Thursday, April 3, 2014

HBO Game of Thrones: Season Three Recap and Season Four Expectations

Well another year has come and gone. A new season of HBO's Game of Thrones will shortly begin. Game of Thrones is HBO's most watched series behind The Sopranos. Season Four will introduce new characters and challenge old ones. Over the past three seasons the penultimate ninth episode has been the moneyball episode in which something shocking or tragic happened. This became predictable and even led to some fans, including some people here, zoning out a bit during the season. Some people thought the pacing was off. You could find a few such complaints on a few of our past GoT blog posts. Some complaints were about Bran or Robb Stark aimlessly wandering in the woods or Jon Snow spending three or four tedious episodes trying to decide if he really wanted to play hide-the-snow-cone with Ygritte while seemingly ignoring her increasingly obvious and impatient hints. This has allegedly changed. The show runners and various actors have stated in multiple interviews that this upcoming season has moved away from the ninth episode being the "OMG they killed Kenny" episode. There will be numerous high and low points for various characters throughout the season. The budget is higher than ever. There are some major violent conflicts, both mass and individual, that still need to play out on the screen. So starting this Sunday, we shall see if the show lives up to the still growing hype or if some people still think there is still not enough new and surprising drama and action spread out from week to week. Season Four will cover at least the second half of A Storm of Swords but it's been confirmed that there is not a one to one book to season correlation. As happened in previous seasons, the producers, writers and directors will continue to adapt the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series. 

So book readers may notice things from future books this year. As usual there likely will be themes and characters added or dropped as Benioff and Weiss see fit.

In Season Three we saw the tragic (and permanent?) end of the epic struggle between House Stark and House Lannister. Danerys Stormborn "liberated" another city and freed more slaves. Jon Snow learned that honor, duty and love don't always fit together. Both Cersei and Tyrion Lannister learned not to interrupt their father when he's busy. Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister discovered that they actually liked each other and that there was a little bit of altruism or even (gasp!) honor still left in Jaime. There was much more that happened. We thought it would be fun to share our impressions of Season Three (what we thought the show did well or poorly) and what we're looking forward to (or dreading) in Season Four. The people giving these impressions have generally not read the books and especially not book 3 so if you have read the books or otherwise know future plot points please don't give anything away. You might get sent to the Wall or wind up on the wrong end of Valyrian steel. I'd hate to do that of course but the man who passes the sentence and well you know the rest. So enjoy the impressions below and by all means please chime in to let us know what you liked or didn't like in Season Three or what your unspoiled expectations or interests are for Season Four. Or maybe you're indifferent to or actively dislike the series. Perhaps you find it overrated. That's also a valid opinion. Either way let the world know what you thought.

Grand Central
I can't wait to see Arya Stark handle business. She is coming back with a score to settle and finally avenge her family's senseless murders. I predict it will be in a Red Wedding style affair. No one will see it coming. Joffrey will have a special knife dropped on his head :) That sword will be used by Sansa. Previously, Sansa irked my nerves with her "stuck on stupid" ways. However, I think she is going to step up to the plate and get things cracking this season. I would love to see her start killing folks one by one, then have Arya swoop in and finish them off. The Lannisters are a serious problem and it's time for them to go. Of course this could be wishful thinking:) I have a feeling that Margaery Tyrell is plotting on the Lannisters and has something serious up her sleeve. By the end of this season, the only Lannister still breathing will be - Tyrion. I really like Daenerys Targaryen. However, since HBO makes us wait a year in between seasons and I haven't read the books, I can't recall what was happening with her at the end of last season. However, I am rooting for her! Whatever she wants, I want that for her.

Lastly, I predict at some point (I can't pin point where) the secret will come out that Cersei Lannister was trifling and those kids were not heirs of the king. That secret must come out. I bet Ned told Arya before he died :)
I'm looking forward to season 4. 

The Janitor
Game of Thrones started off slow in the first season but rapidly gained momentum after the death of Ned Stark, a main character and also the highest paid actor in the cast. And that pretty much set the stage for this show - anytime you think you know where they're going you find out that you are sorely mistaken. And that is the genius of Game of Thrones - it keeps you guessing and, thus, keeps you coming back for more.

My predictions/expectations for this season are simple: I have none. I know better than to try to predict anything post-Red Wedding. I hope that Daenerys and the dragons let loose, kill Joffrey's bitch ass, free Sansa's high falutin' ass, allow the youngest Stark girl to get some revenge, get Jon Snow back into the land of the living, and let them all get outsmarted by Tyrion Lannister. But that's just wishful thinking that has no place in this show. So I'm just gonna sit back and watch and enjoy the show.

After the Red Wedding in Season 3, I did not think I would be able to watch Game of Thrones again. I felt like how I feel after football season ends and the Eagles lose in the first round of the playoffs. But by the time next season starts I am rejuvenated and ready.
Season 3 of GOT was the only season that I had only watched once. The other two I’ve watched about a half dozen times. Honestly, it was painful. Not the entire season but after seeing the Red Wedding and everything after it, dealing with the Starks seemed utterly pointless. I’m not sure about my blog partners here but I am a die hard Stark bannerman. Because let’s face it, Winter is Coming. But this post is supposed to be about our predictions for season 4, and boy am I excited. I finally got up the courage to re-watch season 3 and there are a few things I am thinking could go down in Season 4.

Valar Morghulis - A saying used by the Braavosi has been used a lot in promotion of season 4. It was first used in season 2 by Jaq’en Hagar in his farewell to Arya and it means “all men must die.” I think the significance of this phrase for season 4 cannot be overstated, as I believe there will be even more shocking deaths this year. Could Joffrey be one? The Tyrells know how despicable he is and clearly, although they have partnered with the Lannisters they are not friends. Then you have the Red Viper, (Oberyn Martell) who has shown up for the royal wedding and apparently is not happy with the Lannisters either. Lastly you have Stannis Baratheon. One thing I noticed after rewatching season 3 was the ceremony he performed with the leeches Melisandre pulled from Gendry. There were three leeches, each representing someone on his kill list. The first name was Robb Stark, who as we know was murdered. The second name was Balon Greyjoy. The last name was Joffrey Baratheon. Let’s also not forget that the sorcery of the lord of lights was also responsible for the death of Renly Baratheon. If this spell was responsible for the death of Robb Stark, regardless of the actual circumstances that contributed to his death such as treachery and bad decisions, then the others could be next. One thing we know about Game of Thrones is that no one is safe. 

Daenerys: I have been a huge fan of the mother of dragons since I began watching the show. She is beautiful, strong and cares about her people. I also worry about the new power she is quickly acquiring and how it will affect her. I think this season she will continue to liberate nations and rally them to her side. I would like to see her return to Westeros. I am also interested in seeing if she will fall in love again. Particularly with this Daario Naharis who seems to have some feelings toward her.
Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch: I am looking for Jon Snow to be leading the Night’s Watch in this season. I believe he will try and reconcile with Ygritte in some way. From the trailer you know that he reunites with Samwell Tarley, which means he’ll be told about what Bran is doing. I am expecting him to also look to reconnect with his brother as well as seek retribution for Robb. The Night’s Watch seems to be in shambles, but I think they will rise again and take on a different role than they ever have given the unique circumstances.

Bonus Lookback at Season Three

The Politics of Power: A Look Back at Season 3

Well there you have it. Our impressions of the previous season and what we think might happen in season four. 

What are your thoughts?

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