Game of Thrones Season 3 “Chaos is a Ladder”

*Spoilers galore for Season 3*

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Yep, for anyone who keeps a good track of my online movements, this is a day late. But ho hum, I really couldn’t get this done in time yesterday and honestly I wanted to do this phenomenal season justice. Because it is phenomenal. With little details, like starting with the title valar doharis in response to last season’s valar morghulis episode, absorbing conversations and some of the best quotes like “chaos is a ladder… the climb is all there is”. *Ooh shudders all round*. That line alone should explain why I love this season the most.

Daenerys Targaryen

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This is probably my favourite Dany season (I don’t know if I say that every week? Whatever, I loved Dany in all the earlier seasons). I absolutely love how she took on the Masters in this series… and wins! Her liberation of slavers bay is one of the most inspiring moments in the show- heck in TV history! And I love how she uses her wits as well. It’s at this point that I’ll admit my notes devolved into SHE IS A TRUE QUEEN. Plus, she has dragons, and all that dragon-y awesomeness has a tendency to take over my senses.

There’s also *amazing* scenes with Selmy and she gathers many advisors (Missandei, Grey Worm, Daario Naharis). The best advice comes from Jorah Mormont though: “Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought honourably and Rhaegar died.” And I also love how she says “I wish I had known him but he was not the last dragon.”

Anyway, Dany’s role in season 3 one of the reasons I see this as the best series that ever was or will be.

Davos Seaworth

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Speaking of heroes, one of my favourites, Davos, has chance to shine this season. Especially as he constantly opposes the Red Woman. Because she’s totes not evil or anything as she goads him about his dead son and casts her spell over Stannis (and his batty wife). She spends the whole using blood magic (always interesting to wonder how successful this is) and Davos spends the entire season standing upto her. Silly Gendry gets caught in her snare and it’s only thanks to Davos that he escapes. Incidentally, it’s also because of this that Gendry ends up rowing for three years…

 

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And if you’re in any doubt about how much of a sweetheart Davos is, just rewatch those lovely scenes with Shireen, where she teaches him how to read.

Jon Snow

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Jon has a slower ascent to herodom this series. At the beginning of the series, he has to turn his coat and join the Wildlings. A lot of this naturally centres on his relationship with Ygritte (most notably in that cave). Her character is developed so much and they have that phenomenally romantic kiss atop the Wall… but it’s heartrending when he has to reveal his true colours…  

Which is why we’re back to Jon McPoutyface by the end of the season.

Samwell Tarly

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While we’re still beyond the Wall, now would be a good time to talk about Sam, who has a fairly eventful season. Not least because he spends time getting cosy with Gilly (to be fair, he doesn’t have a lot of choice, they’d freeze to death if they didn’t stick together), but also as Ghost saves him from a Walker, he just about escapes the mutiny where Mormont is murdered (such a tragic end for that character, GRRM is amazing at giving people what they least deserve), and finally saves Gilly from a White Walker. Phew- that’s a lot for one sentence! Also it’s a massive testament to how important and interesting his storyline gets.

Still, there is one great mystery about Sam’s character that I’ll never fully understand- how does he spend all that time starving and doing any exercise and never lose any weight?

Theon Greyjoy

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Annnd this character experiences the exact opposite of growth. He is literally broken down bit by bit. It is a sensational, shocking introduction to Ramsay’s psychotic mind games and Theon, stupid berk that he is, walks straight into every trap that he lays. Really, I didn’t have the mind to rewatch any of the torture scenes– they were too much for me the first time round- but the overall feeling is the same regardless. He loses everything of himself, his manhood, his name, and even his ability to accept help from his sister. He becomes one of the most tragic figures on the show. This is cemented by Ramsay’s enigmatic line: “if you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”

Sansa Stark

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Yet another season of misery for Sansa. She gets played, like a fool, by all the vipers in the court. This includes Olenna, who ultimately betrays Sansa and sets her up for a fall later on… but we won’t get into that too much. Either way, we get to see all her hopes sail off, and is married off to poor old Tyrion- all thanks to Tywin’s endless scheming- speaking of which…

Tyrion Lannister

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Oh my goodness, Tywin’s a shit to Tyrion. He bats aside Tyrion’s achievements and makes him master of coin. I’m also pretty sure that when Tywin paired him off with Sansa he never had any intention of keeping them both alive.

