This was kind of a weird episode. I was expecting to like it since it’s George R.R. Martin’s episode for this season, but I think it’s probably the weakest episode in season three. There’s an enormous amount of stuff going on in it, but at the same time it felt very long to me. There were some scenes that I really loved, but as a whole I ended up just feeling a little underwhelmed by “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.”
**Spoilers under the cut.**
The episode opens on Jon and Ygritte who are now trudging along south of the Wall. I loved the interaction between Jon and Ygritte in this episode, which surprised me since their romance has never been one of my favorites. However, it was nice to see their roles end up reversed a little. South of the Wall, Jon knows a lot more than Ygritte does. She’s never seen stone buildings, and she’s ignorant of the history of previous wildling attempts to attack the Wall. Amusingly, she also doesn’t know what “swooning” is, which was a nicely humorous exchange that balances the pretty obvious tragic foreshadowing going on here.
I didn’t like Orell’s declaration of lust/feelings for Ygritte. It felt like filler to me, and I think that minute or two of dialogue could have been better spent on advancing another storyline or something.
I did like sex ed with Tormund. I giggled, but again I think that was a bit that could have been cut in favor of something else more interesting.
Robb and Co. are caught in a storm on their way to the Twins for Edmure’s wedding. Apparently Talisa is going with Robb instead of staying at Riverrun, which I hope means what I really, really hope it does. Also, apparently Talisa’s pregnant. I know this scene is supposed to be sweet and emotional, but I really, really don’t like the substitution of Talisa for Jeyne. It’s the one change from the books to the show that I absolutely hate, and I’m ready for it to be over.
I think I like the handling of Sansa’s impending marriage in the show more than I did in the books, at least for the scenes with Sansa. Three scenes in this episode are dedicated to Sansa’s upcoming nuptials.
First is Sansa talking with Margaery, which I thought was an excellent scene. Sansa is frightened and upset and disappointed in herself for not seeing something like this coming. Margaery is delightfully pragmatic and encouraging, although I’m not sure how receptive Sansa is to Margaery’s advice to “make the best of things.”
Next up we find Tyrion complaining to Bronn, who doesn’t really understand Tyrion’s dilemma. Depending on how they shoot the actual wedding night, I think this scene might end up just being a superfluous bit of telling rather than showing. It is interesting, however, just how much Bronn’s perspective on Tyrion’s problems mirrors Margaery’s pragmatic advice to Sansa in the previous scene.
Finally, later in the episode, Tyrion is finally talking to Shae about the wedding, and Shae is (I think rightfully) pissed. Tyrion presents Shae with a costly gift, but what she really wants is security, which is one thing that Tyrion can’t really offer her. Instead, Tyrion seems to think that he can somehow live a double life, married to Sansa, but also building a family with Shae, and Shae knows that this is a fantasy that Tyrion can’t deliver.
Tywin has been summoned to Joffrey’s throne room for a long, dramatic walk (seriously, the throne room is huge) and a talk with his grandson. This might actually be my favorite scene of the episode, although I’m a little bothered that I feel like we’re being asked to feel sympathy for Joffrey after what he did in last week’s episode. Basically, Joffrey hasn’t been going to his Small Council meetings, and he’s upset that he isn’t more informed. Tywin explains that Joffrey is welcome to show up anytime, but in a way that makes it clear that Joffrey isn’t really welcome at all–especially when at the end of the discussion Tywin makes a point of telling Joffrey that he’ll be informed and consulted “when necessary” about matters deemed “important.” Joffrey is in many ways still a child, but show!Joffrey is old enough to be doing more actual ruling than his book counterpart. What we’re shown in this scene is that Joffrey is, while foolish and blustering, mostly king in name only. Even his (I think legitimate) concern about Daenerys and her dragons is dismissed by his controlling grandfather. Joffrey, in his way, wants to be a good king and is in desperate need of guidance, but when he asks for it he’s rebuffed and relegated to puppet-monarch status. It’s a weird scene, honestly, since the show has worked so hard to make Joffrey completely unlikable. I’m not sure why, at this point, they want to portray him in a sympathetic manner.
