'Game of Thrones' premiere recap: Did the season 3 debut live up to the hype?
'Game of Thrones' returned for its third season on March 31. 'Game of Thrones' airs on HBO.
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The build-up to ‘Blackwater‘ paid off in more ways than one. It brought several of the season’s key storylines together and it showed how increasing the scale of the series could be feasibly and convincingly done. And now, season 3 is following that large-scale effort by making things even bigger and grander (if the sight of a giant driving wooden stakes into the frozen ground with his fists is any indication). In fact, season 3 is so big it will reportedly only constitute one-half of the book from which its storyline is derived.Skip to next paragraph
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And as the games commence, the effects of that mighty battle are still being felt. Blackwater has left two men on opposite sides of the conflict broken. In defeat, Stephen Dillane’s Stannis Baratheon appears to have given himself over wholly to the instructions of Melisandre, who imprisons a sun-baked, but still devoted Davos. In King’s Landing, however, victory proves to be just as empty for Tyrion, who receives a one-two punch from sister Cersei and father Tywin, knocking him back to the lowest rung on the Lannister family ladder.
Elsewhere, Robb looks for a suitable cell for his mother amongst the ruins of Harrenhal, while Jon Snow is still trudging along beyond the wall, waiting to make the acquaintance of Ciarán Hinds’ Mance Rayder, while his fellow (former?) men of the Night’s Watch prepare to do battle with the elements, White Walkers and Samwell’s inability to do the one job he had to do.
But despite the addition of even more effects-driven magic, e.g., dragons, giants and beautiful, sprawling vistas, it doesn’t feel like a jarring leap from season 2 to season 3. In their staging of the series’ progress, Weiss and Benioff have ushered in a more gradual and therefore seamless transition between seasons that belies the excruciating wait between them and hints at the grand, long-term plans HBO has for Game of Thrones.
And so, even when presented with an exceptional episode like ‘Valar Dohaeris’ (that is, for all intents and purposes, an hour of table-setting), what transpires feels like something more along the lines of true episodic carry-over, rather than the brusque beginning of a new season; a notion that (with the possible exception of diva-in-training Daenerys) thankfully leaves little time for characters to constantly remind one another of their situation. Instead, they are tasked with keeping the story moving forward.
After all, this isn’t just the start of another thrilling season of HBO’s preeminent series; it’s the continuation of an epic television saga that shows no signs of slowing down.
Kevin Yeoman blogs at Screen Rant.
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