“The bear, the bear, and the maiden fair.”
The wildlings have made it past the wall, and they’re well on their way to Castle Black. Only a week’s worth of walking left to go! Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is still bitter about Orell cutting him loose from the ropes and leaving Jon to fend for himself in last week’s episode, so Orell drops some wildling wisdom about people only doing what best serves their own interests.
And then the next scene is some dude is animatedly giving Jon sex tips as Jon listens in shock and awe… A few feet away, Orell and Ygritte (Rose Leslie) are traipsing along and talking when we find out that Orell loves her – but unfortunately for Orell, Ygritte loves Jon. Orell gets super bitter then, and hisses at Ygritte that she won’t love Jon anymore when she “finds out what he is.” Are these empty words, or does he actually know that Jon’s still a Ranger?
Later on, after few cute and romantic scenes between Jon and Ygritte, things get serious when Jon tries to warn her that she and the Wildlings aren’t likely to win their war. Those North of the Wall have tried to invade the South six times in the past, and every single time they failed. Ygritte doesn’t want to hear it though, and tells him “if we die, we die, but first we’ll live.” Awww. This would be way cuter if she wasn’t talking about the likelihood of their GRUESOME DEATHS.
It’s raining so the Starks and their army are unable to travel to the Freys’ place. (Also, Robb has apparently forgotten how to dry himself so Talisa’s doing it for him.) Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) is worried that Lord Frey will take them being late as an offense, but pretty much everyone else doesn’t give a shit what Frey’s offended by.
Robb (Richard Madden) then dismisses everyone from his tent so he and Talisa (Oona Chaplin) can share a sex scene and a really long post-coital scene where the camera lingers on Talisa’s nudity while Robb gets up to put on a robe. Talisa writes a letter in Valyrian, which means Robb has no idea what it says. Hmm, how mightily suspicious – especially considering that we’re being given an entire scene revolving around the fact that Talisa is writing a letter that Robb can’t read. Hmmm.
Oh wait, there’s more to this scene after all: Talisa’s pregnant! Robb is very pleased with this turn of events. They have sex. Again.
Sansa (Sophie Turner) opens up to Margaery (Natalie Dormer) about all of her broken dreams. Margaery tells her how sorry she is that her most recent dream of marrying Loras and leaving for Highgarden has been shattered, but that women in their position must make the best of their circumstances. Lord Tyrion isn’t who Sansa wants, and she would most likely be forced to stay in King’s Landing with him, but he hasn’t hurt Sansa yet and he’s definitely far from the worst person ever.
When Sansa expresses nervousness over having sex with Tyrion, Margaery comforts her by telling her that sex can be complicated, but since Tyrion’s pretty experienced, he would be able to please her. Poor, sweet, naive Sansa thinks Margaery learned about these things from her mother, but it’s clear that’s not exactly true when Margaery’s smile falters ever so slightly.
We then jump over to Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), who’s having a drink with his bodyguard Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and blanching over the idea of having sex with Sansa, who’s basically a child. Bronn doesn’t see a problem with it, but Tyrion definitely does – first off, Sansa isn’t going to like it, and secondly, Tyrion’s girlfriend/lover Shae (Sibel Kekilli) definitely isn’t going to like it.
Later on, Tyrion buys golden jewelry for Shae in an attempt to make her less pissed at him, but Shae doesn’t want necklaces, and she doesn’t want Tyrion to get married. She asks him to run away with her. Tyrion tells her he can’t leave, and offers to keep her safe and comfortable in the city and to take care of any children they have together – which only pisses Shae off even more because she doesn’t want to have his bastards and be nothing more than his “whore.”
Tywin and Joffrey Lannister
The Hand of the King approaches King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and is made to report on the small council meetings that Tywin (Charles Dance) has been holding up in his tower. Joffrey is a lazy brat, of course, so he wants to know why the meetings aren’t being held someplace closer to him, so Joffrey can toddle his way in when he can actually be bothered to attend them.
Tywin walks slowly up the steps to the throne so he can tower menacingly over Joffrey and hilariously says, “We could arrange to have you carried.” Joffrey looks freaked out by his grandfather’s close proximity (as he should be) so he quickly changes the subject to Dany and her dragons, asking Tywin if she is a threat to his throne. Tywin gives Joffrey a history lesson and ends his speech by telling him that dragons are a myth. Oh Tywin, you are so misinformed.
Dany (Emilia Clarke) has made it to Yunkai, which is a veritable fortress of a city. Jorah (Iain Glen) advises her not to attack the city because it won’t get her any closer to the throne in Westeros, but Dany wants to so she can free the 200,000 slaves there. She tells Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) to send word to the King in Yunkai to tell him to surrender his slaves else his city be subject to the same fate as the one Dany just came from.
After receiving Dany’s message, Kingly Dude arrives to give her gold and ships to try and make peace with her… only that doesn’t exactly work out the way he wants. Dany orders him to release every slave in the city and give them all enough food and clothing to get them wherever they want to go.
He refuses these terms, and he and his slaves run away as Dany’s dragons roar at them threateningly. Once he’s disappeared, Dany tells Jorah and Ser Barristan (Ian McElhinney) to find out what they can about the Yunkai’s “powerful friends” and how much of a threat they are to her.
Melisandre and Gendry
Now that Gendry (Joe Dempsie) has been successfully kidnapped and carted off, he’s free to roam around on the ship that’s taking him, Melisandre (Carice Van Houten), and her peoples back to wherever it is they’re going. They pass by the areas of King’s Landing that were scorched by wildfire, and Melisandre recounts her memories of being lowborn, of being a slave. She then tells Gendry that his strength and talent for fighting comes from his noble Baratheon blood. Gendry is overwhelmed by this key piece of information and he gazes up at the towers of King’s Landing.