In terms of how Tywin’s plotting, it’s both genius and yet has an element of short-sightedness. As powerful as it sounds to say things like: “Let them remember what happens when the north marches on the south”, Tyrion rightly points out: “Every time we deal with one of our enemies, we create two more.” Still, Tywin’s pretty badass, recalling the story of Rains of Castamere and sending Joffrey “the most powerful man in Westeros to bed with no supper”.

Tyrion has his own tussles with Joffrey- and I do love his line: “Monsters are dangerous and just now kings are dying like flies”. Naturally, he has to backtrack a little and is smart enough to play dumb. And to my mind that still makes him the cleverest Lannister- which actually leads me onto one of my favourite scenes between him and Cersei:

Cersei: “You’re a clever man but you’re not half as clever as you think you are.”

Tyrion: “Still makes me more clever than you.”

BURNNN!

Cersei Lannister

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I love to hate Cersei’s character. I mean, she’s a bit of a spiteful idiot and yet, there’s something compelling about her. Now, as Tywin puts it “I don’t distrust you because you’re a woman I distrust you because you’re not as smart as you think you are.” It’s very entertaining watching her trying to outcompete Marjery this season and I can’t help but root for her in these little contests (yes, this I am effectively saying “I have sympathy for the devil”). I guess this just shows how little I care for Marjery. I do like what the show did with Marjery- making her more active in the plot- still I often feel irritated by her shenanigans. Sure, she’s successfully manipulating Joffrey, however, it’s not like her ploy is genius. And I can’t root for her humanitarian actions, because she’s a complete phony and her motivation is bland. It says a lot how much more I am invested in Cersei than her.

Jaime Lannister

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Of course, Cersei is not a character I ever grow to like, unlike Jaime. And this is the season where that finally happens. I won’t say that even here my feelings about Jaime changed overnight- it develops as slowly as his relationship with Brienne. To me, this is one of the greatest relationships on the show and personally I never see it as romantic. It’s simply touching how they come to appreciate and understand each other. They come to each other’s rescue and one of the finest scenes is with Jaime taking a bath, vulnerable and injured, telling her the truth about saving King’s Landing from Aerys Targaryen. At last we get to see that he’s not the evil man he pretends to be, his only fault is pride.

It is this pride, which has cost him his reputation, and is inevitably one of the causes for him losing his hand. Partly, it’s repayment for him saving Brienne (and by GRRM rules, heroic deeds have a price), partly it’s thanks to Tywin’s arrogance doing a deal with the devil (oh we’ll get to that), yet mostly, in that moment, it’s because he never sees that he could come to any harm. And that’s what angers his lowborn captors. They teach him the lesson that no one is safe in Westeros. The thing is, this outcome was easily avoided had Jaime only been a bit cooperative (or had he been as smart as Tyrion, who has a habit of surviving such encounters, just sayin’). Anyway, Jaime’s tragedy is that he is always kind of doomed to always be viewed as the villain, especially when you take moments like this out of context:

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Robb Stark

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As we all know Season 3 was Robb’s most eventful season… and his last (*sobs*). Things kick off with trouble brewing in his camp and the Karstarks completely out of control. They antagonise him, saying “You lost this war the minute you married her” and murder a couple of boy prisoners… so all in all, not good. But things go from bad to worse when Robb decides to execute them, even though he hypocritically didn’t kill Jaime for the same crime. So yeah, this bit of injustice is followed with Karstarks infamous last words: “Kill me and be cursed. You are no king of mine.”

