Game of Thrones Series 03 Overview


The third season of the fantasy drama television series Game of Thrones premiered in the United States on HBO on 31 March 2013 and concluded on 09 June 2013.

It was broadcast on Sunday at 9:00 pm in the US, consisting of 10 episodes, each running approximately 50-60 minutes.

The season is based roughly on the first half of A Storm of Swords (the third of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R.R. Martin, of which the series is an adaptation). The series is adapted for television by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.

HBO renewed the series for a third season on 10 April 2012, nine days after the second season’s premiere. Production began in July 2012. The show was filmed primarily in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Croatia, Iceland and Morocco.

Game of Thrones features a large ensemble cast, including Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington. The season introduced a number of new cast members, including Diana Rigg, Ciarán Hinds, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Iwan Rheon.

Critics praised the show’s production values and cast. Viewership yet again rose compared to the previous season. It won 2 of the 16 Emmy Awards for which it was nominated; nominations included Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Dinklage), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Clarke) and Outstanding Drama Series. It also won the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Drama Series.


The story takes place in a fictional world, primarily upon a continent called Westeros, with one storyline occurring on another continent to the east, Essos.

Like the novel, the season continues the storyline of The War of the Five Kings: after the death of Renly Baratheon, all four kings in Westeros believe they have a claim to the Iron Throne, besides Robb Stark, who seeks vengeance for the death of his father, Ned Stark, and independence for the North.

The season also features other storylines:

  • Daenerys Targaryen begins her rise in power in Essos;
  • Ned’s illegitimate son, Jon Snow, goes undercover beyond the Wall;
  • The other Stark children struggle to survive up and down Westeros, but Robb is killed;
  • Jaime Lannister returns to the capital; and
  • All of Westeros is informed of the reawakened threat of the Army of the Dead.


  • Main Cast:
    • Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister.
    • Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister.
    • Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen.
    • Kit Harington as Jon Snow.
    • Richard Madden as Robb Stark.
    • Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont.
    • Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark.
    • Aidan Gillen as Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish.
    • Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister.
    • Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth.
    • Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon.
    • Carice van Houten as Melisandre.
    • Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell.
    • John Bradley as Samwell Tarly.
    • Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon.
    • Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark.
    • Oona Chaplin as Talisa Stark.
    • Sibel Kekilli as Shae.
    • Rose Leslie as Ygritte.
    • James Cosmo as Jeor Mormont.
    • Jerome Flynn as Bronn.
    • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister.
    • Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark.
    • Maisie Williams as Arya Stark.
    • Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy.
    • Joe Dempsie as Gendry.
    • Rory McCann as Sandor “The Hound” Clegane.
    • Conleth Hill as Varys.
  • Guest Cast:
    • The recurring actors listed here are those who appeared in season 03.
    • They are listed by the region in which they first appear.
    • At and Beyond the Wall:
      • Peter Vaughan as Maester Aemon.
      • Ben Crompton as Eddison Tollett.
      • Josef Altin as Pypar.
      • Mark Stanley as Grenn.
      • Luke Barnes as Rast.
      • Burn Gorman as Karl Tanner.
      • Will O’Connell as Todder.
      • Ciarán Hinds as Mance Rayder.
      • Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane.
      • Edward Dogliani as the Lord of Bones.
      • Ian Whyte as Dongo.
      • Mackenzie Crook as Orell Skinchanger.
      • Robert Pugh as Craster.
      • Hannah Murray as Gilly.
      • Ross Mullan as White Walkers.
    • In King’s Landing:
      • Julian Glover as Grand Maester Pycelle.
      • Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell.
      • Finn Jones as Loras Tyrell.
      • Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant.
      • Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne.
      • Paul Bentley as the High Septon.
      • Will Tudor as Olyvar.
      • Esmé Bianco as Ros.
      • Josephine Gillan as Marei.
      • Pixie Le Knot as Kayla.
    • On the Iron Islands:
      • Patrick Malahide as Balon Greyjoy.
      • Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy.
    • On Dragonstone:
      • Tara Fitzgerald as Selyse Florent.
      • Kerry Ingram as Shireen Baratheon.
      • Lucian Msamati as Salladhor Saan.
    • In the North:
      • Art Parkinson as Rickon Stark.
      • Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Jojen Reed.
      • Ellie Kendrick as Meera Reed.
      • Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Snow.
      • Charlotte Hope as Myranda.
      • Kristian Nairn as Hodor.
      • Natalia Tena as Osha.
    • In the Riverlands:
      • Tobias Menzies as Edmure Tully.
      • Clive Russell as Brynden Tully.
      • David Bradley as Walder Frey.
      • Tom Brooke as Lame Lothar Frey.
      • Tim Plester as Black Walder Rivers.
      • Michael McElhatton as Roose Bolton.
      • John Stahl as Rickard Karstark.
      • Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth.
      • Dean-Charles Chapman as Martyn Lannister.
      • Timothy Gibbons as Willem Lannister.
      • Noah Taylor as Locke.
      • Jamie Michie as Steelshanks Walton.
      • Richard Dormer as Beric Dondarrion.
      • Paul Kaye as Thoros of Myr.
      • Philip McGinley as Anguy.
      • Anton Lesser as Qyburn.
      • Ben Hawkey as Hot Pie.
    • In Essos:
      • Dan Hildebrand as Kraznys mo Nakloz.
      • Clifford Barry as Greizhen mo Ullhor.
      • George Georgiou as Razdal mo Eraz.
      • Ian McElhinney as Barristan Selmy.
      • Ed Skrein as Daario Naharis.
      • Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei.
      • Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm.
      • Mark Killeen as Mero.
      • Ramon Tikaram as Prendahl na Ghezn.

