If you know me at all, you know that I look forward to Game of Thrones as the potential highlight of my week. Every week. Immediately following the episode I have withdrawal, which is why I’ve been advocating (to no one in particular) that every episode should be 90 minutes at a minimum, if not 3 hours per week. The wait for the next episode is particularly taxing when they turn in a dud, and I think The Bear and the Maiden Fair was one of the weaker episodes of the season.
DO NOT DISCUSS THE BOOKS WE HAVE NOT READ THEM.
Generally Buckeye and I focus on a couple things that determine whether an episode is good or not. The criteria are basically spending time with the characters we like the most, and whether or not the time spent with them is used effectively. This week I feel like our time was spent very inefficiently. Numerous scenes were used to show things we could’ve intuited on our own without actually seeing, but perhaps needed to be shown for character development. Unfortunately that leaves us with not much excitement. For example, we know Shae is gonna be upset that Tyrion is marrying Sansa, but we didn’t actually learn anything from her fight with him. Only that Shae is acting irrational. What does she expect Tyrion to do? It’s already been made abundantly clear he’s not giving up his life to elope with her.
Up in the North the warg is busy planting ideas in Jon and Ygritte’s heads that they aren’t right for each other, and what do you know, there is a love triangle brewing! I for one am not too excited about this turn of events. I know Jon and Ygritte fit the stereotypical ‘they’re from two different worlds! It’ll never work,’ mold, but I really hope this doesn’t turn into a will they or won’t they Rachel and Ross story. As an aside, whenever I see the warg I think Jack Sparrow. Anyone else get that?
Then there is Robb and Talisa’s loving scene, which I checked, took up a painfully long 5 minutes. That 5 minutes was spent teaching me two things: (1) that Talisa is pregnant, and (2) we likely aren’t getting any more full frontal from her. I know I know, Robb really loves her and without showing scenes like this we can’t as viewers appreciate their connection, but all I see is a constant reminder of all the mistakes King Robb has made (and a round ass).
For Sansa, we know she is upset she has to marry Tyrion. We know that because we saw her crying at the end of the last episode. The scene she was in this week had her serving as the prop against which Margaery could shine. She deftly weaves from her practical side (Tyrion treats her well; his experience in the bedroom could be a bonus; her child will be the Lord of Casterly Rock) to her sexual side (she does seem to know a lot about sex for an alleged virgin). However this was another scene we didn’t really need. We already know whatever idea Margaery plants in Sansa’s head ends up taking root, and we already knew she was unhappy with her match with Tyrion.
We also already knew Arya was upset with the Brotherhood for selling Gendry to Melisandre. Arya’s has a pretty rough couple of years, so it’s understandable the god she prays to is death. The problem is we knew this from her hands-on schooling with Syrio the dancing master and Jaqen the faceless man. While she was, as she said last week, a hostage of the Brotherhood, it seems she has traded in this benevolent kidnapper for a worse one in The Hound. Arya has now spent the better part of two seasons moving from captor to captor. I wish she would’ve just gone to Braavos :(
ANOTHER scene we knew had to happen was Melisandre revealing to Gendry that he was Robert Baratheon’s bastard. As I wrote last week, it does seem as if Gendry is infatuated with this mystical and beautiful woman. His blue eyes sparkle during their conversation as he belittles himself while she tries to build him back up. Melisandre may continue to revere his blood lines to his face, but I still fear he is going to be in for a rude awakening in Dragonstone.
Of course, what Season 3 Thrones episode would be complete without a visit with Theon? At this point I honestly feel like I’m watching Saw VI and they are just coming up with new ways to torture him. This was a really dumb scene not just because the plot didn’t advance (AGAIN), but because we knew the whole time that this sadistic warden was going to pull the chair out from under Theon. I really don’t get why we need to check in with him on a weekly basis. Oh, but at least we have a second Varys on the show now.
