Jamie Harsip Staff Writer
Well, it’s hard to believe, but we’ve already passed the midseason mark for HBO’s Game of Thrones! It seems like just yesterday we were squee-ing over the epic season opener, “Valar Dohaeris”! Thus far it’s been a mostly-epic season, but there have been those oddly uneventful episodes. Unfortunately, last Sunday’s “The Climb” was one of them.
You know it’s not going to be the most exciting episode when it opens on Sam Tarly trying to build a fire. Spoiler alert: he sucks at it. Fortunately he has Gilly there to help him. Apparently he found something while fighting to survive on the Fist of the First Men – an obsidian blade of sorts. Gilly seems unimpressed. She just wants to get to the Wall already, you know? In the end it seems she gets bored of conversation, and instead asks Sam to sing her a song. Fair enough, I suppose.
Now we’re back with Bran and company; Osha and Meera are both, in their own ways, trying to skin rabbits. Those two just do not get along at all. Personally, I am inclined to blame Osha for the majority of the hostility, but Meera isn’t so pleasant, either. It takes Bran all but yelling at them for the two women to act somewhat civil. Jojen, meanwhile, is having one of his visions. It appears that the visions cause him to have seizure-like fits. When he wakes up, Jojen tells Bran that he saw Jon…only he wasn’t on the wall, as Bran expected.
Of course, as we know, he’s hanging out with the Wildlings. Evidently they’re preparing to scale the Wall. The focus of this scene, though, is Jon and Ygritte. It looks like things are getting pretty hot and heavy between them, and I don’t just mean with the sex. Evidently they’re exclusive, judging by the things Ygritte says: “I’m your woman now, Jon Snow; you’re going to be loyal to your woman.” Of course, in her usual style, she follows up with a threat to cut off Jon’s cock if he betrays her.
Arya is practicing her archery skills, with help from Anguy, when she spots someone approaching the Brotherhood’s camp. It turns out to be Melisandre and a cadre of knights. Spotting a fellow worshipper of the Red God, Thoros approaches her. It appears that she is not a fan of his. Nevertheless, Thoros guides Melisandre into their cave to see Lord Beric. She seems more than a little perturbed by the fact that R’hllor has brought the lord back not once, but six times. It’s impossible, she says, and Thoros can’t explain it either. He’s a self-described horrible priest, and he has no idea how he has been able to gain the Red God’s favor. Evidently the first time Beric was killed, Thoros didn’t know what to do besides kneed beside his friend’s body and said “the old words”. And, it would seem, the Red God answered his prayers. But Lord Beric wants to know why their god sent Melisandre to them. As it turns out, they have someone the Red God needs…and its Gendry. When Gendry understandably yells at the Brotherhood, saying that they told him he could be one of them, Melisandre steps in. She says that he is more than they could ever be, that he will make kings rise and fall…whatever that means. Arya confronts Melisandre, calling her a witch. The response she gets is shocking. The priestess isn’t mad, so much as potentially fearful of Arya. In the girl she sees a darkness…with three pairs of eyes staring back at her. Eyes, Melisandre says, that Arya will shut forever.
We arrive at the wall with the sound of pickaxes and wind. The Wildlings are climbing the wall, although we don’t really know why. Well, Ygritte said she’d always wanted to see the view from up there, but that hardly seems worth the potentially-deadly effort of climbing the thing. Oh well, they’re doing it anyway.
BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRM! Oh, poor Theon. Once again he’s tormented by the sound of a horn. His “friend” turned captor seems to be having a grand old time keeping the guy awake with it. And damn, that’s just the beginning of what he has in store for his prisoner. Instead of giving Theon the water he desperately needs, the as-of-yet unnamed guy pours it onto the ground. Rude, right? Still, that’s not even the half of it. You know it’s bad when the next words out of his mouth are “Let’s play a game! Which body part do you need the least?” He decides for Theon, choosing a pinky finger. Theon wins the game if he correctly guesses who this guy is, why he’s being tortured, and where they are; the other guy wins if Theon begs him to cut off the finger. Wait, what? All Theon wants to know is whether or not he’ll be let go if he wins. In possibly the most meta moment of the entire show, his captor responds with “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.” Harsh? Yeah, but that’s just Game of Thrones!
