Past the Popcorn provides South King Media with exclusive reviews of Theatrical and Home Video entertainment. We aim to dig just a little deeper than the surface of what we watch.

In the 8-season run of Game of Thrones, there were only two seasons that were monumental catalysts of change. S3 is one of them.

It’s the season that Daenerys would finally come into her own. Promised the world by her now dead husband, and having to be a refugee and guest to those more powerful than her in order to survive, she finally gains, by her own hand, what the world had robbed of her. As one of the few truly good rulers in the world, she sets her eye on Slavers Bay and aims to rid it of its namesake. In one of the most spectacular turn of events in the show she gains an entire army of former slave soldiers by freeing them in front of their masters whilst burning down the institution of slavery in the city of Astapor. “A dragon is not a slave.”

Once again this show proved why it’s light years ahead of anything ever created for television. The doubling of the old and rugged Moroccan countryside as Slavers Bay is astonishing. Its parched landscape heavily contrasts the European woodlands of Westeros. The very idea that the showrunners went to these lengths to create an immersive viewing experience is commendable.

Meanwhile, beyond the Wall, Jon’s infiltration of the Wildling army continues as he is now placed with a band of scouts on a reconnaissance mission. It’s a dangerous place to be and an even more dangerous place to fall in love. In a rare moment of pure and beautiful intimacy Jon and his wildling girl, Ygritte, make love in a cave. Sex is nothing new in Thrones but more often than not it’s rape, incest, or some other ghastly sexual experience; so it’s refreshing when two people who just love each other can be together without any fiendish things in between.

The monumental game changer that finally launched an already budding series into a global pop culture phenomenon was the Red Wedding. Ever since Ned Stark was imprisoned and executed, his son Robb has waged a war against the Lannisters. By all that’s good in the world, by all the morality, ethics, goodness, virtue, and decency there could possibly be, Robb Stark deserved to get justice. But the story brutally reminded us that these things don’t matter in the end. As we see Robb slowly lose control of his own army, as his men start to turn on him, and as he fights desperately to hold on to his power, it all comes to an end as he visit The Twins in an effort to recompense a broken promise he made to man who doesn’t forgive.

Under the guise of hospitality, Robb’s entire party, wife, and mother, were all mercilessly slain in front of one another thus ending his campaign and leaving the vile Lannisters the winners of his war. The Lannisters have now beat the Starks and the Baratheons. Joffrey continues to sit the Iron Throne and his family remains the most powerful in Westeros.

But this is Game of Thrones and the game continues…

Grade A.

As if you didn’t know, Season Two of Game of Thrones is available with your HBO Go subscription. You can also stream it from your favorite service.

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