The third season of the fantasy drama television series Game of Thrones premiered in the United States on HBO on March 31, 2013, and concluded on June 9, 2013. It was broadcast on Sunday at 9:00 pm in the United States, consisting of 10 episodes, each running approximately 50–60 minutes. The season is based roughly on the first half of A Storm of Swords (the third of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R. R. Martin, of which the series is an adaptation). The series is adapted for television by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. HBO renewed the series for a third season on April 10, 2012, nine days after the second season’s premiere. Production began in July 2012. The show was filmed primarily in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Croatia, Iceland and Morocco.
The story takes place in a fictional world, primarily upon a continent called Westeros, with one storyline occurring on another continent to the east, Essos. Like the novel, the season continues the storyline of The War of the Five Kings: after the death of Renly Baratheon, all four kings in Westeros believe they have a claim to the Iron Throne, besides Robb Stark, who seeks vengeance for the death of his father, Ned Stark, and independence for the North. The season also features other storylines: Daenerys Targaryen begins her rise in power in Essos; Ned’s illegitimate son, Jon Snow, goes undercover beyond the Wall; the other Stark children struggle to survive up and down Westeros, but Robb is killed; Jaime Lannister returns to the capital; and all of Westeros is informed of the reawakened threat of the Army of the Dead.
Game of Thrones features a large ensemble cast, including Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington. The season introduced a number of new cast members, including Diana Rigg, Ciarán Hinds, Nathalie Emmanuel and Iwan Rheon.
Critics praised the show’s production values and cast. Viewership yet again rose compared to the previous season. It won 2 of the 16 Emmy Awards for which it was nominated; nominations included Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Dinklage), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Clarke) and Outstanding Drama Series. It also won the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Drama Series.
Game of Thrones rapidly became a critical and commercial success after it started airing in April 2011. A few days after ratings for the second season’s premiere, “The North Remembers”, hit a series high of 8.3 million viewers, HBO announced the show’s renewal for a third season. Prior to that announcement, there had been rumors and reports that showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss planned to shoot seasons three and four simultaneously. Benioff said that this would be very efficient, but impossible to write.
The ten episodes of the third season are longer than the previous seasons’, about 54 or 57 minutes as opposed to about 52. The season’s budget was reported to be around 50 million U.S. dollars.
The third season is based on the first half of the novel A Storm of Swords. Benioff had previously said that A Storm of Swords would need to be adapted in two seasons on account of its length. Benioff and Weiss also noted that they thought of Game of Thrones as an adaptation of the series as a whole, rather than of individual novels, which gave them the liberty to move scenes back and forth across novels according to the requirements of the screen adaptation. According to Benioff, the third season contains a particularly memorable scene from A Storm of Swords, the prospect of filming which was part of their motivation to adapt the novels for television in the first place. The writing credits for the third season now state “Written for television by”, instead of the usual “Written by” credit.
Season 3 saw the first significant use of the Valyrian languages, spoken in doomed Valyria and its former colonies in Essos. The constructed languages were developed by linguist David J. Peterson based on the few words Martin invented for the novels. Peterson had previously developed the Dothraki language, used principally in season 1.
David Benioff and D. B. Weiss serve as main writers and showrunners for the third season. They co-wrote seven out of ten episodes. The remaining three episodes were written by Bryan Cogman, Vanessa Taylor, and the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin.
Daniel Minahan, Alex Graves, Michelle MacLaren, and David Nutter each directed two episodes. One further episode was directed by previous series cinematographer , Alik Sakharov, whereas another was co-directed by Benioff and Weiss, both making their directorial debuts, although only Benioff is credited for directing the episode.
The third season adds previously recurring actors Oona Chaplin (Talisa Maegyr), Joe Dempsie (Gendry) and Rose Leslie (Ygritte) to the series’ main cast.
After an absence of one season David Bradley returns as Walder Frey, Ian McElhinney as Barristan Selmy, Peter Vaughan as Maester Aemon, Josef Altin as Pypar and Luke McEwan as Rast.
March 31, 2013
- S02E01 – “Valar Dohaeris”
- S02E02 – “Dark Wings, Dark Words”
- S02E03 – “Walk of Punishment”
- S02E04 – “And Now His Watch Is Ended”
- S02E05 – “Kissed by Fire”
- S02E06 – “The Climb”
- S02E07 – “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”
- S02E08 – “Second Sons”
- S02E09 – “The Rains of Castamere”
- S02E10 – “Mhysa”
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