The final season of “Game of Thrones” arrives April 14. Before then, we’re getting prepared by rewatching the first seven seasons. Sign up to get these straight to your inbox.
This article contains spoilers for Seasons 1-7 of “Game of Thrones.”
We welcome you with bread and salt and give you the protection of guest right. (Not that it’s worth much these days.)
So now that you’ve rewatched Season 3, read on for a deeper dive into the season. If you happened to miss Monday’s Season 3 newsletter in your inbox, it’s also available here.
House Stark is the biggest loser — let’s take a moment of silence for them. House Targaryen is on the rise, but Dany has a habit of conquering cities and moving on, so most of what she gains here is a free army and a boost to her rep — she’s the queen of the mic drop and the crowd-surf.
House Lannister, though, is the boss. With a few strokes of his quill, Tywin quashed a battlefield opponent and brought two kingdoms to heel. It was a nasty trick, but he won’t have to take the blame. (Sorry House Frey, that’s all yours. Want some pie?)Cost and Consequence
When Tyrion becomes the Master of Coin, he starts to educate himself about the crown’s finances — or lack of them. As it turns out, Littlefinger’s method of balancing the books was to borrow millions from the Lannisters (which accelerated the depletion of their gold mines) and tens of millions from the Iron Bank of Braavos, which creates not just an economic problem, but a national-security issue.
Soon we’ll learn that the Lannister mines ran out back in Season 1, around the time Ned Stark was questioning the cost of a tournament in his honor. Since that time, Littlefinger had financed the war (that he helped start) by plunging the realm further in debt. This, above all else, is why the Lannister/Tyrell alliance became so necessary — the crown depended on the Tyrells’ resources. (Among them infantrymen and other support, as Margaery reminds Cersei at dinner and Olenna Tyrell reminds Tyrion during their meeting to discuss the cost of the royal wedding).
“I was told you were drunk, impertinent and thoroughly debauched,” Olenna tells Tyrion. “You can imagine my disappointment at finding nothing but a browbeaten bookkeeper.”
And imagine the surprise of some viewers to find that financial matters were being discussed in a fantasy story, and in specific detail. “Lord of the Rings” wasn’t concerned with how Aragon would rule Middle-earth, or what his tax policies would be. A man needed only be the rightful heir to the throne and a virtuous person to be considered a good ruler. But Westeros is a different kind of fantasy world, one in which budgets are hard to balance and wars cost money, as Tyrion points out.
While Westeros’s debt is its main fiscal challenge, details scattered among various conversations this season suggest broader economic woes.
If farms and villages in a feudal agrarian society are being ravaged, there is less revenue coming in. Westeros also has a major trade deficit. Most of the luxury products prized by the nobility (carpets, silk, spices) originate in the more advanced city states in Essos, across the Narrow Sea. The Free Cities are major trade partners, and so is Qarth — or was, before Dany came along. So without many products and services of its own to export, Westeros is at a severe disadvantage when the mines run dry, or when winter is coming.
Throughout Season 3, we find characters debating what human lives are worth. “What is the life of one bastard boy against a kingdom?” Stannis wonders. “Explain to me why it is more noble to kill ten thousand men in battle than a dozen at dinner,” Tywin demands. Killing rivals at a feast is also symbolic; either they eat, or you do. If winter is coming, the thinking goes, it may be better to end the war in the Riverlands quickly and turn the country’s attention back to replenishing its resources. Especially when that country lacks infrastructure and effective trade routes.The Dangers of the Heart
Emotional decisions made during a war — marrying for love, as Robb Stark did, or executing Lord Karstark, another of his rash actions — can prove disastrous. In Robb’s case, he lost valuable allies and whole armies at a time when he could least afford to lose them.
We might love Robb for being romantic and honorable, but he makes a lot of mistakes. He gives up laying waste to Lannister turf and cedes the west (where he was winning battles) to detour way east to Harrenhal at the beginning of Season 3, then heads back west with his whole army for his grandfather’s funeral.