But if you think that’s bad politicking, it gets so much worse. Because despite all the advice I retroactively gave Robb in my season 2 post, Robb’s foolishness knows no bounds when he thinks he can ask the Freys for help. Again, he goes from a position of weakness: “I’ve won every battle but I’m losing this war” and seeks his mother’s “wise” counsel. Cat does have a moment of clarity early in the season when she says (somewhat superstitiously): “All this horror that’s come to my family, it’s because I couldn’t love a motherless child.” That doesn’t make her change her ways- she still thinks the best course of action is to “show them what it’s like to lose everything you love”.  For some reason the best course of action they come up with is to have Edmure marry a Frey and then walk in there for a marriage feast… riiiight. Robb, helpfully, also decides to lock Greywind up outside.

Now, I can’t entirely blame Robb or Cat for what comes to pass– you have to be straight up evil to do what comes next. It’s very deliberately shown how Walder offers his food to the northerners and invokes guest right. So even with the sarky clapping from Walder and crudity as Edmure marries miss “Frey” (is it a Fray? I never know for sure), it’s not like they could see what “The hospitality you deserve” would entail.

And oh man this is the hardest thing to watch/rewatch/read about. Cat is the first to see the song change. She notices the mail under Bolton’s clothes. She does try to act, but alas, it’s too late. As you watch, the music and mood changes from jollity to the sombre notes of Rains of Castamere. What makes this such compelling TV is not whether you know it’s coming or not (in fact I avoided this episode for a couple of weeks when it originally aired, because I knew what was going to happen), it’s that it never gets easier to watch. Far from just shock value, you get added details like Talisa and Robb being in love, celebrating her being pregnant… and ach it’s just too ghastly! All the while Walder Frey drinks as they die and the last thing he hears is:

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Catelyn’s last gambit of grabbing Walder’s wife comes to nothing and her scream is the last thing we hear before everything fades away. I actually always feel sorry for her in that moment (yes, despite everything I’ve said about her). That silence at the end of the episode is incredibly powerful. And that is why all of us GOT fans are still traumatised by the Red Wedding.

Arya Stark

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The person I feel sorriest for this season is Arya. She is both terribly lucky not to be reunited with her family and devastatingly unlucky. Yes, she’s fortunate to get out of Harrenhal before everyone there is killed, but that means she just misses Robb getting there. Yes, she gets away from the Brotherhood and end up in the surprisingly safe company of the Hound, but her anxious excitement over seeing her family is dashed. The upside is she gets to live; the downside is she outlives a lot of her family.

It’s agonising when she sees the betrayal and the symbolic moment when the wolf is killed. It’s heartbreaking to see what happens to the north men. And poor Arya witnesses it all and has to listen to all the horrible things that happens to her family. But don’t mess with Arya Stark- when she meets some Frey men on the road she shows no mercy…

Bran Stark

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I don’t much feel like talking a huge amount about Bran’s journey- he’s not one of my favourite characters- and his journey into becoming an ALL POWERFUL warg (the most special of wargs) never interests me as much as it should. I quite like the Reeds, but I’ve little time for Rickon’s painful acting, apart from *that one scene we all know about in season 6*. What I do like is the story of the rat cook, killing a guest beneath his roof and being doomed to eat his own for all eternity- which is a nice bit of foreshadowing for what will become of the Freys…

But that’s enough *hint hint, nudge nudge* for one review! This is obviously one of the most harrowing seasons in TV history, but it’s probably my favourite (I have no idea what that says about me). What do you think of season 3 of Game of Thrones? And are you still scarred by the Red Wedding? Let me know in the comments!

40 thoughts on “Game of Thrones Season 3 “Chaos is a Ladder”

