Alright Westeros nerds who’s ready for the third season of Game of Thrones? I know I am. Hopefully all you die-hard fans of the TV show have also gotten around to reading the phenomenal books the show is based on by George RR Martin.
I watched the first season before starting to read the books to make sure I had any interest. After the first season rocked my socks, I immediately started on the books. The most pleasing similarity between the show and the books, in my opinion, is the characters. HBO does a wonderful job of peeling the personalities of these complex characters right off the page. George RR Martin’s characters are popular because they are relatable. They have problems and live lives that are never white or black, but different shades of gray. Each character has good parts and bad parts which come together to create the epic ‘tragic hero’ which the television show captures the spirit of exceptionally. Some of the more notable performances being Kit Harington as the coming-of-age Jon Snow, Maisie Williams as the tough-as-nails Arya Stark, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as passionate smart-ass, Jamie Lannister.
The first season is very close in storyline to the first book, ‘A Game of Thrones’. However, they neglect to go more in-depth with Lyanna and Rhaegar’s role in Robert’s Rebellion — roles I feel are going to be pretty important the further on the series goes. Most of the key elements translated well, nonetheless: King Robert’s fat slobbery, Bran being pushed out a window and losing the use of his legs (“The things I do for love.”), Cersei’s sociopathic manipulation, Tyrion’s awesomeness, and, of course, the beheading of the main character, Ned Stark.
The second season, on the other hand, deviates from the second book, ‘Clash of Kings’, in many ways. It seems as if the producers add a whole mess of things that serve no purpose to the storyline, which results in them cutting components that will be important later. I know budget limitations were an issue, but let me give you an example. In the book Daenerys’s dragons were never taken, and Half-Hand commanded Jon Snow to kill him if it came to that while they were on the run from the Wildling. The show adds the dragon-napping, which takes Daenerys on a wild goose chase, and has Jon Snow kill Half-Hand almost cold-bloodedly. Which begs the question: Why add a piece of storyline that leads nowhere instead of a two minute conversation between Half-Hand and Jon that would explain Jon’s actions? In the books, as well as the show, Jon takes brotherhood of the Night’s Watch very seriously, and it seems out of place for him to take a fellow brother’s life out of fear with no explanation.
Although most of season two is lacking the details as well as depth viewers found in the first season, the one episode written by George RR Martin himself, ‘Blackwater’, is definitely the high point of the series so far. I’m also guessing this is where most of their money went. Having hordes of men being slaughtered during sword combat, blowing up ships with green wildfire, and keeping a Queen happy can’t be cheap. That’s a lot of fake blood and man hours. Yet, it was worth every penny. Originally the battle was supposed to be off-screen to save money. They did this in first season when Tyrion is knocked out before running into battle with his mountain men. Thank the Seven for David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (the showrunners), who talked HBO into giving them some more cash. Sadly, though, it was the second to last episode. I wasn’t the biggest fan of season two, especially compared to how utterly amazing ‘Clash of Kings’ was, but I do have the highest hopes for season three.
As you Westeros nerds know, but maybe you regular nerds don’t, book three, ‘Storm of Swords’, has some of the most shocking twist of the series so far. So many massively outrageous events happen that HBO has split the book into two seasons. I will try not to give too much away to you non-readers, but if you thought George RR Martin liked killing important characters you love before, boy are you in for a surprise!
In the third season we will see a new, ever changing side to Jamie. He is stuck to Brienne’s side for most of the book, and her unwavering honor and selflessness inspire him to take a better look at himself. But don’t worry, he is still as sarcastic as ever. Jon Snow’s story becomes more complex as he travels to the Wall with the Wildlings. He does, somewhat grudgingly at times, just as Half-hand ordered him: spy on the Wildlings, understand what their plan is and determine how to prevent it from happening. However, it’s not all work with the Wildlings, as Jon with find out as he spends time with Ygritte. Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys will finally get her army. This is really going to be the season for her to kick some ass. She will show you, if she hasn’t already, that she is fiercely ready to be Queen.
As of the end of the second season, as well as the book, we still see all six Stark children still alive. By the end of the third season there will be five. By the end of the fourth season, there might only be four.
I can tell you right now that both season three and four are going to leave your jaw hanging to the floor. By the end of the third season, one more king will be dead, someone will lose his/her hand, and the perfect match of dog and she-wolf will pair together. I can’t wait!
Will one of these two rule all of Westeros?