Continue with caution, all men must die and all season recaps inevitably will have spoilers!
I’m behind schedule on my Game of Thrones rewatch because Season 3 was extraordinarily difficult. I really enjoyed rewatching seasons 1 and 2, however, Season 3 was very hard to get into and enjoy. While I loved the arc of certain characters this season, there were a few storylines that were so dismal that I ended up fast forwarding through them!
I’ll start out with my least favorite: Theon. This season all we see Theon do is get tortured repeatedly by Ramsey Bolton. I hated seeing him tortured the first time around and I still hated it on the second viewing. I actually didn’t even attempt to watch most of these scenes. This is one instance where my knowledge of future seasons negatively affected my rewatch. I hate Ramsey Bolton so much now that as soon as I saw his face, even in the scenes where Theon thinks (and the audience is supposed to think) that Ramsey is a “good guy”, I had to skip ahead.
Another storyline that was difficult to watch was Robb Stark’s. In Season 2 we followed the rise of the King of the North, and in Season 3 we followed his fall. It was just sad. Robb would have been a good king if only he was a better politician. I had been curious to see how I would feel about The Red Wedding the second time around, and although it was heartbreaking to watch (sometimes through my fingers) it was very well done. The reaction back when “The Rains of Castamere” premiered was insanely strong, the mixture of outrage and praise it received was an unusual combination. And, as always, David Bradley is a joy to watch even when his character is an awful, horrible person.
Moving onto what I did like, I really liked the scenes in King’s Landing. I love seeing the dance the Lannisters and the Tyrell’s play. Joffrey continues to be my favorite thing about rewatching past seasons; that character is such a gift. Poor Sansa takes a ride on an emotional rollercoaster this season, and while I find Shae to be mostly annoying I do love seeing how the two women care for each other, and I enjoy their extremely complicated relationship.
In this season, Varys, Tyrion, Tywin, and Olenna Tyrell are all in King’s Landing and my goodness I didn’t realize the first time around how spoiled we were getting! All of the smartest people are in the same place, and are constantly trying to outsmart one other. The best part of their interactions is seeing that many of the characters have a mutual respect for one another and are enjoying themselves immensely despite the ridiculously high stakes. The one exception to this mutual respect is, of course, Olenna, and rightly so! She in a class of her own.
Arya is my favorite character, and naturally her parts were my favorite as well. Last season she built up a little family that she loses this season, and ends up with The Hound. I love seeing her character change as she moves from a pack to a lone wolf, and I love the scenes between her and The Hound. On the one hand, The Hound is on Arya’s kill list, and on the other he saved her life multiple times and lets her kill people (although he appreciates if she warns him first). Likewise, although The Hound complains about her, Arya has also saved his life, he does enjoy her company, and she is giving him a purpose now that he has abandoned the king. Their relationship is one of my favorites in the show; there is a very strange mixture of affection and hate and it’s so wonderful to watch it play out.
Jamie and Brienne
One storyline I did enjoy more the second time around was Jamie and Brienne’s. I was paying a bit more attention to them in this rewatch, and I love the performance from both of the actors. I really loved seeing Jamie change and mature in the books, and a lot of that change is because of Brienne’s influence. This change is a bit more obvious in the books than in Seasons 4 and 5 of the show, but Brienne’s influence is still there.
Other Notes on This Season of Game of Thrones
On this watching, I found both Jon Snow and Dany to be quite boring! When I felt so strongly about all the other storylines, both of theirs fell quite flat for me this season.
Bran’s storyline wasn’t my favorite, but I watched his parts extremely carefully because I know that his character is returning in the upcoming season. It’s been so long since we’ve heard anything about the three-eyed raven, watching his scenes felt like research! I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to see what he is up to come Season 6!