Speaking of Daenerys, she’s now in sight of the walls of Yunkai on her quest to be an awesome white savior and end slavery. Honestly, she’s so smug and arrogant when the representative from Yunkai comes to treat with her that I can’t wait for things to backfire on her. I don’t think the show has done as good a job as the books did of making it clear that Dany is supposed to be a criticism of the white savior trope, but this scene actually went a long way for me as far as dispelling any positive feelings I had about her actions. That said, judging by the number of Dany-celebratory GIFsets I’ve seen on Tumblr the last few days, I think this is still going over the heads of many television viewers. How much more insufferable do the showrunners have to make this character before people realize that we’re supposed to see her as a dangerous, colonizing mad person rather than a hero?
The dragons are beautiful, though.
Melisandre and Gendry are sailing through the remains of ships that sank on the Blackwater, and she tells him who his father is. We also learn a little more about Melisandre’s own history.
Arya is furious and miserable without her friends among a group of men she no longer trusts. Beric tries to reassure her and explain things, but Arya runs out of their cave lair only to be promptly captured by Sandor Clegane.
Theon is still being tortured. These scenes just make me increasingly uncomfortable every week. I don’t want to watch the process of Theon’s destruction at Ramsay’s hands. It was awful enough reading Theon’s chapters in A Dance With Dragons when I realized that he hadn’t just died after he lost Winterfell. No one deserves what happens to Theon, and it really bothers me that I feel like we’re expected to be titillated and entertained by it on the show.
Bran’s group is still on the move. Osha is getting increasingly anxious as they go farther north, but we find out why in this episode. She really, really wants to just take care of these children, and she’s terrified to go back north of the wall. The split in this group should happen soon, I guess, but I’m curious to see how that works out next season.
Jaime is leaving Harrenhal to return to King’s Landing, but he’s forced to leave without Brienne. Before leaving, he vows to Brienne that he’ll return Catelyn Stark’s daughters. On the road we learn more about Qyburn, who has been sent to King’s Landing with Jaime. Jaime learns that Brienne won’t be ransomed and returns to rescue her from Locke, only to find her in a pit fighting a bear with a wooden sword, which prompts Jaime to do something incredibly brave and stupid. My favorite part of this whole storyline in this episode is Brienne’s sort of bemused look at Jaime’s back as they are leaving Harrenhal for a final time. She’s so strong and self-reliant and she’s never been rescued before and she’s just confused about what just happened and why Jaime would do something so obviously stupid for her.
This episode had some great scenes, a couple of which I absolutely loved, but it also had one of the most infuriating scenes that I’ve seen in two and a half seasons of this show.
**Spoilers (and anger) under the cut.**
Sam and Gilly are well away from Craster’s Keep, and apparently Sam can barely even build a fire. Their interactions here provide a sweet interlude and are part of a nicely done introduction to the episode’s biggest storyline, which is Jon and Ygritte climbing the wall. I’d just like to say, though, that Hannah Murray is perfect as Gilly. She has a wonderful sort of fragility, but at the same time it’s clear that she’s fierce and capable and has a lot of practical knowledge.
The other half of this episode’s introduction has us visiting Bran and company, where Meera and Osha are arguing over how to skin rabbits. Then Jojen has a vision of Jon Snow and we cut to the next scene. I actually could have done without this scene, and I think that it would have been a better segue to go straight from Sam telling Gilly about the Wall to Jon and Ygritte getting ready to climb it. I’m still really struggling to get invested in Bran’s story. In the books I didn’t really like it at all until A Dance With Dragons, and I’m finding it kind of equally boring on the show. I’d hoped that Jojen and Meera would breathe some life into the story, but nope. It’s still the most tedious road trip ever, and Meera and Osha’s sniping at each other isn’t making it any better.
The first scene with Jon and Ygritte in this episode made me believe their relationship more than any other scene in the show or books. Ygritte’s speech to Jon that they should take care of each other since they can’t trust lords or kings to take care of them was wonderfully delivered and made me feel a lot more emotionally invested in this pair. Later on, as they are actually climbing the Wall, this theory is put to the test, and they are literally cut loose by Orell, forcing Jon and Ygritte to struggle to the top on their own.
I loved the actual scenes of the climb up the Wall. It felt suitably epic, and I suspect that there were a couple of scary moments for people who haven’t read the books. The final shot of Jon and Ygritte standing on top of the Wall was a little over the top and edging into romance novel cover territory, but I liked it. I think we’ve been given a real sense of the scale of the Wall and what the stakes are for the Wildlings who are desperate to come south of it.
