First news update on the Season 3 Blu-ray box set: http://winteriscoming.net/2013/11/season-3-box-set-details-and-bonus-feature-clip/
No specific word on the "Histories and Lore" featurettes, aka the "Complete Guide to Westeros", which will be included. But each of the past two season box sets came with a full hour of those.
The report also said there will be five major deleted scenes included. One of these is that Pycelle and Tywin scene. Interesting news I heard in a recent interview with Julian Glover is that he said the producers like that scene so much that they're mulling the idea of actually editing it back into a Season 4 episode (consider that it's two skilled, veteran British actors giving a really great performance). Yeah there's a bit with Tywin about "should I reinstate you to the Small Council?" (apparently this was before he was formally reinstated, after being sent to the Black Cells by Tyrion), but it's mentioned vaguely enough that they can just put that slant on it that "Tywin is on a general level mulling if reinstating Pycelle to his full confidence was a good idea).
Regardless, what "Histories & Lore" featurettes do you think can and/or will be be in the Season 3 box set?
The big question isn't just who do you *want* to have a featurette (I want one for everything!) but what is *most likely*. Consider how season two's "History and Lore" entries generally expanded upon things that were new in season 2, i.e. House Tyrell.
So the question is...what's new in Season 3 that bears particularly explanation from the backstory? They tend to focus on characters who are either outright new, or who rose to prominence in the current season after being in the background.
Another question is who would voice them? Not every actor is able to appear in these things, and I think they'd be weighted towards actors who have voiced them before (i.e. Robb, Bran, and Catelyn have appeared in past ones). I don't think lacking a voice would result in abandoning an entire featurette - i.e. if they can't get Sean Bean to voice the House Stark one so they used Robb intead of Ned.
Who they can and should have:
- House Tully
- House Frey
- House Bolton
- "History of the North" in general, loosely serving as a "House Karstark" while also explaining the Bolton rebellions.
- Slaver's Bay
- The Unsullied
- House Reed and the Crannogmen
- Warging and Greensight (explained by Jojen Reed and/or Orell)
- The Brotherhood Without Banners
- The Second Sons, and Mercenary Companies in Essos
- Ser Barristan Selmy - his forty year career as a Kingsguard, from the War of the Ninepenny Kings to his view of Robert's Rebellion, the Battle of the Trident - and what his path was between when he stormed out of Joffrey's throneroom and when he arrived before Daenerys in Essos.
- Possibly a second video on the Targaryen dynasty by Barristan, though this might be split between just a few lines in Barristan's original video, and some lines about Jahaerys I and Alysanne in the Night's Watch videos.
- Guest right and the Rat Cook - possibly narrated by James Cosmo (Jeor Mormont)
- Castles of the Wall, and the Gift - Cosmo explains in greater detail how only 3 out of 19 castles along the Wall are currently manned, and how the Nightfort came to be abandoned during the reign of Jaehaerys I. How the Gift was created, and how Jaehaerys I doubled it.
Would be nice:
- House Florent - narrated by Tara FitzGerald (Selyse Baratheon). Explaining why the Florents hate the Tyrells, and their own disdaining view of them. Possibly also explaining Selyse's marriage with Stannis, and Shireen's backstory (they actually never clearly explained what "Greyscale" is, in on-screen dialogue (they might possibly do this from the Tyrell side but already covered them so thoroughly in Season 2's featurettes I don't see how).
- The wildling clans - explaining in greater detail that there are actually different tribes of wildlings, and the difference between Thenns and the cannibalistic ice-river clans. And the "marriage practices" of the wildlings.
- Possibly a short video on how the Small Council offices work
- Possibly a video on Grand Maester Pycelle, explaining his past, his actions in Robert's Rebellion, and setting up that the Conclave once threw an unethical maester named Qyburn out of their order.
- Possibly House Mormont - just because we're not really going to see James Cosmo again, I'd like him to narrate this. Possible drawback is that they don't know how many of Maege Mormont's daughters they can introduce into the TV continuity just yet.
- Possibly House Tarth - not much to say, really, other than how Brienne's older brothers died and her father Selwyn is still around. More of a "Brienne of Tarth" feature than particular history OF Tarth the island. But House Tarth was mentioned this season more than in Season 2, and more than it probably will in Season 4.