Dany, too, is making some unfortunately emotional decisions. Her scorched-earth conquests of Astapor and Yunkai are rousing in the moment — she turns the tables and frees the slaves! She burns the bad guy! But right though they may be, are these really smart things to do? Jorah and Barristan tell her not to sack Yunkai — it’s a detour. But there are 200,000 slaves in Yunkai, and she says that constitutes 200,000 reasons to take the city. It will also wipe out the basis for the city-state’s economy.
Dany’s destruction of the slave trade in Astapor and her subsequent departure with its Unsullied soldiers left the people there in a vulnerable position. Later in Season 4, she will learn that Astapor was subsequently overrun by a “butcher.” She repeats that mistake in Yunkai, moving on before considering the economic chaos she has created — which leads to slavery being reinstated. Sure, she gets to drop the whip and call herself the Breaker of Chains. But every place she goes, she fails to provide the basis for these states to exist without slavery. She doesn’t think ahead.
The wreckage that Dany leaves behind in her march through Slaver’s Bay creates ripple effects throughout Essos and Westeros. In Essos, the disruption to the supply has a dire effect on the slave market, which Tyrion and Jorah will later discover when they themselves are captured and sold into bondage in Season 5.
This in turn could disrupt the larger economies of not only Essos but also Westeros, which is so dependent on Essos slave labor providing its many luxuries. Slavery is illegal in Westeros, but the highborn there benefit from it all the same.A Few Words from the Dearly Departed
Never cross a Machiavellian mastermind. The prostitute-turned-madam-turned-spy Ros learned this the hard way, when Littlefinger gave her to Joffrey to use as target practice for his new crossbow. (It was payback for her thwarting his arrangements with Sansa.) Instead of the camera lingering on how Joffrey makes his first direct kill, it pans to Ros’s trussed-up, already dead body during Littlefinger’s now-famous “chaos is a ladder” speech. We pay our respects with actress Esmé Bianco. (Adapted from an interview for an earlier article.)
How did you find out about your character’s death?
I knew I was doing Season 3, but I thought it was strange that they hadn’t sent me any scripts. Then I got an email from the assistant of [showrunners] David Benioff and Dan Weiss, saying they wanted to conference call me. At that point, I was like, “Ah, that can’t be good news.” I knew I was living on borrowed time, and I was amazed that I had survived as long as I did, really. The call was like an awkward breakup. They were very timid about breaking the news, and eventually I had to be like, “Guys, why are you calling me?” They told me I was going to die, but they didn’t tell me how. They sent me the script the next day, and I was like, “Seriously? Why didn’t they just tell me on the phone that it was Joffrey who killed me?” I was so angry about that!
Getting killed by Joffrey was insulting because he’s such a little [expletive], excuse my French. He’s such a little twerp. Of all the characters to be killed by? And I was really infuriated that I didn’t get to die on screen. Nothing’s more fun than doing a great screen death! I begged them on set, “Can’t I have a final cough and sputter?” And they were like, “Nope, you’re dead.” “Please?” “Nope, you’re dead.”
Did you read any of the fan reaction? Did it help or hurt?
My character was kind of controversial because Ros doesn’t appear in the books, and a lot of the die-hard fans would time how many seconds I spent on screen per episode. They absolutely hated me in Season 1. So I stopped reading social media, because they upset me so much. People were seriously mean. I didn’t know people could be so horrible!
Did you check out social media after your death?
I had been sworn to secrecy, so I couldn’t tell anybody. But I tricked all my friends and invited them over: “It’s Cinco de Mayo, I’m having a party, and it’s also ‘Game of Thrones’ night, so we can watch that, too.” Almost like it’s an afterthought. I wanted all my friends around me for my death scene and the Twitter reactions. And it was absolutely insane. I couldn’t keep up with the tweets! I was surprised that there was such a huge reaction. I wasn’t one of the main characters, and it wasn’t one of the iconic deaths that people were expecting from the books. And people were reacting more than just, “Oh, she died,” or, “It looked gross.” People were really upset about it! That was really moving. So it worked! [Laughs] Maybe it’s because you don’t have that many characters in “Game of Thrones” who are just the average person on the streets.