I enjoyed Arya’s archery lesson with Anguy. I think that showing Arya learning these skills on her journey is good. It always bothers me when characters in fantasy stories are just inexplicably good at fighting, so it’s nice to see that, for Arya, it’s a process that she’s really just beginning.
I was prepared to hate Melisandre showing up to retrieve Gendry (I was already pretty certain we won’t be getting Edric Storm), but this turned out to be surprisingly great. The interaction between Melisandre, Beric, and Thoros was a great way to show viewers a little more about all of these characters and their religion. Also, it was kind of amusing to see Melisandre, the lady who gave birth to a murderous shadow baby, get kind of freaked out when she sees Beric.
I’m quickly coming to dislike the Theon scenes as they’re starting to just be torture porn. In the books, Theon basically disappears for two books, and when we see him again it’s after he’s been tortured by Ramsay. It’s shocking, and the reader is moved to pity (hopefully) for Theon because no one deserves what happens to him. I understand why the show runners want to keep Theon around on the show, but I don’t like feeling as if I’m expected to be entertained by long, drawn-out scenes of Theon being tortured.
Robb negotiates with the Freys and Edmure makes an ass of himself. Brynden Tully is entertaining. Honestly, though, the Red Wedding can’t come soon enough.
Roose Bolton is becoming one of my favorite characters to watch, and this show does awkward dinner scenes wonderfully. Brienne is a ball of fury in the pink dress that Roose has picked to try and humiliate her. I love the interaction between Jaime and Brienne here as well. The evolution of their relationship to being something very like friendship is illustrated perfectly as she helps him cut his food and when she gently restrains her hand when she’s ready to leap across the table and stab Roose Bolton in the neck.
Olenna and Tywin together is a scene I’ve been anticipating all season, and it’s everything I hoped it would be.
Loras and Sansa are also awkward, but this is another surprisingly sweet scene. Sansa is so hopeful, and Loras is trying hard to be kind because (I think) he’s a fundamentally decent fellow. I did, however, catch that Loras said “French sleeves” which is a sloppy bit of writing. French anything doesn’t make any sense in a world with no France. (ETA: Upon reading other recaps, maybe it’s “fringed sleeves”? Still, it sounded like “French” both times that I watched the episode.)
Tyrion and Cersei are having a rare moment of solidarity as they ponder just how terrible things are going to be for everyone if they’re forced to marry Sansa and Loras. It’s the most vulnerable that we’ve seen either of these characters in a while, especially with each other. It was nice to see them both let their guard down a little and actually act like brother and sister as they’re united in the worry for Jaime and their fear of their father.
My heart broke a little for everyone when Tyrion went to break the news to Sansa.
Varys and Littlefinger talk in front of the Iron Throne, and it’s very, very bad. Littlefinger has found out Ros was spying for Varys and has had her killed. I can think of several reasons why this is a good time to think of getting rid of Ros on the show, but the way her death was written is disgusting and misogynistic. We don’t even get an actual scene with Ros. We get Littlefinger gleefully telling Varys how clever Littlefinger is for figuring things out and disposing of Ros–a “poor investment”. Then, we cut to a scene of Joffrey setting aside his crossbow, at which point the camera moves to rest on a very dead Ros, who is only partially clothed, tied to a bedpost, with crossbow bolts sticking out of her (including her crotch). This is probably the most egregious and sickening scene of sexualized violence that I’ve ever seen on this show, and it’s particularly upsetting that this is the way the writers chose to treat a character that viewers have come to know and care about. Ros has grown significantly as a character, especially this season, but in the end the show runners and writers reduced her to a plot device to further hammer home (just in case, I guess, that people haven’t paid attention so far) just how evil Littlefinger and Joffrey are. Even more insultingly, they reduced her to an object for Littlefinger to give, for Joffrey to destroy, and for the viewers of the show to ogle.
This show is just getting better and better every week this season. “Kissed by Fire” has some of my favorite scenes for Arya and Jaime, and it advances some important plot lines.
