With the final season of Game of Thrones fast approaching, here is a quick-ish summary of all 7 seasons and 67 hours of the greatest ever spectacle on TV. This is a recap of Season 3.
The War of the Five Kings started in Season 2. Of those five kings, one got killed by a shadow baby and then they were four. The struggle for the throne continues to rage in Season 3 and it delivers a heady mix of unlikely alliances, stunning revelations, and shocking betrayals.
In recognition of the Tyrells’ role in routing Stannis at the Blackwater, King Joffrey is now betrothed to Margaery Tyrell. With the Tyrells in town and Tywin Lannister taking up his Hand duties, King’s Landing is stacked with schemers and plotters embroiled in a zero-sum game.
Watching Cersei and Margaery hurl thinly veiled barbs at each other is so much fun. Unlike Sansa, Margaery knows how to deal with Joffrey and has him firmly in her claws, much to Cersei’s chagrin. She complains about the ‘little doe-eyed whore’ to her father, who ignores her and continues to write letters. With Sansa’s engagement to Joffrey called off, she unwittingly becomes the most sought-after bachelorette in the realm. The Tyrells plot to marry Sansa to Loras, but Tywin steals a march on them by declaring marriage alliances between Tyrion and Sansa, and Cersei and Loras Tyrell, potentially making Cersei both the mother-in-law and sister-in-law to Margaery.
Talking of weird relationships, Jaime and Brienne continue their hilarious journey from Robb’s camp to King’s Landing. Jaime taunts Brienne about Renly’s ‘preferences’ and before you know it, they are trading blows in an epic sword fight. The noise brings Bolton soldiers to the scene, who take the two as prisoners, and chop Jaime’s hand off. They reach Harrenhal, where Jaime intimidates Roose Bolton into setting him free. The Bolton soldiers force Brienne to fight a bear, but Jaime heroically leaps into the pit to save her.
Robb goes from being the ‘King in the North’ to the ‘King who lost the North’. Despite a string of victories, he loses his momentum and a significant chunk of his army due to a series of bad decisions. In desperation, he gambles on a bold move, which would require support from the Freys, the house he betrayed when he married Talisa. Walder Frey agrees to Robb’s new terms and throws a party to celebrate their newly forged alliance. What follows next is devastating, brutal and completely unexpected, unless of course, you’ve read the books. The Freys and the Boltons, on Tywin’s orders, murder the Starks in coldplay blood. Robb Stark, dead. Catelyn Stark, dead. Robb’s pregnant wife, dead.
Meanwhile, Arya runs into a group of outlaws, the Brotherhood without Banners, who run into the Hound. Arya accuses the Hound of murder, leading to a trial by combat. The Hound kills Beric Dondarrion, but he is promptly resurrected by his red priest Thoros. Another follower of the Lord of Light, Melisandre makes a trip to visit the Brotherhood and borrows Gendry, Robert’s only surviving bastard son, for a ‘blood’ sacrifice. Arya ends up hitching a ride with the Hound and just about escapes the Red Wedding. At Winterfell, Theon changes hands from one torturer to the next, before his mysterious captor is eventually revealed to be Ramsay Snow, Roose Bolton’s bastard son.
Jon meets Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-The-Wall, who sends him and Ygritte along with a handful of wildlings to scout ahead. Jon and Ygritte have a lot of fun doing some sightseeing, climbing the Wall, and making out in a cave. It’s all so romantic until Jon reveals he is a spy and breaks Ygritte’s heart.
Bran continues to be haunted by disturbing visions. Their motley gang is joined by Meera and Jojen Reed, who can see into the future. Bran wants to go beyond the Wall to, er, stop the White Walkers, while Osha decides to take Rickon somewhere safe. He would have fared a lot better with Bran. Just saying! Bran’s journey almost coincides with Jon and the wildlings. When Jon can’t bring himself to kill an innocent villager and fails the litmus test, Bran wargs into his direwolf and helps him escape.
Bran does run into Sam, who has killed a White Walker with dragonglass. The Nights Watch send a raven to all the Westerosi ‘kings’ asking for reinforcements against the impending threat. With so many battles going on, nobody pays any heed except for Stannis, who spent most of the season licking his wounds at Dragonstone, but finally, decided to listen to Davos’ advice.
In the far East, Ser Barristan Selmy, a legendary knight who was dismissed unceremoniously by Joffrey in Season 1, joins Danaery’s Queensguard. Now that she has a Commander, she goes shopping for an army. She ‘buys‘ 8,000 Unsullied, warrior eunuchs renowned for their fighting prowess, after that ‘dracarys’ scene. After freeing the slaves at Astapor, she captures Yunkai thanks to a surgical strike led by Jorah, Grey Worm, and Daario Naharis. The season ends on a rousing note as the slaves declare her Mhysa (mother) and lift her up to the skies.