Saturday, May 11, 2013

Game of Thrones 3.06: "The Climb"

“The Night’s Watch don’t care if you live or die. Mance Rayder don’t care if I live or die. We’re just soldiers in their armies, and there’s plenty more to carry on if we go down.”

This was very much a middle of the season keep the cogs running kind of episode. A little bit happened in a lot of plots. Interestingly, the Daenerys plot was the only major plot that was absent (we didn’t see Theon, either, except for one short torture scene, but I don’t consider that a great loss). The title of the episode, “The Climb” probably comes from the fact that so many of the characters are trying to make their way towards the Wall. Oh, and Jon Snow, Ygritte, and a couple other Wildlings do literally climb the wall. Stretching the metaphor a little further, other characters have their own climbs in this episode that are more emotional than physical. That would be the four folks in King’s Landing who are dealing with Tywin’s marriage decree. Nobody is in a good place at all right now (well, except maybe Dany, but like I said, we don’t see her in this episode), but I guess that’s to be expected from “Game of Thrones.”

Since we see them first in the episode, and they come closest to representing the literal title of the episode, we’ll start with Jon and Ygritte and the other Wildlings. The band of Wildlings is getting ready to scale the Wall. In a conversation before the climb, Ygritte reveals that she knows Jon is still loyal to the Night’s Watch, but what they really need is to be loyal to each other. They’re expendable to each of their respective armies. The climb itself is pretty much what you’d expect. Some wildlings hang from the massive wall of ice with just a rope and some picks. At one point, the rope starts to tear, and one of the Wildlings tries to finish the job. If he had been successful, cutting the rope would have sent Jon and Ygritte plunging to their deaths. Instead, Jon manages to grab onto the ice with his pick just before the rope is completely severed, and he and Ygritte are eventually able to climb to safety.

Another group headed for the Wall are Bran, Osha, and the Reeds. Osha and Meera are griping at each other when Jojen appears to have some sort of seizure. Meera has to help Jojen through the convulsions, and things do not look at all good for Bran when Meera explains that the visions of a Warg (like Bran) take their toll. Also in younger Stark news, Arya is still with the Brotherhood without banners, hanging out with Gendry, when Melisandre arrives at the camp. Melisandre and Thoros of Myr have a bit of a war of words over who is the more dutiful worshipper of the Lord of Light (Thoros is mostly just a drunk), and Melisandre seems in disbelief that Thoros has the power to keep bringing Dondarrion back from the dead. This whole encounter results in the Brotherhood selling Gendry to Melisandre because, since he’s Robert’s bastard, she wants to use him in some sort of ritual to help Stannis that I presume will be explained more later.

We’ll cover Robb next because his plot just makes me sad, and I’d like to get it out of the way. Rob’s scene is a negotiation with two Frey sons. Recall that Robb pissed off the Karstarks, so he needs the Frays to rebuild his army. And he’s really pissed off Lord Fray by marrying Talisa instead of a Fray daughter. Robb is very conciliatory towards the Freys. When the Frey brothers start naming their terms for continuing the alliance despite Robb’s marriage, Robb has no problem with any of it, especially the condition that he apologize. The one snag is that Robb’s Uncle Edmure, now Lord of Riverrun, must marry a Frey daughter instead. The Frey’s name a particular daughter, but Edmure wants to hold out for having a choice of daughters. Luckily, the Blackfish threatens him out of that line of thinking, and Edmure agrees to the wedding. According to the terms of the new agreement, the wedding must take place within two weeks. I really, really wish I thought this could end well, because I think Robb is really finding his footing as King in the North. This is “Game of Thrones,” though, so nothing can ever really end well for the Starks. Also loosely related to the Starks, we do a brief check-in with Jaime and Brienne. Bolton has Brienne in a dress (which she hates, obviously), and Jaime is failing at eating his dinner one-handed. Bolton is going to return Jaime to King’s Landing (because that will fetch a good reward and keep Bolton out of trouble), but Brienne is going to be charged with abetting treason, and there is nothing Jaime can do about it.

Again, I found some of the most compelling parts of this particular episode to be the King’s Landing scheming. There’s a great scene where Twyin is working on getting Lady Olenna to agree to a Loras/Cersei marriage. Lady Olenna isn’t thrilled about the idea, because she thinks Cersei is approaching the age where she will be too old to have children. If Cersei and Loras were to have no children, then the Lannisters, through the impending Joffrey/Margaery marriage, would take control of Highgarden. Lady Olenna feels like the Tyrells have already given enough to the Lannisters by agreeing to have Margaery marry Joffrey. Tywin is shrewd, though, and he threatens to name Loras to the Kingsguard if Lady Olenna doesn’t agree. If Loras were named to the Kingsguard, he would be automatically forced to forfeit his inheritance.

The other half of this Lannister double marriage plot is, of course, the Tyrion/Sansa wedding. We see Sansa happily awkward flirting with Loras. It’s kind of pathetic at this point how clueless she is that he’s gay. He’s going on and on about how he’s always dreamed of his wedding, and she just doesn’t get it. Sansa’s dreams are about to be shattered, though. In a very enlightening scene, Tyrion and Cersei commiserate about their fates, and Tyrion gets Cersei to admit that Joffrey ordered the hit on Tyrion at the Battle of Blackwater. There’s also a brief classic Varys/Littlefinger scene, where Littlefinger is upset that Varys foiled his plot to steal away Sansa. Littlefinger alludes to having gotten revenge on Ros for playing multiple sides, and we see that he’s lent her out to Joffrey, who has brutally murdered her of course. Sansa also has to be informed of the impending change in her fiancé. Tyrion goes to talk to her, and Shae is in the room, which makes it all quite awkward. Tyrion tries to keep Shae out of it (presumably so he can tell her in private), but Sansa insists that she stay. We later see Sansa looking out on the water and crying, so presumably she’s not at all happy about this turn of events.

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