Before I jump into it I've just looked at the ratings for this week's episode and I'm so excited to see GOT getting some Nielsen love from the world showing that risks can truly be taken in this business and especially with regards to something so high concept trusting the audience to keep up. This series is looking to be the next True Blood in terms of ratings jumps.
Arya is learning to shoot from Anguy the Archer when a band of Stannis's guard escorting Melisandre arrive at their camp. This was not in the book but it was great to see the contrast of the devout Melisandre and the previously atheistic Thoros who hadn't believed in years until Beric had been resurrected in front of him. That monologue was delivered quite well. Melisandre takes Gendry for two sacks of gold the Brotherhood needs and Arya calls them out for selling out Gendry who wanted to simply be one of them. Thoros and Beric are blunt about it but still thieves and bandits nonetheless. To fellow book readers I guess they're completely writing out Edric Storm as the blood relative Stannis is going to execute and removing the ambiguity of Gendry knowing whether or not he's Robert's son or not which the books never fully elaborated on or not. It was also nice to see two storylines converge and it was actually good that they can still surprise me and cross over the two stories of Dragonstone and the Riverlands, and Melisandre hasn't been seen in a few episodes anyway. I also really liked the added scene of Arya telling Melisandre that she's a witch and Melisandre simply looking into her eyes telling Arya that she will kill but that they will see each other again in the future.
Robb is visited by two Frey envoys and bring word that Walder Frey says that he will forgive Robb's betrayal is Edmure Tully, Catelyn's brother from the season opener, the Lord of Riverrun marries and seals his hand to one of Frey's daughters of Walder's choice and Robb publicly apologizes for his slight of Lord Walder. Edmure is upset at this and Robb plays the card of him having taking the stone mill town that allowed the Mountain to escape as well as capturing the two Lannister boys that were later killed by Karstark and resulted in him losing almost half of his army (although that last bit was Robb's own choice, just saying). Edmure agrees after being chastised by Blackfish, Catelyn, and Robb and the Frey envoys are told that they will oblige but that the wedding must take place in about ten days' time with Walder's health being as bad as it is and the alliance needed to be sealed in ceremony before trusting Robb again obviously.
At Harrenhal Brienne, Lord Bolton, and Jaime dine in Bolton's chambers. Jaime is still upset about the whole hand thing (rightfully so) and Brienne has to cut his food for him. Bolton insists that Jaime will be set free for a price to his father and he will tell Tywin that Bolton himself had nothing to do with the incident. Jaime is right to peg Bolton as a practical man, Bolton however is suspicious (not just the not drinking with Jaime and Brienne, who had to wear a spiffy dress) but because he's already betting against Robb Stark in his planning and he may be up to no good. But the news that Brienne will be kept as a prisoner essentially is worrisome news since she was almost raped without Jaime saying anything last time and while surely she can take care of herself I don't want her left there to be charged with treason for betraying King Robb. Bolton's observation that anyone but Catelyn would've been executed by Robb rings with a whole slew of truth regarding the importance of family even if they betray you in this series.
Rickon finally got a line, woo-hoo! Osha and Meera quibble over who is a better hunter when they both compare their rabbit-skinning skills and almost get into a fight. Jojen has one of his dreams and Meera has to have him bite down on a belt while Bran looks on startled. This was the second most brief scene of the episode and I would surely have liked to see more or the dreams effects on Jojen and how Bran deals with his visions more thoroughly than just a three minutes snippit.
Oh and also Theon was tortured some more, not like I care or feel any need to write about it.
Oleanna Tyrell has an audience with Tywin regarding Loras's betrothal to Cersei instead of Sansa and the issue of Cersei's age and Loras's homosexuality which Oleanna wholly admits too. But when she plays the incest card that Stannis used for claiming of Joffrey's illegitimacy to the throne, Tywin calls it nothing but a profane rumor. Tywin threatens to have Loras brought into the Kingsguard where he will get no inheritance since they can claim no titles nor land if Oleanna doesn't agree to the marriage, and she ultimately succumbs to his insistence.
