Season 3 of Game of Thrones was commissioned on April 10, 2012, following a major increase in audience figures between the first two seasons. It consists of ten episodes and began filming on July 10, 2012.. It concluded filming on November 24, 2012. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss returned as executive producers and show runners.
The season premiered on March 31, 2013.
Season 3 spans several months on a world where the seasons can last for years at a time. Autumn has fallen across the world, with winter not far behind. The people should be preparing for years of snow and ice, but the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros instead remain gripped by civil war. Would-be king Renly Baratheon has been assassinated, altering the alliances in the war. The cruel boy-king Joffrey Baratheon has won a great victory by securing an alliance with House Tyrell, with his supporters defeating his uncle Stannis in an epic battle. Joffrey now commands the largest armies in the realm and his triumph appears inevitable.
King Robb Stark remains in the field, however his homeland, the North, is partially under ironborn occupation. Robb needs to decide on a course of action to win an overall victory. He must also win back the allegiance of House Frey, whom he has offended by breaking his marriage pact with them. King Robb has won every battle he has fought, but as with old King Robert, the Starks will have to see if good soldiers make good kings.
Stannis Baratheon may be defeated and most of his army destroyed or scattered, but he is not out of the fight yet. Having retreated to his headquarters on Dragonstone island with his handful of surviving soldiers, Stannis' status as the last legitimate heir to his older brother Robert still casts a shadow over Joffrey's claim to the throne. With the priestess Melisandre at his side, Stannis can still influence the course of the war by striking where least expected.
The lives of many others still hang in the balance. Bran Stark and his protectors must cross the frozen wastelands of the North to reach the Wall, while Arya must brave the war-torn Riverlands in search of her mother and brother. Brienne of Tarth also has the thankless task of escorting the captive Jaime Lannister home across hundreds of miles of battlefields and carnage. Theon Greyjoy must face the consequences of his actions at Winterfell. And in King's Landing both Tyrion Lannister and Sansa Stark must brave the currents of a much more dangerous court in order to survive.
On the eastern continent, Daenerys Targaryen has fled the political viper-pit of Qarth. Her dragons are growing and her fame is spreading, but to take the Iron Throne she will need supporters and an army. Both may be found in the corrupt cities of Slaver's Bay... for a price.
Beyond the Wall, the White Walkers are on the move, threatening both the Seven Kingdoms and the lands of the Free Folk. While the Night's Watch faces the threat of the White Walkers in the field, Jon Snow must infiltrate the wildling army of Mance Rayder and discover the King-Beyond-the-Wall's plans.
The series again filmed primarily in Northern Ireland, and also returned to Iceland and Croatia. The production also added Morocco to the locations roster.The production expanded to three production units, adding a new "Raven" unit to the existing "Dragon" and "Wolf" units.
Production in Croatia continued to use the walled medieval city of Dubrovnik to film external scenes for King's Landing, and Iceland was again used to film scenes set in the frozen lands that Jon Snow and the Night's Watch encounter Beyond the Wall. Production in the new location of Morocco filmed Daenerys Targaryen's new storyline in Slaver's Bay as well as some King's Landing exterior shots.
The scene from the episode "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" during which Brienne of Tarth is thrown into a bear pit at Harrenhal involved a real trained stunt bear, Bart the Bear. Due to are various legal restrictions on international transport of large animals such as bears, parts of this scene were technically filmed in Los Angeles in the United States. A duplicate of the bear pit set was created in a Los Angeles studio parking lot: only Gwendoline Christie (Brienne) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime) were brought in to film, with no extras. Both actually did film with the bear in the set.
Filming in Season 1 included locations in Northern Ireland and Malta, but filming did not return to Malta in subsequent seasons. The Targaryen storyline in Pentos was filmed in the Maltese presidential palace (as well as a few other scenes for King's Landing). Maltese officials were reportedly annoyed that a nude scene was filmed in the palace (Daenerys's bath in the first episode), which may have influenced why production did not return to that country.
Season 2 expanded to film in Croatia and Iceland, and filming continued in those two countries through Season 3 and Season 4. In Season 3 production expanded to Morocco, but did not return to Morocco for Season 4.