Explanations for my list
- House Tully - They've been mentioned before, in the earlier "Harrenhal" featurette, etc., but never a primary focus as was done for the Starks in Season 1 or Tyrells in Season 2. Now we need the backstory on who this "Hoster" guy was (who died offscreen), who married Minisa Whent, gave him three children before he died (Catelyn, Lysa, and new guy Edmure); and explain how he was always fighting with his brother Brynden Tully, and how he got named the "Blackfish" of the Tully school.
- House Frey - how the Freys are white trash that only started up six hundred years ago when they made a glorified toll bridge at the Twins, pervasively break their vows to their overlords by never sending soldiers to help in any conflict, epitomized when Hoster nicknamed Walder "the Late Walder Frey" after he only brought troops *after* the climactic Battle of the Trident was already over!
- House Bolton - How the Boltons were actually longtime rivals with the Starks for supremacy over the North, back when every lordship was a small kingdom, how they flay their enemies and prisoners. Roose's backstory at the Trident, and *possibly* how Roose made Ramsay by raping a miller's wife.
- Possibly a second entry on the "history of the North in general", explaining who House Karstark are and how they were created after a failed rebellion (probably of the Boltons). This might also be used to explain who the various Kings-Beyond-the-Wall were that Jon Snow mentioned in passing (notice that Jon mentioned that six or so Kings-Beyond-the-Wall have led invasions into the North in the past thousand years, yet we only know of the most recent one in the books). Possibly a good way to get Richard Madden (Robb) to appear one last time).
- Slaver's Bay - at least one, possibly more. Given that Qarth had one on both "Qarth" and the "Unsullied", I think we might get as many as three - Slaver's Bay is far more important than Qarth in the storyline. I'm hoping for at least one generic one on "Slaver's Bay", and another on the Unsullied specifically. The Slaver's Bay one would expand on Viserys's earlier brief explanation of the Ghiscari Empire in the Season 1 Complete Guide to Westeros - i.e. explaining that they're sort of the eastern version of the Free Cities, former Valyrian conquests that reemerged after the Doom.
- They might just get Jorah Mormont to explain these again, and he's good, but I think it would be more appropriate for Missandei to narrate them, if she's available. I think it would be more fun - but very unlikely - if they got Grey Worm's actor (Jacob Anderson) to make a voiceover for the Unsullied featurette...delivered in Low Valyrian, subtitled.
- House Reed and the Crannogmen
- An in-depth featurette on the religion of R'hllor, the Lord of Light. Possibly involving Melisandre, Thoros, and/or Selyse Baratheon (as actor availability allows).
- The Brotherhood Without Banners - background on the off-screen events of the Battle at the Mummer's Ford, with actual artwork depicting everything and how Thoros brought back Beric. This featurette would be useful for retroactively explaining that many of the Brotherhood were present in King's Landing for the Tourney of the Hand (Beric, Thoros, Anguy), and that many of them are the last surviving remnants of Ned's old Northmen bodyguards (ironically, some of the few surviving Stark soldiers anywhere after the Red Wedding).
- The Second Sons - good setup for explaining how Mercenary companies work in Essos, as basically small private armies for hire (might even namedrop the Golden Company, to tie in with Barristan's explanation of the War of the Ninepenny Kings?). Mercenary companies are a big part of how warfare works in Essos and very important to Daenerys's storyline.
- Ser Barristan Selmy - a long explanation of his life and career, starting with explaining how he met Brynden Tully during the War of the Ninepenny Kings and that's when both of them first made a name for themselves. Continuing on through his own perspective on Robert's Rebellion and how he fought beside Rhaegar at the Battle of the Trident. How he served as a Kingsguard for forty years, and why he chose to continue to serve the last Targaryen instead of going to Stannis or Renly. I hope this could also serve as a retcon to explain that, as in the books, he actually hid around in the capital for a while and was in the crowd when Ned Stark was executed, horrified.
