doesn’t mean I’m not unhappy about it. Yet “Oathkeeper” isn’t satisfied to just have one major character rape another for virtually inexplicable reasons and then completely ignore it. No, this week we are introduced to a completely unnecessary (and, I should add, entirely invented; nothing like this exists in the books) subplot about the Night’s Watch mutineers and the rape den they have set up for themselves in Craster’s Keep.
A sense of shock hangs over “Breaker of Chains,” an episode about all of our characters contending with the death of King Joffrey and the monumental changes it will mean for them. This is a quiet episode of Game of Thrones, skipping around less frenetically than the first half of “The Lion and The Rose,” pausing to let the grief, regret, opportunism, and cynicism these characters feel in the wake of Joffrey’s death sink in. “Breaker of Chains” feels less consequential than perhaps it should, but it takes moments to remind us that, beneath all the scheming and betrayals, these characters our people whose worldviews are shaped by the events that become water cooler fodder for those of us watching at home.
All too often on Game of Thrones, the bad guys win. The world of Westeros is not a fairytale utopia; this is not the type of story you tell your children before you tuck them in at night. This is a cold, brutal, uncaring universe where the strong generally triumph over the weak and the powerful tend to keep their clutches on power. This is life. But sometimes, even in life, the wicked get what’s coming to them, and in “The Lion and the Rose,” the cruel, merciless reign of King Joffrey Baratheon comes to a suitably gruesome end.
When Arya Stark and The Hound ride up to that end in the final sequence of “Two Swords,” she is on his horse, a prisoner agitating for her freedom more out of a sense of will than out of any likelihood her pleas will be heard by her captor. Her situation has gone from bad to worse pretty much since she witnessed the death of her father, Ned Stark, back in season one. Arya has seen the dark side of Westeros, the part that chews up the weak and spits them out, and it has changed her. But she has not let it break her. When Arya and The Hound leave that Inn, she rides her own horse, and carries with her, for the first time since season two, her very own sword. She has exacted revenge on one of her enemies, and earned the respect of Sandor Clegane. The point being, that on Game of Thrones, things change. Alliances shift. Nothing is stable except the fact that no one can be trusted.
Game of Thrones isn’t just one of the smartest, most intricate and complex shows on television right now–it is also one of the most quotable. In preparation for tonight’s season four premiere, we wanted to take a look back at season three’s greatest quotes, from the philosophically resonant, to the witheringly sarcastic, from the double entendres to the thinly veiled threats (and, in some excellent cases, completely straightforward threats). These are ten moments from season three that have stuck with us for an entire year. Here’s to a season four that is just as memorable.