Our review of Game Of Thrones' greatest Season Three episode yet!
These past few weeks, the production team on Game Of Thrones have clearly been striving to bring us the next true masterpiece of a series renowned for its finest moments. Season Three's fourth episode, And Now His Watch Is Ended, finally accomplishes that feat with aplomb, bringing us fully back into the territory of Blackwater with an almighty bang. If there were any doubters that Thrones remains the hottest prospect for US drama right now, then Monday's episode was the silencer to those doubts.
Firstly, we must hand a shining actorial credit to Conleth Hill, the man who brought us his darkest rendition of Lannister eunuch Varys in the episode's opening. The concept of how Varys 'lost' his possessions had until now been an ongoing humorous running joke, yet the true revelation of this sacrifice was brought home in a dark and bizzarely poignant dialogue exchange between Peter Dinklage's Tyrion and Hill's 'Spider' character, whose web of deceit was shown as infiltrating even the very underground of King's Landing. Given the hilarious chemistry on offer between Hill and Diana Rigg's charismatic Aunt character, there's plenty more potential for Varys to shine in the days ahead.
Emilia Jones also came into her own more than ever before as Danaerys, a woman whose pivotal journey across the three seasons of Thrones reached its most breathtaking setpiece yet, as the Mother Of Dragons allowed her children to gorge upon an entire kingdom of slavers and corrupted leaders. The SFX of this sequence were handled masterfully, and Jones owned the stage as Danaerys turned the tables on those who had been mocking her seemingly behind her back for the past fortnight of slave encounters. Make no mistake, the future developments of this character arc should prove amongst the most enticing in the remaining six episodes of this run.
In all honesty, And Now His Watch Is Ended is so filled with breathtaking moments of televisual dramatic gold that it's easy to lose count. Brann's hallucination of his spiteful mother, Jaime's suicidal contemplations in the forests with Brienne, the battle between the Hound and his judgmental adversary and the Knight's Watch commencing a civil war with Craster after his torments of his wives and his starving their company- all of these sequences were brought to life from the novel A Storm Of Swords Part 1 beautifully by director Alex Graves. No longer did it feel as if any major imbalance between the various character arcs existed, a true testament to the creative impact of the editing and scripting presented here in this brilliant piece of drama.
If there's any real summary of just how much of a staggering legacy a masterpiece such as this can leave, it's the haunting final moments as Danaerys' army prepares to rage war on the rest of the East and indeed Westeros. We as viewers now have the worrying, yet exhilarating lingering sense that nothing can ever truly be the same in the realms of Westeros and beyond from this point onwards, and there have only been a few rare instances in the show's successful history where this reviewer could accurately make such a claim. Game Of Thrones: And Now His Watch Is Ended doesn't just mark the best episode of Season Three so far by a long margin- in equal measure it defines for us, the viewers, just what we should come to expect from the show from now on. No longer need we compare each successive episode to Season Two's highlight Blackwater, for now we have a far more recent and thus impactful masterpiece on which a benchmark can be so clearly set and striven towards...so good luck to the other writers on the team, eh?