**Spoilers under the cut.**
The fight between Sandor Clegane and Beric Dondarrian and the subsequent reveal of Beric’s resurrections by Thoros were scenes that I’ve been looking forward to since the beginning of the show, and they did a wonderful job with it. The fight itself was rather short but felt suitably significant, and the terror that the Hound feels at the sight of Beric’s flaming sword was conveyed perfectly.
Beric’s resurrection and the discussion about the duel provide the best Arya scenes we’ve gotten this season, and when Arya wistfully asked Thoros if he could resurrect someone without a head, not six times but just once, my heart broke for her a little. In the books, Arya’s journey is deeply concerned with matters of faith and the search for something to believe in, and this gives me a lot of hope that this will be true of her journey on the show as well. Arya was never a devout believer in the gods of either of her parents, and Syrio Forel introduced her to the idea of a singular god of Death. Here we see her being not just introduced to an idea, but shown the power of another god, and it’s an interesting exploration of what happens when you are basically forced to believe that a god is real only to find out that that god still can’t give you what you want most in the world.
Another fantastic scene with Arya is when Gendry tells her that he will be staying on with the Brotherhood Without Banners. Maisie Williams is possibly the finest of the young actors on the show, and the hurt on her face and her plaintive insistence that she could be Gendry’s family made me want to cry forever. It was sad when Arya and Gendry parted ways with Hot Pie, but at least they were leaving him in a place where he might be able to be happy and safe (as much as it’s possible to be in Westeros). Gendry isn’t removing himself from danger, though, and he has been emotional support to Arya in a way that Hot Pie wasn’t. While I understand Gendry’s reasons for staying, I also have a lot of sympathy for Arya and her feelings of being betrayed and abandoned by someone she has grown to rely upon.
I have a deep and abiding appreciation for Tormund Giantsbane’s face.
The scene with Jon and Ygritte in the cave was done as well as it possibly could have been, I think. I’m not a huge fan of Jon Snow until A Dance With Dragons, and I’ve always felt that the Jon/Ygritte relationship was not as well-developed as it could be, but I found this scene to be surprisingly sweet and nice to watch in the great sea of bad things happening to every other character on the show. I was a little surprised at just how much Ygritte’s desire to just never leave that cave got to me. I love Rose Leslie in this role, and she did a superb job in this episode.
Roose Bolton is so hilariously evil.
Qyburn is creepy.
Cersei talks to Peter Baelish about the Tyrells.
Olenna and Tyrion are talking money, and this is another amazing scene that wasn’t in the books. I’m thrilled that we get to see so much of Olenna. The Tyrells were kept sort of deliberately mysterious in the novels, but I am loving that they are such a big part of the show.
Too bad Loras is kind of an idiot and spills the family secrets to strange men. Whoops!
I do find it refreshing to have a sex scene that doesn’t involve six half-naked women.
Lord Karstark kills the Lannister children and Robb chops his head off. I really could do without Talisa. Also–Oh, Robb. You have the worst ideas.
I was not expecting to see Selyse and Shireen Baratheon this season, but here they are! Shireen is darling, and I love her because she loves Davos. Selyse is very Lady Macbeth.
Selyse has fetus jars.
I’m actually really interested to see where things go with the show’s portrayal of Selyse. She’s a sort of fascinating character, really very different from all the other women in the books, and I’d love to see her get a bigger role earlier on than I expected.
Jaime and Brienne are bathing, and Jaime tells Brienne the story of why he killed the mad king. This scene was, without reservations, absolutely perfectly done. I love the bath as a visual metaphor, and I love the way Brienne’s eyes slowly widen and well up with tears as she listens, and I love her getting angry and forgetting her self-consciousness (Gwendoline Christie has a fabulous body), and I love that the nudity here didn’t feel intended to be sexual or titillating at all. Honestly, just give these actors some awards already.
I’m not sure how I feel about the Dany storyline these days. I like a lot about it, but I’m kind of anxious to get to the parts where we start to see her fucking up left and right, struggling to learn how to be a ruler, and we can stop getting to see her as a white savior. I’ve always felt like the Dany story subverts a lot of white savior tropes, but seeing it on the show, I feel like we’re being encouraged to think a lot better of her than we are of book!Dany. I liked Grey Worm choosing to keep his “slave name” (in Dany’s words), but I don’t know if the scene went far enough to be critical of what Dany has done.