  1. I think I was definitely in favour of Dany still around season 3, maaaybe after that I lost interest a bit.
    Davos is one of the best characters! It shows how you don’t always have to be the smartest and most cunning to get someplace in the world. He is one of the most decent people on the show.
    I know that Tyrion and Sansa’s marriage was nonesense, but I really appreciated how he treated her. He never pressured her to do anything and he treated her with respect. Kindness was a rare thing to be extended towards her and he could have just as easily resented her for trapping him in the marriage.
    I can never pinpoint the moment I started to like and then love Jaime, but over time we just got to understand him so much better and from then on out he could never be the villain in my eyes again.
    Great post as always!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I totally get that. I found her less interesting in later seasons (and by now I’ve begun to find some of her actions iffy).
      He really is!! Absolutely!! 😀 I like him as the “normal” character as well 🙂
      Yeah so did I! That, among so many other things, is why I *love* Tyrion!! Yeah for sure!
      Yeah I really get that about Jaime- I like to think it was as Brienne came to accept him, so did the audience.
      Thank you so much!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have to agree on Dany’s actions being rather questionable as of late. I don’t think I could still blindly support her like so many people still do.
        Yes, Tyrion has a lot of really great qualities!!!
        And again, agree! Brienne played a huge part in Jaime’s journey.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay, here I go with my long comments. Fair warning this time beforehand. 😉
    I love Dany in season 3 especially every interaction with the Greyworm and the Unsullied. Like I just adore it all. I don’t think I actually hate her even now after watching season 7. I mean some things happen later that made me a little sad but I could see it from her POV at the same time if that makes sense. She didn’t pull a big 360 Olivia Pope style for me so I just feel like I can’t hate her. At least not yet. Love Davos. I mean he should get a medal for even standing up to that crazy Red Witch but his moments with Shireen were just a great reprieve to watch throughout all the darkness. Oh Jon. This season too. He almost gets it all sort of and then nothing. “You know nothing Jon Snow!” (I can’t help it; it’s just approrpiate, lol) And then Sam and his growing confidence. I definitely started to think of him as a little less boring this season than the previous two and you make a really GREAT POINT! How is he still so large?? Theon, well, karma like I said in my comment. As for the Lannisters, Tyrion can do no wrong in my eyes and I’m glad he sort of took on Sansa and helped her to see how stupid she is. I’m sorry, I still dislike Sansa in season 3. She’s so whiny and dumb for me still. Loved the “camaraderie” between Cersei and Marjery. I actually thought Marjery was refreshing especially with her cunning grandmother around. I think I’d have to agree with you about Jamie. This is where I began to like him a little more because he seems to really start to open his eyes and see (but then again he’s stupid again later but I’m sure you’ll get to that, haha). As for the red wedding, I mean, I think you summed it up. I didn’t know what was coming cause I haven’t read the books so it super shocking to me and the depth of that silence at the end spoke super loud volumes! Poor Arya but I think after this, it sort of paves the way for the type of person she wants to become later. As for Bran, well, his storyline is also still boring to me int his season and really he’s still not interesting to me now in season 7 except for the flashbacks of young Ned and stuff when dots get connected… I won’t say more there, haha.
    Great recap!! Maybe I’ll have a shorter comment next time (but I doubt it cause you bring it out of me 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I love your long comments!! So thank you!!
      Ahh yes I agree with you about Dany and Greyworm’s interactions! I get that- I don’t think I’ll ever hate her, I just went a bit off her, especially as I questioned her actions more. I have a feeling that she’s never going to become someone I hate and I think I’ll like her in the last season (I hope).