The musicians Will Champion of Coldplay and Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol made cameo appearances, and Bart the Bear 2 (a.k.a. “Little Bart”) was the bear that fought in the pit at Harrenhal.


Game of Thrones rapidly became a critical and commercial success after it started airing in April 2011. A few days after ratings for the second season’s premiere, “The North Remembers”, hit a series high of 8.3 million viewers, HBO announced the show’s renewal for a third season. Prior to that announcement, there had been rumors and reports that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss planned to shoot seasons three and four simultaneously. Benioff said that this would be very efficient, but impossible to write.

The ten episodes of the third season are longer than the previous seasons’, about 54 or 57 minutes as opposed to about 52. The season’s budget was reported to be around 50 million US dollars.


The third season is based on the first half of the novel A Storm of Swords. Benioff had previously said that A Storm of Swords would need to be adapted in two seasons on account of its length. Benioff and Weiss also noted that they thought of Game of Thrones as an adaptation of the series as a whole, rather than of individual novels, which gave them the liberty to move scenes back and forth across novels according to the requirements of the screen adaptation. According to Benioff, the third season contains a particularly memorable scene from A Storm of Swords, the prospect of filming which was part of their motivation to adapt the novels for television in the first place. The writing credits for the third season now state “Written for television by”, instead of the usual “Written by” credit.

Season 03 saw the first significant use of the Valyrian languages, spoken in doomed Valyria and its former colonies in Essos. The constructed languages were developed by linguist David J. Peterson based on the few words Martin invented for the novels. Peterson had previously developed the Dothraki language, used principally in season 01.


The third season adds previously recurring actors Oona Chaplin (Talisa Maegyr), Joe Dempsie (Gendry) and Rose Leslie (Ygritte) to the series’ main cast.

After an absence of one season David Bradley returns as Walder Frey, Ian McElhinney as Barristan Selmy, Peter Vaughan as Maester Aemon, Josef Altin as Pypar and Luke McEwan as Rast.


David Benioff and D.B. Weiss serve as main writers and showrunners for the third season. They co-wrote seven out of ten episodes. The remaining three episodes were written by Bryan Cogman, Vanessa Taylor, and the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin.

Daniel Minahan, Alex Graves, Michelle MacLaren, and David Nutter each directed two episodes. One further episode was directed by previous series cinematographer, Alik Sakharov, whereas another was co-directed by Benioff and Weiss, both making their directorial debuts, although only Benioff is credited for directing the episode.


The filming of the third season began in early July 2012, and concluded with the wrap of the unit filming in Iceland on 24 November 2012. Filming in Iceland, for scenes in five of the season’s ten episodes, took place near Akureyri and Lake Mývatn. Dimmuborgir was used as the location for Mance Rayder’s wildling army camp, and the Grjótagjá cave was used as establishing shot of Jon Snow and Ygrite in the cave although most of this scene was filmed in the studio. The filming in Iceland lasted eight days, as opposed to nearly a month for season 02. Kit Harington (Jon Snow) broke an ankle in an accident in July, which required the Iceland shoots to be pushed back to give him time to heal, as well as the occasional use of a body double.

The production was again based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and continued to receive support from the Northern Ireland Screen fund. The production used various locations in Northern Ireland to film scenes in the North and the Riverlands. Gosford Castle in Armagh, was used as the base for Rivverun Castle, home of House Tully.

The production also returned to Dubrovnik in Croatia for scenes in King’s Landing. Morocco, a new location, was used to film Daenerys’ scenes in Essos such as the city of Astapor, for which locations in Essaouira were used. A scene involving a live bear was filmed in Los Angeles.


The US indie rock band The Hold Steady recorded “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”, a ribald folk song from Martin’s novels. The recording is played over the end credits of episode three, and the song is sung by Brienne and Jaime’s captors in the same episode. Set to music by series composer Ramin Djawadi, the recording was released on a seven-inch record on Record Store Day, 20 April 2013.

The soundtrack for the season was released digitally on 04 June 2013, and on CD on 02 July 2013.



The day after the third season premiered in the US, it premiered in the United Kingdom on Sky Atlantic, in Australia on Foxtel, and in New Zealand on SoHo.


For the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, the third season received 16 nominations, including for Outstanding Drama Series, Peter Dinklage for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, Emilia Clarke for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Diana Rigg for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series, and David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for the episode “The Rains of Castamere”. That episode also won the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. Game of Thrones won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama for the 29th TCA Awards, and also received a nomination for Programme of the Year. For the 20th Screen Actors Guild Awards, the cast was nominated for Best Drama Ensemble, Peter Dinklage was nominated for Best Drama Actor, and the series won for Best Stunt Team.

Home Media

The third season was released on DVD and Blu-ray in region 1 on 18 February 2014, in region 2 on 17 February 2014 and in region 4 on 19 February 2014.

It was made available for purchase as a digital download on the iTunes store, in Australia only, in parallel to the US premiere. However, on 14 May 2013, Foxtel blocked the Australian iTunes store from making the episodes available soon after they screened in the US. Season 03 was reported to be the most infringed TV show via torrents during spring 2013, estimated to be 5.2 million downloads via BitTorrent.

Game of Thrones Series

You can find an overview of the Game of Thrones franchise here.

You can find a full index of the Game of Thrones TV Series here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Daniel Minahan, David Benioff, Alex Graves, Alik Sakharov, and Michelle McLaren.
  • Writer(s): David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Vanessa Taylor, Bryan Cogman, and George R.R. Martin.
  • Release Date: 31 March 2013 to 09 June 2013.
  • Running time: 50-60 minutes (approximate, per episode).
  • Rating: 15/18 (depends on season).
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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