To change up the pace and turn to another scene in which nothing really happens (noticing a trend yet?) is the visit with Bran and Osha. While Hodor does get to speak this time (Hodor!), all this scene does is provide Osha a monologue to lament when her lover turned into a White Walker. He was hers, and she was his, huh. Hadn’t we just heard that in the last scene with Jon and Ygritte? Continuity! Osha knows what’s waiting on the other side of The Wall, but does she really think that forbidding Bran from talking to Jojen is gonna do anything? This is almost a Theon-esque story at this point. We know they need to find the 3-eyed raven but we have no idea why. I suggested he may regain the ability to walk. Our buddy G-Ross thinks when he finds it he will finally learn who pushed him from the tower. Is that knowledge really significant in any way though? The Starks already are fighting a war against the Lannisters. I don’t see how that would change anything.
The important developments in E7 came from the stars of the season: Tywin, Jamie, and Dany.
We finally get a scene between Tywin and Joffrey, and I have to say, it was a little bit of a let down. I guess I had just built it up so much in my head, that Joffrey would say something stupid and Tywin would dismiss him callously like he does with all his other children. But Tywin is smarter than that. He uses the niceties of ‘Your Grace’ while at the same time imposing his will. His slow walk up the stairs to loom over Joffrey as he squirms on the throne was great. I applaud Jack Gleeson, who has done a phenomenal job as Joffrey so far, and really sold his discomfort with Tywin’s proximity in this scene. He has to go all the way to the Hand’s tower just to sit in on Small Council meetings? It’s not too bad though, Tywin can arrange for him to be carried. Joffrey would really like to be appraised of all the important happenings in the kingdom. Well that’s what Tywin is doing right now! He doesn’t waste any breath in dismissing all of the King’s complaints. There is a rare miss-step from Tywin though, as he chooses to ignore the girl across the sea as hardly a threat. In his defense he has better things to worry about, but he should prolly keep an eye on her.
Danaerys’ time was spent helping to develop her core identity. Of course she has already freed the slaves of Astapor, and now sees 200,000 reasons why they should invade Yunkai, but let’s not forget that Dany herself knows what it’s like to be a slave. She was sold to Khal Drogo after all. Dany is beginning to see that not only does she want the Iron Throne because she it is her birthright, but there is also the opportunity to be a good leader. The Unsullied are fiercely loyal to her because she set them free, and if she can free even more slaves she will have a formidable army indeed, and one that will always owe a great debt to her. It is fascinating to see her develop both as a ruthless conquerer, and yet keeping a just belief system. One thing I wonder–she says to Jorah to find out who the Yunkai’s powerful allies are. How the hell is he gonna do this? They’re in the middle of the desert, it’s not like he can just go ask around.
Finally, there is Jamie the redeemer. Having realized that he ironically hurt Brienne’s chances of being returned to her father by lying about Tarth being the island of sapphires, he has no choice but to return to Harrenhall to save her. He once again relies on him being Jamie Lannister to help him: first he forces his captor to take him back because otherwise he will lie about who cut off his harm, and then he heroically leaps into the pit with the eponymous bear knowing they won’t let him die. And again it works! While I think many suspected that Jamie would not be making the trip to King’s Landing without his leading lady, the more interesting turn of events is his promise to Brienne. He will see to it that the Stark girls are returned to their mother. Ah how allegiances can shift.
Missing Character List: Stannis & Co.; Cersei; Varys; Baelish; Olenna Tyrell; no mention of Podrick’s lovemaking
Buckeye, we need to write a blog post on the best opening sequences in TV history. I’m thinking we limit it to premium channels + cable from the last 10-15 years. I may have Thrones in the #1 spot.
Speaking of the opening, I’ve been wondering this for a couple weeks now: why is Winterfell still on the map? No one is there, so shouldn’t it be out? Or is it such a significant locale that even the thought of removing it is blasphemy?
Blackfish: “I’ve seen wet shits I liked better than Walder Frey.” He’s got some great one-liners.
We got a visit from another witty man this week too: Bronn! He as always provides some sage advice, “if you waste time getting people to love you, you’ll end up the most popular dead man in town.”
It seems as if priests in Westeros also are little boy diddlers, as is evident from Jamie’s speculative questioning as to how that guy lost his Maester necklace.