You may think you know how brutal HBO’s beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy Game of Thrones can get, but to paraphrase Wildling temptress Ygritte: “You know nothing about season 3.” Based on roughly the first half of the third novel in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Storm of Swords, this season continues the epic story of rival families vying for power in a fantasy kingdom where winter and summer last for years. It includes some of the most rousing moments of triumph in the saga’s five-book (so far) histroy — as well as its most bloody casualties. ...“Emotionally, this season really goes for the jugular,” Thrones executive story editor Bryan Cogman tells Entertainment Weekly in this week’s issue. “In some cases, quite literally.”...Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss are reluctant to raise expectations any higher, but are optimistic...One particular “Scene Which Shall Not Be Named,” as Benioff called it, left the Thrones team devastated. “I’ve never seen the crew so emotional,” Benioff says. “If the scene has that effect on the people making it who know what’s coming, if they’re that overpowered, I think it’s going to have an overwhelming effect on people watching it.” (cont.)
This season, the Lannister family backstabbing is ratcheted to a new level now that Lord Tywin (Charles Dance) has returned to King’s Landing. Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) struggles to purchase a merciless eunuch army. Kingslayer Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) attempts to escape the confinement of his noble escort Brienne (Gwendoline Christie). Jon Snow (Kit Harington) infiltrates the rival Wildling camp led by Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds), while the mesmerizing Ygritte (Rose Leslie) tries to melt Jon Snow’s heart.
SOURCE: Read More This Week's Cover: 'Game of Thrones' wildest season yet!
17 DAYS OF THRONES
17. ‘Game of Thrones’ producers Q&A: Why season 3 is the most epic yet
16. Lena Headey on Cersei’s season 3 fears
15. How Kit Harington conquered his injury to keep Jon Snow fighting
14: Gwendoline Christie on being ‘too pretty’ to play Brienne
13. John Bradley defends fantasy fans
12. HBO: ‘Thrones’ piracy is ‘a compliment’
11. ‘Game of Thrones’ producers on casting Mance Rayder, Lady Olenna
10. Sophie Turner on fans bashing Sansa
9. Jack Gleeson on Joffrey’s season 3 romance
8. Maisie Williams talks Arya’s season 3 adventures
7. Peter Dinklage on Tyrion’s season 3 survival
6. Richard Madden teases Robb Stark’s season 3
5. Emilia Clarke says Dany gets fast-paced season 3
4. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau talks Jaime’s season 3 struggle
3. Rose Leslie: You know nothing about Ygritte’s catchphrase
2. ‘Game of Thrones’ producers on season 3 dragons: They’re not cute anymore
1. EW Cover: ‘Game of Thrones’ wildest season yet! Jon + Dany, an ice and fire pairing
As Blackwater Bay cools, the victors consolidate their power and rebuild King’s Landing. But new challengers for the Iron Throne rise from the most unexpected places. Characters old and new must navigate the demands of family, honor, ambition, love and – above all – survival, as the Westeros civil war rages into autumn.
Based on the bestselling fantasy book series by George R.R. Martin, GAME OF THRONES is an epic story of treachery and nobility set on the continent of Westeros, where summers and winters can last years, and only the lust for power is eternal. The Emmy®- and Golden Globe-winning series returns for its ten-episode third season SUNDAY, MARCH 31 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, followed by other episodes on subsequent Sundays at the same time.
As season three begins, the Lannisters hold absolute dominion over King’s Landing after repelling Stannis Baratheon’s forces. Yet Robb Stark, King in the North, still controls much of the South as well, and has yet to lose a battle. In the Far North, Mance Rayder has united the wildlings into the largest army Westeros has ever seen. Only the Night’s Watch stands between him and the Seven Kingdoms, but nobody knows what happened to its Lord Commander and the force he led beyond the Wall.
Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen – reunited with her three growing dragons – ventures into Slaver’s Bay in search of ships to take her home and allies to conquer it.
Returning series regulars on GAME OF THRONES this season include: Emmy® and Golden Globe winner Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Aidan Gillen (Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish), Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Richard Madden (Robb Stark), Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) and Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon).
Additional returning series regulars this season include: Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), Jerome Flynn (Bronn), Rory McCann (Sandor “The Hound” Clegane), Conleth Hill (Varys), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), James Cosmo (Commander Jeor Mormont), Stephen Dillane (Stannis Baratheon), Carice van Houten (Melisandre), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), Sibel Kekilli (Shae), Rose Leslie (Ygritte) and Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell).
Returning recurring cast members on GAME OF THRONES this season include: Natalia Tena (Osha), Joe Dempsie (Gendry), Oona Chaplin (Talisa Maegyr Stark), Julian Glover (Maester Pycelle), Kristian Nairn (Hodor), Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell), Esmé Bianco (Ros), Gemma Whelen (Yara Greyjoy), Hannah Murray (Gilly) and Art Parkinson (Rickon Stark).
New cast members for the third season include: Ciarán Hinds (Mance Rayder), Diana Rigg (Lady Olenna Tyrell), Mackenzie Crook (Orell), Clive Russell (Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully), Nathalie Emannuel (Missandei), Kerry Ingram (Shireen Baratheon), Paul Kaye (Thoros of Myr), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Jojen Reed), Ellie Kendrick (Meera Reed), Richard Dormer (Beric Dondarrion), Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane), Philip McGinley (Anguy), Tara Fitzgerald (Selyse Baratheon), Tobias Menzies (Edmure Tully), Anton Lesser (Qyburn), Ian McElhinney (Barristan Selmy), Michael McElhatton (Roose Bolton) and Noah Taylor (Locke).
Episode #21: “Valar Dohaeris”
Debut: SUNDAY, MARCH 31 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Jon is brought before Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, while the Night’s Watch survivors retreat south. In King’s Landing, Tyrion asks for his reward. Littlefinger offers Sansa a way out. Cersei hosts a dinner for the royal family. Daenerys sails into Slaver’s Bay.
Written for television by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss; directed by Daniel Minahan.