Game Of Thrones season 3 finale review: Mhysa

Review Ron Hogan 10 Jun 2013 - 07:00

If you thought Game Of Thrones season 3 would end quietly after last week's jaw-dropper, you were wrong. Here's Ron's finale review...

This review contains spoilers.

3.10 Mhysa

There's always a little bit of a let-down after a particularly epic episode of Game of Thrones. After all, with last week's Red Wedding, it's only natural that this week's episode take things a little easier, be a little slower, and ease the viewers gently into the off season for our favorite blood-soaked Medieval fantasy drama. That's not exactly the case this week. Instead, rather than simply having a discussion of the aftermath of the Red Wedding, we see the Boltons actually finishing what they started thanks to a pretty impressive wide shot of Roose on the battlements of the Twins while below him tents burn and Stark men die screaming. 

It's one of a few great shots in this week's episode, courtesy of the brilliant David Nutter (who crushed last week's episode as well). We open big, and we close big on one of the most impressive shots the show has ever accomplished, and in the middle, we get a lot of catching-up done on the characters we didn't get to see last week, or that didn't actually die last week in the great Stark Purge of 2013. After the show piece of last week, this week's episode seems to be mostly about the actors and the characters that we've grown fond of reacting to the events perpetrated by Roose Bolton and Walder Fray. 

Speaking of Walder Fray, there were some brilliant scenes this week. The gloating villainy of David Bradley's Walder and the quiet menace of Michael McElhatton's Bolton make for a great pair. A vengeful old man who has murdered his way to the top of the heap in the Riverlands and the meanest non-Balon Greyjoy man in the North who has murdered his way into the powerful position as Warden of the North. They're only two of the heartless men in this week's episode; the theme appears to be that there's nobody worse as a father or person than the high lords of Westeros, because when we leave Walder and Roose's back-slapping session, there's nowhere to go but up. 

As good as Walder, Roose, and a returning Balon Greyjoy are at being despicable people, there's nobody quite as bad as Charles Dance's Tywin Lannister, except for perhaps Jack Gleeson's Joffrey Baratheon. It seems every week Tywin Lannister gets another great scene in which he praises the strength of his family and doing the right thing for his name and legacy while being despicable, and this week is no different. Indeed, it's a highlight in a great episode. One minute Joffrey is gloating and throwing his weight around only to be undercut at every turn by his grandfather and uncle during a small council gathering, and in the next moment, Tywin is reminding his dwarf son once again how terrible a burden he is. To Tywin, the only thing that matters is family, but to Cersei, it's the children that matter more than simply the name. 

Charles Dance has proven to be really good at being cruel to his on-screen children, but this week he gets to show a little emotion in the process in his scene with Tyrion. It works really well because this is probably the first moment ever we've seen Tywin begin to crack, if only a little bit. It's a series of great scenes compiled together, and it seems that the show is sticking with its standard way of transitioning between scenes, either via match cuts or following a character from one setting to another. Indeed, while there isn't a lot of time spent in one place or another, the show manages to pack a lot of good stuff into each little scene. 

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss deserve a whole lot of credit for the quality of the show. Yes, they're adapting a series of great novels courtesy of George R.R. Martin, but even the changes they're making to the source material (like Theon's prolonged torture this season or Danerys' adventure in Qarth) tend to pay off in the end. At the time, it seemed like just being cruel, but this week it finally seemed to click in as Theon is well and truly broken by his Bolton captors and forgotten by his father.

Read Ron's review of the previous episode, The Rains of Castamere, here

US Correspondent Ron Hogan is usually surprised by the end of an episode of Game of Thrones when it happens, and no episode's ending took him more by surprise than this one. See you next season! Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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Loved the way Bran's retelling of how the Gods punished the man who killed his guest transitioned directly to a gloating Walder Frey. It gives us hope that he may someday soon get his comeuppance. It looks like John and Ygritt are finally broken up, I think that she didn't shoot him fatally on purpose, the 4 arrows she put in him were her version of saying mean things about an only just ex-boyfriend. I do wonder if she might be pregnant, wouldn't that be ironic? Finally it looks like Dany (definitely the one to root for in the game of thrones) has another title. So that is (deep breath) "Danyris Stormborn of House Targaryan, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, Mhysa of Runkal and Mother of Dragons" (I think Mother of Dragons should still go last).

Great episode with the exception of that final scene. Could've ended with Stoneheart as an awesome cliffhanger but nope, they went for the cheese.

yea, i really thought they would end with stoneheart, would have been an awesome last shot. also they look to have cut out coldhands, which im pretty disapointed with. but still, brilliant series, now the long wait begins!!!!!!

I'm not sure what to think about that last shot. It was visualy amazing, but yes, it fell a bit cheesy. But I'm glad they didn't show Stoneheart yet, I think it would have been a bit too early…
Anyone else thinks season 4 has some epic material in it?

I hope coldhands will be added later cause without him Bran's voyage is a bit... trickier. ;)

Cheers

First;
Can I please urge those of you who have read the books refrain from mentioning characters that are yet to be shown in the TV series..please..as for some of us who've not read the books make us crazy when you mention these people and their importance to come.
Second;
Is this half a review? you've failed to mention much about any of the events that actually took place in this episode..were you just being lazy?

