The 15 Best Scenes in Game of Thrones: Season 3
Game of Thrones: Season 3 hits DVD and Blu-ray today, and the show looks even better in disc-quality high definition (my new 60-inch television may help, too). After re-watching most episodes again allowed me to really enjoy all the details I missed the first time around, so it only made sense to rank the 15 best scenes of the season (needless to say, there are significant spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t watched the show yet, don’t read this article).
Read the list, and then tell us in the comments section your favorite scene of the season:
15. Bran consciously uses his warg abilities for the first time
Game of Thrones: Season 3 continues to, however subtly, expand upon the fantastical elements of the world that are largely hinted at or alluded to in previous seasons. I’m not a huge fan of the Bran storyline (though even in the books his true purpose is only just beginning to reveal itself), but when Bran goes “full warg” and takes control of his wolf to save brother Jon Snow, it’s pretty awesome.
14. Brienne battles Jaime Lannister
There is nothing groundbreaking about the swordfight between Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister, but the scene speaks to the badass nature of Brienne: Jaime, though his wrists are bound, is considered one of the best swordfighters in the realm, and yet Brienne, a woman, takes him down. And in convincing fashion.
13. “You know nothing, Jon Sn-oh!”
The chemistry between Jon Snow and adorably fierce Ygritte is terrific, but it’s their first (and only?) sex scene that gives audiences one of the best quotes of the season. After shedding her clothes, virgin Jon Snow goes down on her. She laughs at him for kissing her in the wrong place, but mid-sentence her mockery turns to full bliss.
12. Theon Greyjoy “escapes”
In the books, Theon disappears for a significant amount of time and it’s only later that his severe torture is alluded to. The people behind Game of Thrones decided to not only keep the audience updated on his whereabouts, but feature his continued torture throughout the entire season. While many of the scenes between Theon and Bolton’s Bastard are painfully entertaining, it’s the sequence of events that has Theon being freed, led through the woods and then brought back to the exact same torture chamber that establishes just how creative, and evil, his torturer really is.
11. Ygritte shoots Jon Snow
Of all the various relationships on the show, the one between Ygritte and Jon Snow is one of the most believable and entertaining to watch. But given the fact that she is a wildling and he’s a man of the Night’s Watch – devoted to protecting the realm from wildlings – who really thought their romance was going to end happily? At the end of the season, after Jon Snow has not only betrayed the wildlings but shown his true colors to his girlfriend, Ygritte tracks him down and with all the ferocity she promised if he did such a thing, she shoots him with an array of arrows. The scene is devastating in more ways than one.
10. Jaime loses his swordhand
For the first two seasons, most people including myself wanted nothing more than for cocky Jaime Lannister to be killed. But thanks to this one scene – in which Jaime loses his sword hand and along with it his identity – the character is propelled down a new path, one that makes him incredibly more accessible and interesting. Oh, and it’s a pretty gruesome way to end an episode.
9. Olenna Tyrell is smart, but Tywin Lannister owns her anyway
I doubt many people declare that Tywin Lannister is one of their favorite characters, so I was surprised to see that as I put this list together, many of the scenes that Tywin appears in are among the best of the season (I even cut a couple). Though Olenna Tyrell (played brilliantly by Dianna Rigg) quickly establishes that she is one of the smartest, funniest and no-bullshit characters on the show, it takes just one scene to show that Tywin still has the upper hand. In the scene, Tywin destroys Olenna’s plan to marry off Sansa and puts the old woman in her place, without even the smallest threat of physical violence.
8. Tywin puts Tyrion in his place
Another great scene involving Tywin (Charles Dance), and the only one on this list involving fan favorite Tyrion, has the father and son arguing with one another, though “arguing” is a strong word. Tyrion, basically stripped of all the power he accumulated last season, is lectured, berated and kicked to the curb in a masterful matter of minutes, in which Tywin basically informs him that he is his son only “because he can’t prove otherwise” and that he will do everything he can to ensure Tyrion he will never inherit his rightful claim to Casterly Rock.