I did sort of enjoy the brief moment of Jorah/Barristan comradery.
I adore Lannister family meetings. No one is ever happy when they are over. I felt really bad for Cersei in this one, though. When she realises that her dad is serious and starts begging him not to make her marry again, I just wanted to hug her. She’s not just proud or angry, she’s legit terrified, which is pretty understandable after spending like 20 years married to a guy who beat and raped her. There are a lot of good reasons for people to not like Cersei, but if people don’t have any sympathy for her in this scene they’re probably terrible human beings.
Holy shit Shireen’s song is creepy. I guess we won’t be seeing Patchface, then?
“And Now His Watch is Ended” delivered some of my favorite scenes so far this season. We got lots of Varys and lots of Olenna–even Varys and Olenna together!–and we also get to see a major turning point for Daenerys.
**Spoilers under the cut.**
The episode opens on a shot of Jaime’s hand, which is now hanging around his neck. This mostly reminded me that it’s been a couple of episodes now since we’ve seen Davos, which sucks because he’s one of my favorite characters. Jaime, meanwhile, is is sorry shape. He’s weak from months of imprisonment; he’s injured and probably suffering from shock and blood loss; and he’s sunk into a deep depression by the loss of the sword hand that is so central to his identity. Also, he just drank horse piss. It’s really kind of awful to see anyone at their lowest point, and this is it for Jaime. Broken Jaime is an enormous change from both the confident, handsome, laughing Jaime of season one and the sarcastic, imprisoned, but somewhat more introspective Jaime of season two.
Also hard to watch is Brienne’s sheer helplessness to do anything for Jaime. This is expanded upon in the second scene with this pair in this episode as Brienne tries to get Jaime to eat against his protests that he’s dying. Brienne knows what he did for her, but she doesn’t understand why, and I don’t think Jaime understands her determination to see him live either. The truth, I think, is that neither of them are monsters and that they both have at least some sense of honor and justice that guides their actions.
The thing that rang false to me in the second Brienne/Jaime scene was when Brienne tells Jaime that he “sound[s] like a bloody woman.” A very generous interpretation of that is that Brienne is making a calculated statement that she doesn’t really believe, but that she knows he will feel shamed by, in order to try and snap Jaime out of his depression. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the case. It bothers me to hear those words come from Brienne’s mouth.
The second scene of the episode is the first of THREE Varys scenes. Tyrion is visiting Varys to find out if Varys can help him on his quest for revenge against whoever is responsible for trying to have him killed in the Battle of Blackwater. Tyrion is out of luck on that score, but we get to hear the story of how Varys was cut as a boy and how he managed to work his way up to his current position. Conleth Hill is delightful in the rule of Varys, and Tyrion’s face when Varys finally opens the crate is absolutely priceless.
The Night’s Watch is still at Craster’s, and no one is happy about it.
Sam goes to visit Gilly and the baby, and Gilly has no time for him unless he knows a way to save her son.
Bran is having traumatic dreams about his family still. This time it’s Catelyn. Honestly, Bran’s story is one that always bored me in the books, and it’s still mostly boring me on the show.
Next up is Varys again, but this time he’s with Ros. They have an amusing chat about Podrick, and then Ros tells Varys that Littlefinger is planning to spirit Sansa away.
Joffrey is giving Margaery a rather gruesome tour of the Great Sept while Cersei and Olenna are discussing wedding plans and how stupid men are.
I love Joffrey being so smitten with Margaery in spite of himself. It’s like every once in a while he will think that he wants to kill her or that he hates women or something, but then he shakes it off because she knows just what to say to control him and because he’s intrigued by her. She’s not domineering like Cersei, and she’s not passive (or at least passive-seeming) like Sansa, and the people love her in a way that Joffrey has never seen the people of the city love anyone.
I really enjoyed the conversation between Cersei and Olenna as well. Cersei doesn’t like or trust the Tyrell’s, and she’s jealous of Margaery, but she also seemed to have just a moment in this episode when she felt like Olenna understood her.
Theon is still traveling with Iwan Rheon and telling him EVERYTHING. Oh, Theon, you poor stupid boy. I did tear up a little at “My real father lost his head at King’s Landing,” though. I’m fairly certain now that Iwan Rheon is Ramsay Snow, and his look of almost orgasmic joy as the tied Theon back to the cross thingy was downright disturbing.