- Might also give Ser Barristan (if they can get the actor to do this at all) a second video briefly explaining other facts about the Kingsguard and the Targaryen dynasty that were mentioned on-screen in Season 3. I.e. he could mention "I was Lord Commander - one Lord Commander, Criston Cole, even crowned a king when he supported Aegon II ahead of his sister Rhaenyra, the rightful heir, and sparked off the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons". That might just be one line though. I don't know if they'd have Barristan do an entire separate video on "the Targaryens" or just explain Cole/Aegon II/Rhaenyra. The only other big reference is to Jaehaerys I and closing the Nightfort....
- They already did a good job of explaining the Rat Cook on-screen in Season 3, but we might need another featurette devoted specifically to that and the Nightfort in general (revisiting it from the Season 2 extras), just to hammer home the point that breaking Guest right is an unspeakable crime in Westeros.
- My hope is that they can have James Cosmo (Lord Commander Jeor Mormont) reappear to do this - he was great in the Season 1 featurettes, and with his character's death this may be the last we see of him - and his death sort of did revolve around his refusal to break guest right (even for trash like Craster).
- If they do get Cosmo back, I also hope for a second video about the specific castles on the Wall in general. This was the first season that they actually start listing off other castles on the Wall by name, and made a big point about it when Tormund asked Jon (the Season 1 featurettes did name them, but they've been putting more effort into these featurettes and we might get full color artwork of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea now). Again, if they have a featurette on "Castles of the Wall, and the Gift", after mentioning "we've only got Castle Black, Eastwatch, and the Shadow Tower now", it could go on to explain "we used to be headquartered at the Nightfort, but then King Jaehaerys I visited the Wall. He was a great king and greatly supported the Watch but convinced us that our dwindling numbers couldn't man the Nightfort anymore so we abandoned it." --- this in turn would allow Cosmo/Jeor to explain what "The Gift" is. Again the TV show did manage to provide a good succinct explanation, but *a lot* of the action later in the season takes place in the Gift itself, so it would be logical to have an extra video directly explaining "Bran the Builder made the Gift thousands of years ago, and about 200 years ago Jaehaerys I and Alysanne expanded it."
More videos which "would be nice" but I'm not sure if they'll do:
- Possibly yet another wildling featurette to explain that there are actually different kinds of wildlings, which Mance briefly name-dropped when he explained how diverse his army is. Also I'd like Ygritte to chime in at some point to explain that technically, given that Jon chased her down and later had sex with her, that's all it takes to be "legally" married among the wildlings and technically she's Jon's wife now.
- I'd...*enjoy* a small featurette on the Small Council, given the reshuffling this year between Tyrion as Master of Coin and Baelish leaving. Give better backstory on the whole thing. but that might wait for next year. Part of me wants Selyse to narrate a House Florent featurette but I know we're not getting that.
- This might dovetail with how to get Olenna or Margaery in again (based on actor availability) - if they can't get Selyse Baratheon (nee Selyse Florent) to do a "House Florent", then at least have Olenna explaining more about the Tyrells and mention why the Florents hate them. Practically, though, they already did a LOT on House Tyrell last time. And it fits with the whole "biased historical record" thing - have Selyse doing Florent this time, pointing out that Mace *didn't* win Ashford (as Margaery said last time), his *bannerman* won before he got there personally.
- I sort of also think we need a specific one on "House Baratheon of Dragonstone" but this wouldn't be considered a full House, more of a specific character piece to explain "who the heck is Shireen and what's wrong with her face?" -- consider that they don't even state the name "Greyscale" on-screen or what it is exactly. So I think we really need a Selyse featurette to explain "why the Florents hate the Tyrells and support Stannis" and "what's up with Shireen".
- ...would this season be a good a one as any for a "House Tarth" featurette? It's the only time Selwyn has been mentioned in the TV series. And what about House Mormont? Given that Jeor is leaving it would be nice to have the actor back again once last time (he narrated Season 1 featurettes as well).
- Might, might want to have Grand Maester Pycelle do one, because we need to A – retroactively establish that he betrayed the Mad King when Tywin was at the gates, and B – might be a good way to explain who Qyburn is, i.e. “I do what needs to be done for the greater good, yet even I have standards. Some years ago a warped and inethical maester named Qyburn dissected living men to gain knowledge, so I presided over his explusion from the order” – couple this with a prerequisite featurette in which *Jaime* explains what happened during the Sack of King’s Landing from his perspective.