Who had your favorite death and why?
I think Joffrey has to be one of them, because it was so satisfying. [Laughs] Obviously, I have my own personal reasons for enjoying watching Joffrey die. But seeing Catelyn Stark’s reaction during the Red Wedding, and the scream she lets out? I get goose bumps just thinking about it.Where Are They Now?
Dying a dramatic, memorable death on “Game of Thrones” is an honor, actually — and a possible career booster, too. Several actors whose characters departed in Season 3 have gone on to other worthy things. For example:
Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark) might not have gotten to bring back Catelyn Stark as Lady Stoneheart — more on that in a minute — but she did get to play another resurrected matriarch, on “Resurrection.” She was also the king’s mother, Margaret Beaufort, on “The White Princess.”
Richard Madden (Robb Stark) worried that he might be typecast in romantic royal parts after his “Thrones” tenure, but he recently won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of a tormented security pro in “Bodyguard,” and he’s reported to have been offered the role of James Bond, should Daniel Craig move along.
Oona Chaplin (Talisa Maegyr) starred in a memorable “Black Mirror” episode (“White Christmas,” with Jon Hamm), and snagged a role in the upcoming “Avatar” movies.
Esmé Bianco (Ros) went from madam to magic — Bianco was an important part of the Syfy series “The Magicians,” playing the grown-up Jane Chatwin. She also turned up as a survivor of the destruction of Krypton on “Supergirl.”
James Cosmo (Jeor Mormont) transported his commanding presence to both “Ben Hur” and “Wonder Woman.”
Mackenzie Crook (Orell) is still warging! Crook recently voiced the rabbit Hawkbit in the “Watership Down” mini-series. He’s also the star and creator of the Bafta-winning “Detectorists.”
• Our recap of Season 3.
• Our critic’s review of the finale.
• Dany’s white savior trip.
• More on that topic, with a follow-up.
• Disability in “Game of Thrones.”
• An oral history of the Red Wedding.
• Superfans dissect the Red Wedding.The Biggest Departure from the Books
As devastating as the Red Wedding was, there was yet another traumatic outcome that TV-only fans never experienced. Because in the books, Catelyn Stark is still alive.
She isn’t using the name Catelyn Stark, however, and she did still die horribly at the Red Wedding. The Freys then threw her naked corpse into the river, where it drifted for days, until Arya’s long-lost direwolf Nymeria found the body, pulled it back to shore and drove away other wolves that wanted to feast on it. (This is thanks to Arya warging into Nymeria and engineering this rescue operation, although she thought it was a dream.)
Remember the Brotherhood Without Banners and Thoros of Myr reviving his friend Beric Dondarrion over and over? In the books, Thoros and Beric stumble upon Catelyn’s body, and Beric gives her the kiss of life that Thoros had so often given him. (Unfortunately, Beric doesn’t have enough life to spare, so he dies.)
And thus Catelyn is reborn as Lady Stoneheart.
If Beric came back a little worse for wear after each resurrection, the undead Catelyn is even less presentable. Beric didn’t have time to rot between deaths and resurrections, but Lady Stoneheart’s flesh is decayed, her skin mottled green, gray and brown. And she’s still mutilated, of course, her throat cut to the bone, her voice a garbled combination of croak, wheeze and death rattle. (“The language of the damned,” Brienne calls it.) And she’s lost most of her humanity. Death does not become her; she becomes Death. Or rather, she becomes a remorseless vigilante.
Lady Stoneheart has her own kill list, and she starts exacting revenge for the Red Wedding, going after anyone she perceives to be a Frey, Bolton or Lannister, or a collaborator with any of those factions. She galvanizes the Brotherhood Without Banners, and turns them into her own personal murder squad.
Fans had hoped to see Nymeria pull out … something … during the Red Wedding aftermath scenes, or to see Lady Stoneheart revealed at the end of the Season 3 finale. But no. Although the Brotherhood Without Banners did become more vicious by Season 6, Lady Stoneheart was nowhere to be found.