Sansa and Loras begin to try to get to know each other. Loras's words will soon be very prophetic "this is the worst place in the world" as Sansa learned dearly this week.
Tyrion and Cersei whine about their betrothals to Loras and Sansa and the unfairness of it all. Tyrion takes the opportunity to once again bring up Ser Mandon's failed attempt on his life at the Battle of the Blackwater, but Cersei's reaction makes him suspect Joffrey gave the order not Cersei. Cersei is right in saying that Tywin is who he ought to fear now that he's Hand of the King. Tyrion decides to bite the bullet and tell Sansa the truth and in front of Shae (awkward) tells her the truth that she will marry him, not Loras. Having to tell this to the daughter of the "enemy" whom you pity and the woman that you love must be extremely difficult on his part for that and it was quite profoundly sad seeing Sansa watch Littlefinger's ship departing from the Blackwater Bay while she silently cries for having not gone when she had the chance.
In my favorite part of the episode Varys and Baelish find one another in the Throne Room. Baelish informs Varys that he knows about Varys being informed by Ros and that he did away with her for her treachery, much like he had threatened her back in Season 2's "The Night Lands" when she was sad over Robert's bastard infant son being killed right in front of the whole brothel. The reveal of Joffrey paying to use her as bolt practice for his sadistic purposes was really quite sad seeing as Ros had survived coming to King's Landing since Season 1 and now Sansa is the only person from the North left in King's Landing that is a main character of the Stark name anyway. Littlefinger's speech about chaos being a ladder interspersed with the Wall climb was magically spectacular and juxtaposed in all the right ways with Jon and Ygritte's ending scene, and it also confirms just how deadly and dangerous Baelish really is and Varys is correct in his fears of Baelish's true power despite being without and army of any sort of his own.
Beyond the Wall and At the Wall
Sam tries to start a fire but is told that there is too much wood there by Gilly (tee hee) and she guesses that he's highborn since he'd never started a fire before. Sam sings the young baby lad a song which puts him to sleep but it was really rather sweet since Sam really is a nice guy and it often gets tedious with him being bullied and called "fat" or "Mr. Also good callback to the Dragon Glass/Obsidian from last season's discovery at the Fist of the First Men.
Tormund, Orell, Jon, Ygritte and the rest of the band of Wildlings finally reach the Wall and are about to begin the climb. Tormund just gets cooler with each bit of detail we hear about him, having climbed the Wall over a dozen times. Seeing the Wall ascent was a harrowingly beautiful scene sprinkled throughout this episode in a way this show has never done before in coming back continuously to a yarn like this. I have to say that what pulled this is Jon falling hard for Ygritte who figured out his little double agent thing after meeting Mance Rayder. The tensions between them really gives Jon some very human conflicting emotions and he is surely Ned Stark's son when falling for a woman he isn't supposed to. There were a few close calls here like when Orell almost cut the rope to have Jon and Ygritte fall off the line but Jon held himself and her steady. The highlight of the episode is the kiss at the top of the Wall that sealed before the credits. Ygritte has truly evolved as a character and Jon's tragic romance with her will surely end badly since we know he doesn't want to run away after having killed the Halfhand.
And if there's justice, Littlefinger has a special place in Hell waiting for mysogistic scumbags such as him, maybe one in which he'll be the taget practice instead of the late Ros.
After a moment of silence for the smartest woman ever killed by a coward, a moment on to the smartest woman who almost got killed by one: Ygrite has figured out Jon remains loyal to the Watch. But she also figured out something else: they are just soldiers for their respective sides, neither Mance nor the Watch care much whether they live or die, they have hundreds to replace them with. Something else she has figured out? She is Jon's woman now, him and her the only thing that matters to her and him. And the only thing it did, once that Jon saves her from Orell cutting the rope that held them as they climb the Wall.