The result is that the production on Season 3 was a monumental, international effort involving units and cast members which were filming simultaneously in four separate countries. The series has filmed in five countries overall, but filming in Malta ended before production expanded to the other three countries. This number increases to six if one counts the footage of the actor-bear used in Season 3. Because filming did not return to Morocco in Season 4, this makes Season 3 the most widespread international filming project that the TV series has engaged in to date.
- Main article: Season 3 cast
- Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister (9 episodes)
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister (7 episodes)
- Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister (8 episodes)
- Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen (8 episodes)
- Kit Harington as Jon Snow (8 episodes)
- Richard Madden as Robb Stark (7 episodes)
- Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont (8 episodes)
- Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark (8 episodes)
- Aidan Gillen as Petyr Baelish (4 episodes)
- Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister (8 episodes)
- Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth (4 episodes)
- Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon (5 episodes)
- Carice van Houten as Melisandre (6 episodes)
- Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell (6 episodes)
- Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark (6 episodes)
- Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark (8 episodes)
- Maisie Williams as Arya Stark (9 episodes)
- Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy (6 episodes)
- John Bradley as Samwell Tarly (8 episodes)
- Oona Chaplin as Talisa Stark (6 episodes)
- Joe Dempsie as Gendry (8 episodes)
- Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon (7 episodes)
- Rose Leslie as Ygritte (8 episodes)
- James Cosmo as Jeor Mormont (4 episodes)
- Jerome Flynn as Bronn (4 episodes)
- Conleth Hill as Varys (5 episodes)
- Sibel Kekilli as Shae (6 episodes)
- Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane (8 episodes)
Selected guest starring cast
- Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei (8 episodes)
- Ian McElhinney as Barristan Selmy (8 episodes)
- Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth (7 episodes)
- Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane (7 episodes)
- Michael McElhatton as Roose Bolton (7 episodes)
- Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Jojen Reed (6 episodes)
- Mackenzie Crook as Orell (6 episodes)
- Paul Kaye as Thoros of Myr (6 episodes)
- Philip McGinley as Anguy (6 episodes)
- Hannah Murray as Gilly (6 episodes)
- Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Snow (6 episodes)
- Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm (5 episodes)
- Finn Jones as Loras Tyrell (5 episodes)
- Ellie Kendrick as Meera Reed (5 episodes)
- Tobias Menzies as Edmure Tully (5 episodes)
- Kristian Nairn as Hodor (5 episodes)
- Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne (5 episodes)
- Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell (5 episodes)
- Clive Russell as Brynden Tully (5 episodes)
- Noah Taylor as Locke (5 episodes)
- Esmé Bianco as Ros (4 episodes)
- Ben Crompton as Eddison Tollett (4 episodes)
- Richard Dormer as Beric Dondarrion (4 episodes)
- Anton Lesser as Qyburn (4 episodes)
- Luke Barnes as Rast (4 episodes)
- Art Parkinson as Rickon Stark (4 episodes)
- Mark Stanley as Grenn (4 episodes)
- Natalia Tena as Osha (4 episodes)
- Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant (3 episodes)
- Julian Glover as Pycelle (3 episodes)
- Dan Hildebrand as Kraznys mo Nakloz (3 episodes)
- Ciarán Hinds as Mance Rayder (3 episodes)
- Ed Skrein as Daario Naharis (3 episodes)
- John Stahl as Rickard Karstark (3 episodes)
- David Bradley as Walder Frey (2 episodes)
- Ben Hawkey as Hot Pie (2 episodes)
- Kerry Ingram as Shireen Baratheon (2 episodes)
- Robert Pugh as Craster (2 episodes)
- Josef Altin as Pypar ("Mhysa")
- Tara Fitzgerald as Selyse Baratheon ("Kissed by Fire")
- Patrick Malahide as Balon Greyjoy ("Mhysa")
- Lucian Msamati as Salladhor Saan ("Valar Dohaeris")
- Peter Vaughan as Maester Aemon ("Mhysa")
- Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy ("Mhysa")
- David Benioff: executive producer & showrunner
- D.B. Weiss: executive producer & showrunner
- Carolyn Strauss: executive producer
- Frank Doelger: executive producer