*Frey.

JON SNOW DIES WHEN HIS OWN NIGHT'S WATCH BETRAY HIM SINCE HE IS MADE LORD COMMANDER AFTER HE TRIES TO LET WILDLINGS THROUGH WALL

TYRION SHOOTS HIS FATHER WITH A CROSSBOW AS HE IS ON THE TOILET AFTER HE BANGED SHAE, HE STRANGLES SHAE WITH HIS FATHER'S NECKLACE THAT WAS AROUND HER NECK

CATELYN STARK BECOMES LADY STONEHEART, A RAISED WOMAN AND JOINS BROTHERHOOD WITHOUT BANNERS

BRAN BECOMES GREEN SEER NORTH OF THE WALL WITH COLDHANDS

STANNIS GOES TO WALL AND SAVES NIGHT'S WATCH FROM WILDLING SIEGE AT LAST MOMENT

and other ebin stories at ASOIAF :DDDDD

10 months of grief await me....

I have a feeling Stoneheart will be their cliffhanger for next series, since it happens at the end of book three which will just-about be the end of series four. Or it could be somewhere mid-series. But I think, after last week, viewers (especially non-book-readers who don't know what Stoneheart means and should NOT Google it by any means!) need a bit of a step off the peddle, rather than more shocks and twists. Besides, it feels a bit too soon for Stoneheart, if you ask me. Certain events need to sink in a little more to give it impact, I think....

(Did my best to avoid spoilers for people who haven't read the books. Sorry if I've inadvertently ruined it for you!!)

I think this discussion has been quite tame and vague, which I'm glad because, even as someone who has read the books, I hate seeing people spoil it to spite people who haven't found the time to sit down and read several-thousands of pages worth of material. Just so long as you don't Google the term 'Stoneheart' in conjunction with any forums of GoT or anything, you should be ok here. I just hope no one contradicts me and blurts every spoiler under the sun on this thread!
But you're right about the review. I'm pretty sure only half of it seems to have been uploaded....

Oh I won't do that..I've even avoided watching any trailers for upcoming movies I want to see..like Into Darkness, Man Of Steel and so on..hate spoilers.

No you did a good job there (this coming from a TV series only fan)

Oh don't remind us ................... dammit!!!

What a dud of a finale. Never do a filler episode for a finale. No, I don’t require gore and war, but I do require ample screen time for characters who are remotely entertaining. Instead we got dreary Stannis for 30 minutes, moping around in his dreary castle…dud. Then broken record Theon and his overacting torturer. How many needless torture scenes do we need to get the point across? Here’s a clue….less than 4. Jamie shows up in King’s Landing, which has great potential and drama but yet nothing happens. While I didn’t need the Red Wedding again, in truth it was the only really big and incredibly sad event this very subpar season. The producers really built this season up. It didn’t even sniff the expectation level of greatness. Maybe you should drift from the story more and keep it more entertaining. Or maybe its time to let those producers who act so infallible by defending every scene/action, drift off into the sunset. I loved season 1, liked season 2 and felt season 3 was unloveable. I still have faith it can be the best show again on cable or otherwise. Just hope this show hasn’t jumped the proverbial shark.

I've loved Iwan Rheon's performance as the torturer... After his work on this and Misfits, I can see he's got a huge career ahead of him...

Loved the scene of the small council (Just a pity that Charles Dance is too old to be the new Who, btw) and the beautiful last scene with Stannis with the contrast of the sunlight, the pink sky and the flames behind Davos - truly stunning.
So, we have only got until next April to wait then??
Bugger.

this is the sort of slavish review that really gets on t*t$.

'like Theon's prolonged torture this season'

huh? did we actually need to see that what? 5/6 times? only to find out that the perpetrator was roose bolton's son?

tell you what? how about not mentioning it at all?!

A slightly low key finale = Yeah, totally 'jumped the shark.'

Well, I personally wouldn't have mentioned it if it wasn't already on the thread. I'm only pointing out that there ARE spoilers in the term 'Stoneheart' but, to those unaware what it means, it's a harmless discussion. It doesn't take much to ignore the term and simply not know what it means for however long we've got til it's revealed. There's no need to be all snarky about it, friend.....

Agreed.

I suspect that many were a bit let down by this last season's finale. The story didn't progress much and little tension was resolved. I doubt that I am the only that found it completely boring and mostly unmemorable.

I am actually a bit angry.

@Rhys, I think you did an excellent job in warning us about spoilers. I am reading the books at pace with the HBO series, so I have an idea whats going on. As long as us "slow readers" don't "google" anything related to GoT, we are fine.

I see no reason to think they're leaving out Coldhands. He doesn't come in to the story until well after Bran and co are beyond the wall.

Also, if Coldhands is indeed Bloodraven (mentioned in the Dunk and Egg prequels) as has been foreshadowed by many clues (his name was Brynden, he had a thousand and one eyes as did Bloodraven, and he's older than any mortal man, as Bloodraven would be by now) then Coldhands has a far, far bigger role to play than most realize. Hell, I think Coldhands may in fact be the grand evil over which the forces of mankind must triumph.

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