Originally written for publishing on March 29, 2013
Since the first episode of “Game of Thrones” we have been told repeatedly that winter was coming. In a place where winters can last years it has been the looming threat in the background of the first two seasons. And judging by our last image of season two, it would seem winter has finally arrived.
For season three (which premiers Sunday night at 9 p.m. on HBO), winter could not be arriving at a worse time for the land of Westeros, which is already in turmoil from all the claims to the Iron Throne. Last season’s stellar episode Blackwater saw the young, malevolent king Joffrey and his family of Lannisters defend the throne and the capital from a siege led by Joffrey’s uncle Stannis (played by Stephen Dillane).
Despite being the architect of the city’s defenses, Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage) ended the season out of power and disfigured as his reward. Dinklage has won both an Emmy and Golden Globe for his portrayal of Tyrion and has become essentially the lead of the show. He has knack for self preservation and sense of humor make him stand out among all of the incredibly talented British actors.
One of the hardest parts of casting television has been getting good child actors that can sustain interest on their own and “Game of Thrones” has it in spades. In the second season, the children of Ned Stark were scattered all across the continent and each proved capable of carrying their own storyline. Maisie Williams, as Arya Stark, has shown the ability to hold the screen with far more experienced actors and Sophie Turner, as her sister Sansa, has been heartbreaking to watch as the life she thought she was building has turned absolutely rotten.
Hopefully the third season will be bringing Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) into the main thrust of the story. Essentially trapped in her own narrative for the first two seasons, Daenerys, the mother of dragons, was sent into exile after her father, the Mad King, was removed from the throne. After spending last season wandering the desert, getting played by would-be friends, Daenerys is ready to burn cities to ash to reclaim her birthright. Clarke was a complete unknown before landing “Game of Thrones,” having only appeared onscreen in a British soap opera and a SyFy TV movie.
In addition to sporting a cast made up of talented character actors (a list that includes Dillane, Lena Heady, Charles Dance and new addition Ciarán Hinds), the show also boasts the best production value on TV today. “Game of Thrones” has elaborate sets and costumes, excellently choreographed battles and believable special effects (which anyone who saw the opening of Skyfall can tell you how bad those can be done).
It has been a long wait since season two ended and there are plenty of things I want for this season. I want to see the little twerp Joffrey finally get what is coming to him. I want to find out what the deal is with the white walkers, who hadn’t been seen since the opening scene of season one. I want to see more of Brienne and Jamie Lannister’s adventures on the road. I am intrigued by how Tyrion is going to find his way to power and influence, because he is too good at playing this game to be sidelined all season.
But mostly I am excited that the show is going to be back on my television, because I know that more than anything else on the air, “Game of Thrones” has the ability to completely surprise me. Where most TV bends over backwards to maintain the status quo, “Game of Thrones” has proven it has no problem taking an axe to everything you thought you knew.