- Bernadette Caulfield: executive producer
- Guymon Casady: co-executive producer
- George R.R. Martin: co-executive producer
- Vince Gerardis: co-executive producer
- Vanessa Taylor: co-executive producer
- Chris Newman: producer
- Greg Spence: producer
- Michele Clapton: costume designer
- Gemma Jackson: production designer
- Ramin Djawadi: composer
- Nina Gold: casting director
- Robert Sterne: casting director
- David Benioff & D.B. Weiss: episode 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10
- Vanessa Taylor: episode 2
- Bryan Cogman: episode 5
- George R.R. Martin: episode 7
- Daniel Minahan: episodes 1 and 2
- David Benioff: episode 3
- Alex Graves: episodes 4 and 5
- Alik Sakharov: episode 6
- Michelle MacLaren: episodes 7 and 8
- David Nutter: episodes 9 and 10
|21||"Valar Dohaeris"||March 31, 2013||4.37|
|Jon is tested by the wildling king; Tyrion asks for his reward; Daenerys sails into Slaver's Bay.|
|22||"Dark Wings, Dark Words"||April 7, 2013||4.27|
|Arya runs into the Brotherhood Without Banners; Jaime finds a way to pass the time.|
|23||"Walk of Punishment"||April 14, 2013||4.72|
|Dany hears the price; Jaime strikes a deal with his captors.|
|24||"And Now His Watch Is Ended"||April 21, 2013||4.87|
|The Night's Watch takes stock; Dany exchanges a chain for a whip.|
|25||"Kissed by Fire"||April 28, 2013||5.35|
|The Hound is judged; Jon proves himself; Robb is betrayed.|
|26||"The Climb"||May 5, 2013||5.50|
|Four Houses consider make-or-break alliances; Jon and the wildlings face a daunting climb.|
|27||"The Bear and the Maiden Fair"||May 12, 2013||4.84|
|Dany exchanges gifts in Yunkai; Brienne faces a formidable foe in Harrenhal.|
|28||"Second Sons"||May 19, 2013||5.13|
|Dany meets the Titan's Bastard; King's Landing hosts a royal wedding.|
|29||"The Rains of Castamere"||June 2, 2013||5.22|
|House Frey joins forces with House Tully; Jon faces his most difficult test yet.|
|30||"Mhysa"||June 9, 2013||5.39|
|Joffrey challenges Tywin; Dany waits to see if she is a conqueror or a liberator.|
Comparison with the novels
The season generally follows the third novel "A Storm of Swords", and also consists of scenes based on the second, the fourth and the fifth novels. For a full list of differences between the season and the novels, see Differences between books and TV series - Season 3.
Season 3 of Game of Thrones was released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the United States on February 17th, 2014. The set includes all ten episodes of the season and a number of extra features.
HBO announced the release date for the media release considerably earlier than normal, offering fans a chance to vote for alternate packaging designs on their Facebook page. In addition to the standard edition, fans could choose between a repeat of the alternate packaging from Season 1, featuring the sigils of Houses Stark, Lannister and Targaryen; character-based images, featuring Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen; or a new set of house sigils, featuring House Baratheon (as led by King Stannis), House Tully or House Tyrell.
HBO have released a range of promotional images and posters to market the third season.
The episode "The Rains of Castamere" won the 2014 Hugo Award for "Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form". The Season 2 episode "Blackwater" won the same award the year before. Season 1 was nominated differently: instead of selecting a single episode for "Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form", all of "Season 1" was nominated in the separate category "Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form", and it won the award. Afterwards it was decided to shift to nominating an individual episode from each season in the "Short Form" category. Therefore the win by "The Rains of Castamere" makes this the third year in a row that Game of Thrones has won the top award it was nominated in at the Hugo Awards.
- Tower of the Hand ratings feature, April 3, 2012
- "Filming on Season Three Begins Today", Winter is Coming.net, 10 July 2012
- Winter is Coming
- Inside TV (10 April 2012). Game of Thrones renewed for Season 3. Entertainment Weekly.
- Winter (July 2012). Season Three to Premiere on March 31 2013. Winter is Coming.net.
- Northern Ireland Screen article about season 3
- "Cinematographer Eyes Irish Project", North Shore News
- Winter is Coming
- WinterIsComing.net, January 28th, 2013.
- Template:Cite web
- Winter is Coming
- HBO's Facebook page
- Winter is Coming
- Game of Thrones Wins Hugo Award.