Seems only natural for a smart woman to notice the man by her side, no more so than the man himself whether what he has lost is his pride or the hand, Jaime Lannister refuses to leave Brienne with Bolton's men as fiercely as Arya refuses to leave Gendry with Melisandre despite the orders of Thoros's men. In case we have not been paying attention, there's no happy ending in sight, not with a long and heartbreaking separation ahead of them.
For it takes a smart man to size a happy ending whenever he finds one, Jon claims his in the name of the Jaimes, the Gendrys, the Aryas and the Briennes of the episode, in the name of Lord Varys and Ros, in the name of Tyrion & Shae, on top of the Wall Jon kisses Ygritte, for all the smart men & women who may never see each other again.
Not sure why people are saying this was a weak episode, I thought it was better than the first few episodes, though still a step down from last weeks.
Sure, we spend a lot of time with people I don't honestly care about. Bran, Sam, and especially Theon. But we also have some awesome scenes with Jon, and its great to finally see his story go somewhere. It was an awesome cinematic experience. That, coupled with the Tywin/Olenna, Jaime and Littlefinger/Varys scenes definitely made this episode interesting despite the slow start.
A solid episode that needed to be done to set the stage... but I think more could have been fitted in as regards information . "why the torture", "what are the white walkers up to", "more background on why Gendry was taken", "how's Dany's army going" and so on... just a smidge more would have helped because the "interest value" would have exchanged the action value (of which there wasn't much).
This was a slow episode but the build up and music score laid down a strong sense of foreboding, especially towards the end. Best line of the episode goes to Little Finger, "... Only the ladder is real. The Climb is all there *Chills*
This might contain some spoilers for the books! I try to keep them at minimum and I won't spoil anything about "the Game" or anything big if I spoil something.
This episode was probably one of those episodes that deviated from the books in a "warlocks steal the dragons" kind of fashion. I loved it nonetheless ( I feel like I am becoming a fanboy of the show if I'm not one already ).
This episode was Jon Snow centric... Or Westeros centric as Daenerys had been cut out from the episode. This was a good decision in my opinion. It's fairly pointless to only have one minute of screen time in an episode but it seems that there are Game of Thrones fans that think that an episode without Daenerys is worse for just that reason.
Robb met two Freys who made it clear that to gain their alliance, Robb's uncle Edmure needed to marry a Frey. Edmure naturally declined at first as the Freys require him to marry during the war so he can not escape his vows like Robb did. Eventually Edmure gave in and chose to marry Roslin without knowing how she looks.
Wildlings climbing the Wall was executed well and had a few scenes where I was actually nervous even though I have read the books. Ygritte telling Jon that she knows that he is still a crow and the final scene at the top of the Wall was great!
Theon's scenes in this episode were disgustingly good. Iwan Rheon pulls off a believeable sadist. Some say that the scenes are getting pointless as they have no idea who is holding Theon captive and why are they holding him. To them I say... All the evidence ( SPOILERS*** The horn, the method of torture, the torture rack ***SPOILERS END) you need to figure out the identity of Theon's torturer has been given to you.
Melisandre bought Gendry, who we know is Robert's bastard son... Gendry therefore has blood of the kings running through his veins. This deviated a lot from the books as they removed a character and replaced him with a character who was never supposed to meet Melisandre. But in the end it does make sense. And Thoros of the series is way more compelling than the Thoros of the books.
King's Landing had it's moments. Loras being more interested in wedding dresses than Sansa was extremely funny! And Sansa was once again reminded of how cruel the world seems to be the minute you start hoping for better times as Tyrion informed her that she is to marry him... Not Loras.
The speech that Littlefinger gave in the end and the scenes during that speech were great! The episode actually ended by revealing that Littlefinger had caught Roz giving information to Varys which caused Littlefinger to give Roz to Joffrey... As target practice. Yet seconds later we get a scene where Jon and Ygritte finally get to the top of the Wall and kiss and it's all se very nice and happy ending-y until you hear that phrase in the back of your head.. "If you think this has a happy ending, then you have not been paying