Saturday, 12 November 2016

Game of Thrones (Season 3)

Game of Thrones (season 3); fantasy series, USA, 2013; D: Daniel Minahan, Alex Graves, Alik Sakharov, Michelle MacLaren, S: Peter Dinklage, Richard Madden, Michelle Fairley, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Charles Dance, Alfie Allen, Oona Chaplin, Sibel Kekilli

The fight for the throne of the Seven Kingdoms continues. Davos is given pardon by Stannis, but he decides to free a lad whom witch Melisandre wanted to sacrifice in order to cause a spell which would help Stannis gain the throne... Daenerys, with the help of her three dragons and her advisers, manages to buy 8,000 slave soldiers, gives them freedom and thus gains their support to conquer Yunkai... After his rebellion was quashed, Theon Greyjoy is being tortured by Ramsay Snow. Theon's father, Balon, is indifferent, but Theon's sister Yara decides to send an army to rescue Theon... Lord Frey tricks his guests and lets the Lannister army kill Robb Stark, his lover Talisa and his mother Catelyn in ambush during the wedding... Sam and Gilly and her baby and fleeing south from the Zombies on the north... Tyrion is unhappy that he has to marry Sansa, even though he secretly loves Shae, in order for the Lannisters to keep their power.

The 3rd season of the "Game of Thrones" series continues with all the elements of the previous seasons, including all the flaws and virtues that come with it: only episodes 3.3, 3.4 and 3.10 can be considered truly great, without reservations, while the quality of the others oscillates too much. The quality of the writing improved in this edition, with a few great quotes: in episode 3.3, after the funeral of the old Hoster Tully, Blackfish says this to Catelyn Stark: "Your father was a stubborn old ox. I was surprised when he died. Didn't think death had the patience." In 3.4, there is another gem of a quote, from Varys, who warns about Petyr Baelish: "He would see the realm burn if he could be the king of ashes." Unfortunately, the storyline overstretches itself in excess of too many subplots, making one wonder if the author lead its plot tangles to collapse from its own overambition. Likewise, it is highly questionable why there was so much violence and cruelty presented on the screen - it is understandable that they wanted to show how the barbarity of the (fictional) Middle ages looked like realistically, but did they not know of any kind of subtlety? The long and explicit torture sequence of Theon Greyjoy, for instance, has such a contempt for humanity, such a depravity and vile nature that the rest of the season never truly recovers after it.

One of the best moments surprisingly stems from a love story blossoming between Jon Snow and Ygritte - in one refreshing comic moment in 3.7, she jokes about being afraid of a spider in order to fall into his arms, in a wonderfully warm and cute scene - while Tyrion rises to the occasion in episode 3.8: even though he does not want to marry Sansa, and even though he is such a small individual who can be killed by the authoritarian King Joffrey in an instant, he proves incredible integrity and courage when he puts the King in his place after the latter wanted to 'bed' Sansa before him during the wedding: "Then you'll be f*** your own bride with a wooden cock!" You could hear a pin drop after that sequence. The author also has a sense for some historical ironies (for instance, Robb Snow won every battle he ever participated - yet lost everything when he died in an assassination attempt when he least expected it), while numerous critics praised the shocking finale in episode 3.8, as well as the strong cast of the entire series, with Emilia Clarke gaining momentum in each subsequent segment. The season follows about 10 stories parallely. However, only three of those get to a point in this season, while the other seven are still lingering, "stuck" somewhere in the middle of a developing process, leaving thus all the burden of a conclusion or some kind of resolution on the fourth (or some other) season.

Grade;++

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