Game of Thrones: Season 3 Study Guide

Alex Standallby:


The Easter Bunny has a special treat for us this Sunday: the return of Game of Thrones, everyone’s favorite blood-spurting, bosom-exhibiting, dragon-stealing fantasy adaptation!

Remember the first few episodes of the show, when every major character (minus Daenerys and crew) was located in Winterfell? Westeros still boasted one king, intact families and plotlines that could be explained in a tidy fashion?

Those days are long past us. Even by the end of the first season, we saw families’ trees torn limb from limb and friends and kin strewn across a continent. The diaspora and death continued in Season 2. With new characters and plotlines constantly added to the already-dense series, it’s hard to keep track of who’s displaced, distraught or … dead (still miss ya, Ned!).

So, how shall we cross-section this recap of last season? We have many options: by geography, by family, by face punchability (Joffrey goes first, Theon second, Arya last). I will stick with the precedent set in last year’s Study Guide and group characters by their family and banner. It seems like the noble thing to do.

Eddard Stark

Ned had an eventful and productive second season… Oh, wait, no he didn’t, because that little shit Joffrey beheaded him. Lord Eddard spent last season decomposing with his homeboy George W. Bush.

Catelyn Stark

The matriarch of the Stark clan spent last season alternating between matronly wisdom, whiny fortitude, and apparently rash overreaction. It’s hard to blame her for any of her actions, given that – despite her pleadings – her husband inadvertently launched a war that’s torn her family apart.

Later, she failed to dissuade Renly from dismissing Stannis, Robb from marrying Talisa, and herself from freeing Jaime. We already know Ned and Renly ended up (significantly) worse off by ignoring her. I’m excited to see if the “listen to Catelyn or you’re fucked” subplot continues.

Robb Stark

With his father frightfully fastened to a flagpole by his festering face, The Young Wolf took center stage in season 2. The King in the North does his best to overcome political inexperience and gain independence from King Joffrey Shithead.

Robb would probably be doing alright if it wasn’t for Theon’s Winterfell-stealing treachery. Breaking an engagement oath was probably a bad idea, but it’s hard to fault him for that one though.

Jon Snow

The Stark bastard spent much of Season 2 learning the harshness of the lands beyond The Wall. Both its conditions and its lawless people are dangers to the rest of Westeros (the ice zombies, too). And now he’s been tasked with performing a long con to blend in with the wildlings (including fire-haired Ygritte).

My one question is this: How much, exactly, does Jon Snow know?

Oh good. That clears that up.

Sansa Stark

Sansa spent most of last season pouting and getting pushed around by various psychopaths. Yet, in one of my favorite twists of the season, she was one of few characters to end the season with a smile when her betrothal to Joffrey was broken. Yeah, Littlefinger tried to talk some sense into her, but it’s hard not to be happy for the maiden’s freedom.

Arya Stark

Nothing too special… just made friends with a shape-shifting assassin, successfully hid her identity from the most dangerous, clever and intimidating villain on the show, escaped a possibly-haunted prison fort, and received a magical coin (“Valar Morghulis!”) that is probably a Checkov’s gun of some sort. Arya’s a safe bet to make the dean’s list every season here at Character Grades.

Bran Stark

Dude be having crazy wolf dreams, but that’s hardly the worst of his problems. Season one, he was thrown from a window and paralyzed from the waist down. You’d think that would be rock bottom (pun intended), but this season, his fortunes took a turn for the worse: His old “friend” Theon claimed Winterfell for his own and basically forced Bran to concede his birthright to the North. Now he’s being sneaked towards the Wall from the only home he’s ever known by Hodor and wildling Osha.

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