George R.R. Martin told Time that it was one of the biggest changes in the whole series, and he told Esquire China that this was one change he most wished he could make to the show, given that he still has big plans for Lady Stoneheart in the next book installment. Until then, we’ll always have Arya the vigilante.
We asked you earlier this week about your Red Wedding reactions, and it sounds like some of you are still recovering.
“I cried, cried and cried some more,” Patricia Cline recalled. Others were overwhelmed with “jaw-dropping shock,” as Karen King wrote. “Never saw it coming. Taking out three main characters at once, and so brutally, was beyond belief.” And there were those who knew it was coming, but “still couldn’t watch most of it,” as Jenny Pompilio told us. “I somehow hoped Talisa and the baby would survive (since they don’t exist in the books) but it was not to be.”
Others were mesmerized. “When the ‘Rains of Castamere’ song started playing, I stood up from the couch with my eyes glued to the screen,” wrote Zach Burrell, who found himself punching a pillow when Robb was betrayed. And Carmen Silva found a strange beauty in Robb’s shock. “He is wounded, with dead bodies all around him, but stands and calls out to his mother,” she wrote. “Richard Madden’s face had a childlike wonder in it. Death is everywhere, and he can only speak, ‘Mother.’” And most effective, as Karina Strakhova Masullo wrote, was “the screen going black for just a few seconds longer than usual after Catelyn Stark’s death and then … the deafening silence while the credits flashed one after the other.”
You also had more burning questions!
What happened to Sansa’s marriage to Tyrion? — Marcy Callaghan
Good question! And it’s one that the show is a little inconsistent about. When Sansa is spirited away to the Eyrie, her aunt Lysa asks her if she consummated her marriage with Tyrion. Sansa says no. During a strange late-night snack, Lysa comforts her by explaining that the Lannisters will execute Tyrion for murder, making her a widow. O.K., that sounds legit, but Tyrion isn’t executed. Later, Littlefinger assures Roose Bolton that Sansa never consummated the marriage, and “by the law of the land, she is no man’s wife.”
Well, that’s not exactly true. Yes, Margaery was able to marry Joffrey after Renly, and she was able to marry Tommen after Joffrey, but both previous husbands were dead. Her supposed virginity certainly makes her a much more appealing prospect, but not consummating a marriage doesn’t annul a marriage by itself. If setting aside a betrothal requires a consultation with the High Septon, as Pycelle reports when Joffrey wishes to set Sansa aside, an annulment of a marriage would certainly require at least that. (As it does when Rhaegar Targaryen annuls his marriage with Elia Martell.)
The problem is, both Sansa and Tyrion become fugitives, and requesting an annulment from the High Septon would give away their locations. Then there was the nasty business with the High Septon being replaced, essentially, by the High Sparrow, and the Sept of Baelor blowing up and all of that, which certainly complicates the issue. Who’s in charge of these things now? Is there any religious authority, or has Cersei usurped that entirely?
Until that’s all sorted out, it seems Sansa and Tyrion, whether they like it or not, whether they realize it or not, are still married.
• It’s a nice day for a Red Wedding.
• Commiserate more.
• Emoji recap.
• You speak Valyrian?
• Jon Snow knows one thing.
• D&D alignments.
• ’80s/’90s “Thrones.”