7. Margaery Tyrell introduces Sansa Stark to Olenna Tyrell
This scene introduces (if memory serves) the awesome Olenna Tyrell and establishes why she has been around for as long as she has been: she’s smart, cunning and knows her shit. It also reveals other things about two other characters: that the beautiful Margaery Tyrell is not only well aware of what she’s getting into with King Joffrey but isn’t concerned about it in the least, and that Sansa, as dumb and naïve as she can be, knows what she has to do and say to survive.
6. Tywin shows Joffrey who’s boss
King Joffrey is a character people love to hate, and it’s hard to deny how satisfying it is to see him getting put in his place. In this scene, Tywin Lannister literally stands over his grandson as he sits on the Iron Throne, making it very clear who is really in command of the kingdom. After all, in the same episode, Tywin declares, “You really think a crown gives you power?” Nothing in Game of Thrones is truer than that.
Interestingly, in the same scene, Tywin shows he isn’t infallible. Joffrey raises concerns about Daenerys and rumors of dragons, and Tywin dismisses her importance immediately. Big mistake.
5. Lord Beric teaches Melisandre something about the Red God
Game of Thrones: Season 3 places more emphasis on religion and faith than in the previous two combined, especially when it comes to R’hllor, the Lord of Light. The third season dives a little deeper into the Red Priestess Melisandre, and like so many characters it is revealed that she isn’t as evil as first thought. Also, even she doesn’t know everything about her religion, as exemplified in a scene where she meets Beric Dondarrion and Lord Beric, the latter of whom has been brought back from the dead multiple times. Barely able to believe that such a thing is possible, Melisandre asks Beric about what lies beyond the realm of the living, to which Beric states to a shocked Melisandre, that there isn’t anything, just darkness. It’s a disturbing thought, that if Melisandre doesn’t truly understand the Red God, who does? And what exactly are his motivations, if he even has motivations?
4. Jaime confesses to Brienne why he killed the Mad King
As a reader of the book, Jaime Lannister has developed into one of my favorite characters. In the show, it’s this scene, in which Jaime sheds not only his clothes but his metaphorical armor, that officially marks his transition. Jaime reveals to Brienne why he broke his oath and murdered the Mad King, showing that in fact he’s actually one of the more upstanding individuals in the realm.
3. Daenerys takes command of the Unsullied
Easily the best “f**k yeah” moment of the season is the one in which Daenerys takes control of the Unsullied army, reveals that she speaks Valyrian (and understood all of the horrible comments made by slave trader Kraznys) and then informs her business “associate” that dragons cannot be traded or owned. She then proceeds to have the dragon cook him on the spot and unleashes her new army upon the other slavers. All I can say is, f**k yeah.
2. Littlefinger vs. Varys
Tywin Lannister understands that you don’t need to wear a crown to wield great power. What he doesn’t understand is that you don’t even need an army, or title. In this powerful scene, frenemies Littlefinger and Varys confront one another and allude to their contradicting philosophies: Varys’ desire to keep the realm intact, regardless of who sits upon the throne, and Littlefinger’s willingness to let the world disintegrate into chaos if it means more power for him.
Some would argue that this scene contains the two people who really matter in Westeros, and Game of Thrones; two men who have no land, title or even wealth, but have power via knowledge, spies and the willingness and ability to manipulate others to get their way.
Of course, in this scene, Littlefinger ultimately wins, as he lets Joffrey murder his business partner Ros because she was spying on him for Varys.
1. The Red Wedding
I’m sure there are people who wouldn’t list the Red Wedding as their #1 scene of the season simply to be different, but let’s be honest: people who had already read the books were looking forward to this one scene all year, and those who hadn’t were so completely shocked by the blood-soaked celebration that there are montages on YouTube of their reactions. The Red Wedding is one of the most talked about television events in recent memory, and for good reason.