The game continues.

FILM: Season three starts off with Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) running through the snow and being attacked by a White Walker and by the end of the season the message finally spreads to Westeros.

In between there’s lots of scheming and intrigue as the characters are casting off their illusions about what it will take to seize control of the power vacuum created in season two.

The art direction, costuming and sets remain highly detailed and sumptuous and the main characters are given enough time to flesh out their personalities.

At this point of the series, the creators are still casting more characters than they are killing off, so there are a slew of new faces to get used to. There’s the clever matriarch Olenna Tyrell (Diane Rigg) who accompanies her ambitious granddaughter Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and sword-wielding grandson Loras (Finn Jones) to Kings Landing.

Off in Essos there are also plenty of new characters, but this season is based on the first half of George RR Martin’s book three, A Storm of Swords, so it mostly concentrates on the Lannisters, Starks, Baratheons and a bit of Targaryen across the Narrow Sea.

Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is learning the harsh realities of being a wildling while unbeknownst to him his youngest siblings are desperately trying to get to him on the Wall. The Stark children remain the mainstay of the storyline as events swirl around them, and across the sea Daenerys Targaeryn (Emilia Clarke) is learning more about her dragons and the price she will pay if she wants the throne.

Of course, if you have read the book, you know who is going to be killed off this time around, but it is still a shock when it does happen.

SPECIAL FEATURES: This season contains 10 episodes (though each is longer than those of the previous seasons and the last episode is more than an hour), all with audio commentary from actors, directors and crew like the costume and production designers as well as Martin.

The author also features in the short insert about the new characters who are established in season three. For those who really can’t remember what is going on, a short feature called A Gathering Storm pulls together what happened in season two.

A few deleted and extended scenes are included, as is a feature explaining who the wildlings are and one on the politics of marriage. – Theresa Smith