Game Of Thrones: Season Three - TV Review

'It's not the lack of action which grates, but the lack of intrigue. The question of who should be king used to be about investigation, fragile alliances, muddled bloodlines; now it's about who controls the largest group of men.'

Though it has a sprawling cast of characters, which seems to be getting bigger every season, one of Game Of Thrones' huge plus points over the last two years has been just how much it can make you care about the stand out players in its large ensemble.

In the first season I was entertained hugely by Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and swept along on a noble quest with Ned Stark (Sean Bean). In the second year of the show, I thought Arya (Maisie Williams) took to the fore in terms of general plot interest and Jon Snow's (Kit Harington) pilgrimage beyond the wall, particularly in the opening episodes of Season Two, was daring and compelling.

The problem with Series Three, by far the weakest year of GOT so far, is that there's no replacement, in plot interest terms, for these stand out members of an eclectic cast.

Tyrion is now a pen-pusher, played into a corner by the wits of King's Landing, apparently having lost his job, his charm and his impact. Arya is, once again, in the clutches of someone she doesn't want to be, in the early episodes suffering the drink and sorcery-induced malaise of Paul Kaye (well cast) and his band of Robin Hood-alike merry gentlemen.

Potential replacements for these two are few, with perhaps Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) once again threatening to break out but then never actually doing so. For the third season in a row, she is stuck in her own little mini-series, all ten minutes per episode of it. If you can't move her location, at least show somehow how she might impact on the plot the rest of the characters inhabit. Leaving her abroad, absent, for another series is an increasingly painful element to contemplate watching in season four.

By the point episode six is reached, Carice van Houten's Lady in Red is telling us all about things that will happen between her and Arya. Hang on, how about things that are going to happen? Like now. Has this season forgotten all about that? Are we going to have to sit through another six episodes of vaguely soap-opera-ish posturing before someone does something? It's not the lack of action (though that is diminished) which grates, but the lack of intrigue. The question of who should be king used to be about investigation, fragile alliances, muddled bloodlines; now it's about who controls the largest group of men.

Finally, Aidan Gillen (underused) gets a monologue about chaos, which seems to wake GOT season 3 up, whilst Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Gwendoline Christie remain watchable and interesting throughout the early epsiodes. The much-talked about Red Wedding is a shocking sequence, but the characters whom it eliminates lead us only to a returning question. Key members of the cast have departed - is there anyone who can take the focus and fill the gap left, when season four spins around next year?



No comments:

Post a comment