Robb is meeting with two envoys from the Freys. It seems that, lo and behold, Lord Frey is willing to uphold his alliance with the north! Phew. All he asks are that a couple of conditions be met. First, a formal apology must be given – in person. Second, Lord Edmure Tully must marry one of Lord Frey’s daughters. Edmure, of course, is completely against the idea, but come on! So, of course, he has to be convinced. But eventually Edmure agrees to it.
Now that Jaime and Brienne have been scrubbed and dressed (Brienne in a ridiculous dress with fur trim and lace) they are being treated to a nice dinner with Lord Bolton. Poor Jaime has a hell of a time struggling to cut his meat with one hand. And while Jaime seems to have convinced the lord to allow him to return to King’s Landing. Okay, that sounds great! Oh wait, Brienne can’t come. Lors Bolton has charged her with treason.
It looks like Tywin is trying to put his matchmaking skills in action, but Lady Tyrell is not having any of it. Of course, our lord of Lannister does not take it lying down. Tywin tries to discreetly imply that he would tell people about Loras’ “nocturnal activities”, but Olenna basically says “yeah, sure, go for it”. But Tywin kind of digs himself a hole when he calls out Highgarden on its allowance of “unnatural behavior” (i.e. homosexuality). Oh really, Tywin? Do you want to talk about unnatural behavior? Because where Lady Tyrell comes from, brothers and sisters doing it is pretty highly frowned upon. Tywin is done playing games now, though – he tells Lady Tyrell that either she agrees to marry Loras to Cersei, or Tywin will induct Loras into the kingsguard. That would me he could neither inherit highgarden or marry. In that situation, Highgarden would go to the child of Joffrey and Margaery, not another Tyrell. Ouch!
Meanwhile on the north side of the wall, going gets tough. Winds are high and it’s begun to blizzard. Suddenly, with one swing of one pickaxe, the face of the wall starts to crack. A sheet of hundreds of cubic feet of ice comes crumbling off, taking many a wildling with it. Jon and Ygritte almost follow it, but luckily Jon saves them both.
Loras is simply the most awkward teenage boy ever. He’s talking to Sansa by a gorgeous lily pond. Converation turns to weddings, and yeah, Loras’ “gay” may be showing a little bit. Apparently he’s dreamed of having a big, lavish wedding all his life – including tournaments, feasts, green and gold brocade…oh, and the bride. Can’t forget about the bride!
Meanwhile, from a window in the castle, Cersei is watching the pair. She and Tyrion are commiserating their respective matrimonial fates. Cersei is being oddly kind to her brother, and it’s kind of weird. She freely admits that Tyrion is a worthwhile human being who actually saved the family, never mind the realm, in the Battle of Blackwater. It’s an interesting scene all around, and it ends with the acknowledgment that Sansa still needs to be told that she is not going to be marrying her knight in shining armor after all….
Shae is fitting Sansa with a pretty but plain periwinkle dress, presumably for Margaery and Joffrey’s wedding. She starts talking about her lovely Ser Loras when Tyrion comes to see her. After an awkward attempt to get Shae to leave the room (of course she does not), he begins speaking.
In the next scene, Littlefinger is seated beside the Iron Throne when Varys walks in to speak with him. These are two unbelievably competitive friends, and it seems that their competitive natures got someone caught in the crossfire. That person was Ros, and after finding out about her, ah, infidelity to him, Littlefinger seems to have given her to King Joffrey. During a voiceover, in which Littlefinger discusses the nature of chaos, we see Joffrey with his crossbow…and Ros, tied upright to his bed, body full of arrows. We cut over to Sansa, who is looking out over the bay at a ship departing. It has Littlefinger’s mockingbird symbol on it, and she is sobbing. Not only can she not marry her sweet Loras, but she has missed her chance to escape from King’s Landing with Littlefinger.
The final scene of the episode is Jon and Ygritte finally making it to the top of the wall. They’re utterly exhausted, but they’ve made it. The view from the top is just as astonishingly beautiful as expected. Then Jon and Ygritte kiss as the shot zooms out.
This Sunday we get the seventh episode of the season, “The Bear and The Maiden Fair”. As you can see from the preview (video below), things are getting dire for Brienne and Gendry, and we’ll get a much-anticipated look at what Daenerys plans to do next. Be sure to tune in on Sunday at 9pm/EST, only on HBO!