      Davos is awesome!! And yes!
      Hahah yes!!
      I do agree that Sam becomes more interesting this season. Hahaha yes- I’ve seen people calling it the “mystical fat person trope” or something like that- but yeah, how has he never lost weight?!
      Hahah yes it’s totally karma for Theon- just really really harsh karma.
      Ahh I love Tyrion! Haha fair enough- I did dislike her until about season 4 the first time round- *but* this time round I liked her by season 2, which was funny, because I expected to take longer to like her.
      Hehe I did think they did a better job with Marjery than her book counterpart- but I still never really took to her.
      And yeah I do see what you mean about Jaime still being stupid later on.
      Ahh it was so shocking!!
      And yeah I do really get what you mean about Arya.
      Bran really isn’t very interesting for me either- I only crave his scenes for the flashbacks too.
      Thank you!! haha don’t worry- like I said I love your comments and thank you for being so awesome here!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m definitely still scarred by the Red Wedding, that was one of the worst moments in the series (I say forgetting about all the other worst moments that have come in the later seasons). I remember when I read the book, because I read the book before I saw the TV show, I was shocked that George RR Martin actually went there. Probably shouldn’t have been given what else had happened up to that point but still.
    I will say based on the success of weddings in the Game of Thrones series it’s a wonder anyone gets married at all.
    I LOVED Dany in season 3, the scene where she liberates slavers bay is probably one of my top scenes of the series as a whole (it’s up there with the Battle of the Bastards because that was another epic scene).
    Great review, I can’t wait to see your thoughts on the fourth season. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh yes I so relate!! hahaha yes I’m the same lol! Yeah I read the book first (although not for season 1) and I couldn’t believe it!! hehe yes true!
      hahahah yes!! So true!!
      I really loved Dany in season 3 and the liberation of slavers bay is one of my all time favourite moments (though I’m with you about Battle of the Bastards)
      Thank you!! 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ohhh I’m glad I stumbled upon this post, I’ll follow from now on and I’ll check out the first two! Got has been a miracle to me, really, when I first watched it. After season 1 I immediately took all books from the library and spent the whole summer reading. It was an intense roller coaster, I doused the poor books in tears but the rest of the time I couldn’t stop grinning, it was such a beautiful, rewarding experience! Then as the show went on I was in love more and more, but extremely disappointed with each major plot point they decided to omit. In time I learned to separate the two and enjoy them as 2 great experiences.
    My feelings for this season match yours 100%, and I have a sudden urge to re-binge, gosh I love this show ❤ I'm sorry I don't have anything constructive to add, you've said all that needs to be said. 🙂 And “chaos is a ladder" – biggest smack-down ever!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! ahh I’m really glad you love it too! I was the *exact* same!! I felt the same way about the story as well!! Yeah I totally get that- the point when they diverged from the books have left me increasingly disappointed.
      hehehe I so relate!! hahaha no worries- thank you so much for your awesome comment!! Ahh yes!! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love reading these posts. they make me want to rewatch the series from the beginning. The third season was spectacular. I loved so many things about it, Dany queening like a true queen, Davos being a perfect cinnamon roll, Arya and the Hounds surprisingly entertaining dynamic… “A bit of a spiteful idiot” is my favorite description of Cersei, I find her equal parts compelling and frustrating. But I totally rooted for her against Marjery too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! Ahh i’m glad you agree!! And yes one hundred percent!! I love the dynamic between Arya and the Hound! hehe thank you! I feel the same way about her- I think it’s because the performance is so good!! But yeah, I totally found myself rooting for her against Marjery!

      Like

  6. Jamie’s and Brienne‘s friendship is my absolute favourite. And you nailed it with his pride being his undoing. 👌
    Thinking about it, 3rd season is maybe my favourite. In that season, plans are in motion, lots of unpredictable things are happening and I am rethinking how I am feeling about certain seemingly ‘bad’ characters.
    Oh I am really enjoying these recaps. 😊 Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m late to the party but THIS POST IS LOOOOOOOOVE!! I whole-heartedly agree with dragon-y awesomeness, it adds a lot more to Dany’s character though she’s pretty fabulous herself. And you are right about Cersi, without her GoT wouldn’t be GoT. She’s a spiteful villain at its best! Robb… well in the episode which had the Red Wedding, I couldn’t move pretty much after watching it that day.
    Davos is a sweetheart and no comments about Sansa. I still don’t like her much but I love Arya to death! And Theon, well… he dug is own grave!
    Can’t wait to read the reviews for the rest of the seasons!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you so much!! That’s so true! Ahh yes for sure!! And I so relate to that!
      He really is! Fair enough- it took me four seasons to like her the first time round, now when I rewatch it I like her much earlier (because I already like her) And I love Arya too! And you’re right about Theon!
      Thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Definitely THE season where GoT proved itself to be one of the greatest TV series of all time. The Red Wedding was phenomenal. Still sends shivers down my spine just thinking about the cruelty of it all. Amazing recap and review for this season. You definitely did it justice. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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