Back with the Brotherhood, Arya (Maisie Williams) sits by herself as far away from Beric (David Michael Scott) and Thoros (Paul Kaye) as she can. She’s angry and disappointed with them for trading Gendry for bags of gold, and is uncaring of their little “but god told me to” spiel.
Their conversation is put on hold when some of the other Brotherhood men come into the cave to report their sighting of a nearby Lannister raiding party. “Time for a lion hunt,” says Thoros. “Yeaaaaah!” replies the Brotherhood. “Noooo,” says Arya’s facial expression. The Brotherhood promised to take her back to Riverrun, but now Arya’s afraid that all they care about is getting gold. She runs away into the dark woods, and straight into The Hound. Geez, this girl can’t catch a single break.
Okay, so I think I could do without Theon (Alfie Allen) torture scenes for the rest of forever. Seeing as how this is the Game of Torture and Sex Porn show I’m watching, though, and not Game of Everyone Plays Nicely and Learns to Share Power, we’re treated to another scene of Theon convulsing on the ground after having had his finger cut off last time we saw him. Two women have appeared out of nowhere and are helping treat his wounds and give him water – but I suspect this is all yet another psychological game the Bolton Bastard is playing.
And indeed it is, because the girls pretend they have no idea what Theon’s talking about when he asks about Ramsay (Iwan Rheon), and proceed to grind up on Theon’s dick. Gratuitous sex scene ensues, at least until Ramsay swans in and resumes the torture by cutting off Theon’s cock.
Why does it feel like every time we see Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and company, they’re setting up a tent someplace, Osha (Natalia Tena) is being an adorably suspicious grump, and… Rickon is napping? Because that’s basically what’s happening again in this episode. Osha, feeling protective of Bran and fed up with Jojen’s talk of “black magic,” eventually confronts Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and orders him to stop filling Bran’s head with stories.
When she hears that Jojen plans on leading Bran not to Castle Black, as Osha had thought, but past the Wall, Osha is furious – there are dangerous things beyond the Wall. She tells them about her lover, who had died and turned into an undead creature with pale white skin and blue eyes, and how Osha had to kill him to keep him from killing her. Her story finished, she walks away after telling Bran that she’s not going to go any further than Castle Black.
Jaime and Brienne
Jaime’s (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) getting ready to leave the Boltons and head back to King’s Landing. The night before he’s supposed to leave, he visits Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) in her room/prison cell, and tries to thank her for saving him. She tells him that as long as he swears to bring Arya and Sansa back to Catelyn Stark, Brienne will consider his debt to her paid in full. Jaime promises, and the two make their goodbyes.
The next day, Jaime, healer Qyburn, and a few guards begin their journey. When they make a pit stop, Qyburn tells Jaime that Brienne’s father offered three hundred gold dragons for his daughter’s safe return, but that Locke – the man who cut off Jaime’s hand and tried to have Brienne raped – would not accept the ransom. Jaime is conflicted for all of two seconds before he decides that he can’t leave Brienne to suffer. He and his guards immediately march back to Harrenhal to rescue Brienne.
When they get there, Jaime finds Brienne trapped in a gladiator-style pit along with an extremely angry bear with only a wooden sword to protect herself with. The Bolton men have the pit surrounded and are drunkenly singing, “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.” Brienne does her best to hold out, but up against a huge and vicious bear, she hasn’t got much hope.
All of a sudden, Jaime jumps into the pit to save Brienne. If Jaime dies, the guards will be in huge trouble so they help him get Brienne out of the pit and back to safety. Jaime tells Locke that he’s going to be taking Brienne back with him to King’s Landing.
Comments + Verdict
It felt like there were a lot more storylines squished into this week’s episode than usual, so there was more jumping around from scene-to-scene and long, boring conversations. The amount of screentime devoted to that could be better spent on Catelyn, since she’s a main character in the books. They also lingered way too long on the combo sex-and-torture scene with Theon and Ramsay. Save for a few highlights, I wasn’t a big fan of this episode. Jaime’s rescue of Brienne felt rushed; the writers continue to use the same formula for every episode: lots of conversations, gratuitous scenes of naked women, then action in the last 5 minutes of the episode to further the plot.
Orell: People work together when it suits them. They’re loyal when it suits them. They love each other when it suits them. And they kill each other when it suits them.
Bronn: You waste time trying to get people to love you, you’ll end up the most popular dead man in town.
Beric: The Red God is the one true god. You’ve seen his powers. When he commands, we obey.
Arya: He’s not my one true god.
Beric: No? Who’s yours?
Ramsay: This is mercy. I’m not killing you. I’m just making a few… alterations.
Ygritte: “Ohh, I’m Jon Snow and I’m from Winterfell. My daddy was a fancy lord and I lived in a tower that touched the clouds!”
Ygritte: What’s swooning?
Jon: … Fainting.
Ygritte: What’s fainting?
Jon: When a girl sees blood and collapses.
Ygritte: Why would a girl see blood and collapse?
Jon: Well… Not all girls are like you.
Ygritte: Girls see more blood than boys.
Osha: Is that what he’s been telling you? That all this happened for a reason? That all these terrible things happened to you because the gods have got big plans for you? I wish it were true, little lord. But the gods wouldn’t spare a raven’s cold shit for you or me or anyone.
Watch the preview for the next episode below:
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 PM on HBO.
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