• Remembering Balon Greyjoy.B:
通天报92期【文】【不】【凡】【想】【了】【想】，【对】【着】【宝】【妹】【说】【道】：“【你】【现】【在】【就】【回】【燕】【京】【城】，【把】【你】【的】【想】【法】【告】【诉】【长】【平】，【这】【件】【事】【情】【我】【同】【意】，【具】【体】【的】【事】【情】【你】【和】【长】【平】【商】【议】，【要】【快】！” “【好】！”【宝】【妹】【说】【道】。 【当】【年】【卓】【英】【训】【练】【的】【那】【批】【人】，【宝】【妹】【还】【曾】【经】【去】【指】【导】【过】，【对】【于】【那】【些】【人】【宝】【妹】【是】【有】【所】【了】【解】【的】，【至】【于】【韦】【侠】【训】【练】【过】【的】【那】【些】【人】，【宝】【妹】【了】【解】【的】【并】【不】【多】，【但】【是】【长】【平】【公】【主】【了】【解】。【所】
【董】【孝】【带】【着】【陆】【晓】【来】【见】【萧】【磊】【这】【场】【饭】【局】，【看】【似】【在】【一】【片】【欢】【声】【笑】【语】【中】【结】【束】【了】，【但】【他】【没】【有】【发】【现】【的】【是】【临】【走】【前】【萧】【磊】【偷】【偷】【给】【陆】【晓】【塞】【了】【张】【纸】【条】，【而】【陆】【晓】【不】【动】【声】【色】【的】【收】【下】【了】。 【她】【收】【下】【的】【那】【一】【刻】【萧】【磊】【的】【心】【也】【跟】【着】【沉】【了】。 【当】【天】【晚】【上】【十】【一】【点】，【陆】【晓】【敲】【开】【了】【萧】【磊】【的】【房】【门】，【她】【穿】【着】【一】【身】【白】【色】【的】【连】【衣】【裙】，【扎】【着】【清】【纯】【的】【马】【尾】【鞭】【笑】【的】【一】【脸】【灿】【烂】【站】【在】【门】【口】，【而】
【莫】【馨】【才】【到】【门】【口】【就】【听】【见】【了】【某】【人】【正】【在】【说】【她】【的】【坏】【话】。 【居】【然】【说】【她】【像】【母】【狮】【子】！ 【还】【是】【母】【老】【虎】【的】【升】【级】【版】！ 【枉】【费】【她】【在】【厨】【房】【给】【他】【做】【莲】【子】【羹】，【虽】【然】【这】【个】【莲】【子】【羹】【他】【不】【喜】【欢】【吃】。 【莫】【馨】【走】【了】【进】【来】，【身】【后】【的】【宫】【女】【将】【莲】【子】【羹】【放】【在】【桌】【上】，【赶】【紧】【低】【着】【头】【退】【了】【出】【去】。 【预】【感】【到】【一】【场】“【腥】【风】【血】【雨】”，【还】【是】【躲】【远】【点】【比】【较】【好】。 【安】【静】【的】【出】【奇】，【秦】【远】
“【咦】？【这】【小】【子】【看】【上】【去】【有】【些】【面】【熟】【啊】，【似】【乎】【以】【前】【在】【哪】【里】【见】【过】！” “【是】【有】【些】【面】【熟】……【但】【是】【一】【时】【半】【会】【儿】【又】【想】【不】【起】【在】【哪】【见】【过】。” “【会】【不】【会】【记】【错】【了】……” “【哎】【呀】，【我】【想】【起】【来】【了】！【这】【个】【家】【伙】【以】【前】【在】【我】【们】【巨】【人】【族】【待】【过】……【确】【切】【的】【说】，【是】【被】【我】【们】【巨】【人】【族】【抓】【起】【来】【的】，【后】【来】【好】【像】【是】【送】【到】【西】【山】【去】【挖】【石】【头】【了】。” “【对】【对】【对】，【是】【有】【这】【么】
“【等】【等】——！” 【屁】【股】【刚】【刚】【挨】【到】【地】【上】，【宇】【智】【波】【佐】【助】【就】【猛】【地】【喊】【了】【一】【声】。 【有】【什】【么】【事】【情】【不】【对】！ 【虽】【然】【已】【经】【累】【得】【只】【想】【躺】【在】【一】【边】【好】【好】【休】【息】【一】【下】，【将】【一】【切】【都】【交】【给】【小】【樱】【来】【处】【理】，【但】【佐】【助】【还】【是】【下】【意】【识】【地】【思】【考】【了】【一】【些】【事】【情】…… “【你】【是】……”【他】【扶】【着】【旁】【边】【的】【石】【头】【站】【起】【来】，【瞪】【着】【眼】【睛】【望】【着】【高】【处】【的】【少】【女】，“【不】【对】，【你】【不】【是】【小】【樱】！”