'Game of Thrones' Season 3 Finale Recap: Family First
'Game of Thrones' Season 3 Finale Recap: Family First
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Welcome to my recap for the Game of Thrones season 3 finale! I was on vacation last week, but it's not like I missed anything important. Except for the sacking of Yunkai. And Jon Snow turning on the wildlings. And the deaths of Talisa, Robb and Catelyn Stark at the Red Wedding. The finale can only be a letdown after that madness.

Indeed, the Game of Thrones season 3 finale is quieter and more about setting up the future. There's plenty of housekeeping at King's Landing as everyone learns about the Red Wedding. The episode also sees Jaime's homecoming, Arya's first kill, a return to Castle Black and, most importantly, we learn the identity of Theon Greyjoy's torturer.

Lannister Family Values

Tyrion and Sansa, the newlyweds, are cute together, getting along quite well. That's all about to change when he's called away to a Small Council meeting where King Joffrey has the world's biggest shit-eating grin on his face.

Yup, they learn about the deaths of Robb and Catelyn Stark and Joffrey vows to serve Robb's head to Sansa at his wedding. Tyrion won't stand for this nonsense and basically threatens to kill the king (again). Joffrey, the spoiled brat, throws a temper tantrum and Grandpa Tywin orders him to sleep it off.

We learn that the Red Wedding was orchestrated by Tywin Lannister, a man who believes that family should ALWAYS come first, no matter what. Doing what he believes is in their best interest instead of indulging his children's whims is why he's so damn good at his job.

In a great scene, Varys and Shae bond over being one-named nomads and Varys tries to bribe her to run away and leave Tyrion behind. He's not opposed to their love, but he knows that Tyrion is the only person capable of toppling Joffrey and saving the Seven Kingdoms, but he won't be able to do it with a distraction like Shae around. Shae refuses.

Finally, after a night where Cersei and Tyrion have a heart-to-heart about the power of loving your children (no matter what), Cersei retires to her chamber and is shocked and delighted when Jaime comes home. Jaime and Brienne finally made it back to King's Landing.

Back to the Night's Watch

It's a small world after all, because Samwell and Gilly cross the Wall and bump into Bran Stark! Samwell recognizes him because he's heard plenty of stories about Jon's crippled brother, Hodor the giant and the direwolves. They have a nice chat about going north of the Wall and Samwell tells them how to do it, but refuses to go along. But he does give them his White Walker-killing dragonglass.

As Bran, Hodor, Jojen and Meera head north of the Wall, Sam and Gilly return to Castle Black where Maester Aemon is still alive and agrees to let Gilly stay there for a while. He also orders Sam to send out as many ravens as possible to the entirety of the Seven Kingdoms, letting everyone know about the Army of the Undead marching south.

In other Night's Watch news, Ygritte tracks down Jon Snow and isn't too pleased that he left her. He just wants to go back home and starts to leave, knowing his wildling lover won't hurt him. But as the catch phrase goes, "You know nothing, Jon Snow." Because Ygritte shoots him with three arrows. You bitch! Also, kudos to the show for mirroring Jon Snow and Robb Stark.

Luckily, however, he gets on his horse which takes him back to Castle Black. Jon Snow is alive and reunited with his BFF Samwell. So after a two season-long journey north of the Wall, they're back home.

Greyjoy. vs. Bolton

After a season of torture, we FINALLY learn the identity of Theon Greyjoy's torturer. The boy is Roose Bolton's bastard son, Ramsay Snow. Sadly, "Snow" is just the generic surname given to northern-born bastards. For a second I was hoping somehow Roose and Ned knocked up the same woman and Ramsay was Jon's half-brother. But no.

Anyway, Ramsay, the sadistic little twerp, pretends to dine on Theon's removed member, though it's just a pork sausage. But Ramsay has bigger plans than torture. He sends Theon's penis to Balon Greyjoy (remember him?) with a note ordering all of the Iron-born men to flee the north or else he'll keep sending little bits of Theon.

Balon doesn't care because, now that Theon is a eunuch, he can't have kids so he's useless to the family. Yara, Theon's sister, feels differently. She gathers 50 killers and sets sail for the north to save her brother. OK, I love Game of Thrones, but a Bolton vs. Greyjoy war over Theon's life sounds like the least interesting storyline ever.

Arya the Killer

After witnessing all of Robb's men being burned and murdered at the Red Wedding, the Hound and Arya are off to parts unknown. On their way they stumble upon some guys laughing about the Red Wedding. One of the guys claims he's the one who sewed a wolf's head onto Robb's body after he was decapitated.

Arya doesn't approve, so she jumps down, acts like a lost little girl begging for food, then takes a knife and repeatedly stabs the guy. The Hound comes in to take down everyone else. Just like that, Arya is finally a killer.

Davos Saves Gendry

On Dragonstone, Gendry and Davos bond is prison as two low-born losers who are suddenly very important. Davos somehow gets reappointed to be Stannis Baratheon's Hand and quickly betrays his king by helping to free Gendry. Davos is generally opposed to ritual sacrifice of innocent people, because he's a good guy. He gives Gendry a canoe and tells him to paddle.

Treason puts Davos right back on the path to execution, but he has a trump card in his pocket. It's the note Maester Aemon sent from Night's Watch, the one warning about the White Walkers coming. Melisandre tosses it into a fire and sees that the War of the Five Kings is utterly meaningless compared to the massive war coming in the north against the White Walkers.

She believes Stannis will win it (at which point I would start to doubt her red god, because Stannis can't be the hero in EVERY story), but that Davos will have a part to play as well.


Finally, Daenerys Targaryen waits outside of Yunkai for the slaves to emerge. They do and she tells them that she is not giving them their freedom because it is not hers to give. It's basically a variation of the same stump speech she's been giving for three years.

The people begin chanting "Mhysa," the title of the episode, which means "Mother." She wanders out into the crowd and they literally lift her up on their shoulders. As we pan up with the flying dragons, we see what looks like thousands if not millions of people celebrating Daenerys. To be honest, it's a bit of a disappointing and ho-hum final image compared to the first appearance of the dragons in season 1 or the White Walkers in season 2.

That does it for the relatively slow Game of Thrones season 3 finale that set up a whole lot for next season. How will everyone respond to news of the White Walkers marching south? What will one-handed Jaime's role be in his nephew/son's kingdom and will he marry Brienne? Does anyone care about Yara trying to save her brother from the sinister hands of Roose Bolton's bastard son? And finally, will Joffrey and Margaery's wedding EVER come? Because they've been planning that thing for 10 episodes.

See you next season!

(Image courtesy of HBO)