It’s now Cersei’s turn to try and get Tywin to love her, but it doesn’t work.
The third and final Varys scene is Varys with Olenna, and it’s wonderful.
Margaery seeks out Sansa to make friends and to suggest that Sansa could marry Loras. I’m actually a little bugged by this change, although I know it’s trivial and that it really, truly doesn’t make a difference which Tyrell son is offered to Sansa. I even understand why the show writers wouldn’t want to introduce another name of a character that we never get to meet, but there were reasons why Loras wasn’t the son suggested for Sansa in the book, and those reasons still exist in the show.
Craster and Mormont meet their ends and Sam runs off into the night with Gilly. I thought they did a great job of conveying the chaos of these events, but I would have liked Sam to stay and hear the Old Bear’s last words before leaving.
Arya and Gendry have finally reached the lair of the Brotherhood Without Banners. We get a better sense of who these men are, and we get to meet Beric Dondarrion, who is inexplicably sexy for a dude who has been so obviously terribly injured. Hopefully we don’t have to wait two weeks for the trial by combat that the Hound is facing.
The scene that has had everyone talking is where Daenerys hands over her dragon, Drogon, in exchange for 8000 Unsullied soldiers. Honestly, this scene is everything I could have hoped. I’ve always felt that Game of Thrones struggles to convey the epicness of the story that is being told, but this was indeed epic. We got wide shots of rows upon rows of Unsullied. We got Drogon flying and making angry seagull noises. We got the glorious reveal that Dany spoke Valyrian the whole time. We got the smoky ruins of Astapor and Dany dropping her whip as she led her army out while all three dragons fly overhead. I was so disappointed in the Dany storyline in season 2, and it’s really gratifying to see this turning point in her story getting the treatment I think it deserves.
This episode opens with Riverrun, Hoster Tully’s dead body, and Edmure Tully’s failure at, well, basically everything. I was happy to see Robb get to actually act like a king and show that he really is good at strategy and war. One of the bad things about not getting to actually see many battles on screen in this show is that they have to find some other way to communicate this sort of information, and the scene with Robb, Edmure, and the Blackfish works well to establish Robb’s competence as a military leader.
It’s also a nice change to see Robb without Talisa, who I think is one of the biggest mistakes the showrunners have made because the Robb/Talisa relationship undermines the more sympathetic portrayal of Robb in the books. Show!Robb is in desperate need of something to make us feel bad for him, and his anger with Edmure’s ruining of his plans helps with that. It’s a mistake that isn’t Robb’s fault, and Robb’s frustration with his inability to control everything is relatable in a way that his stupid, selfish, callously oath-breaking marriage to Talisa isn’t.
The small council meeting is mildly amusing, and I laughed out loud at Varys’s face while he was watching Cersei’s and Tyrion’s shenanigans. Cersei and Tyrion, however, come off as childish and petty in this scene, and I thought it was a little over the top.
“The Bear and the Maiden Fair”! I love when they include songs from literature in film adaptations. It adds flavor to the world we’re watching. We can’t really get all the folk tales and stuff that George R.R. Martin includes in his books, but including songs is easier than including people telling stories, and it makes me happy.
Jaime, Brienne really was beating you.
Jaime’s warning to Brienne about her impending rape is basically straight out of the book, and it’s kind of heartbreaking. A big part of Brienne’s journey and her growth as a character is her ongoing process of realising just how naive she is. I don’t believe that it didn’t occur to her that she might be raped, but on some level she trusts Jaime and to hear his warning is pretty devastating to her. His advice to her to not fight, to “close your eyes and pretend it’s Renly,” is, I think, well-meant, but Brienne knows that it’s not that simple and forces Jaime to admit that if he were a woman he’d make them kill him.
Awww. Hot Pie. This turned out to be my favorite scene of this episode. I hope that Hot Pie has a nice life, and it’s nice to see something good happening to someone in this series. His gift to Arya was sweet, and I had tears in my eyes as Arya and Gendry rode away from their friend.
Back at Riverrun, we get Catelyn and the Blackfish talking. Honestly, the best things about this scene are the Tully armor (it looks like fish scales!) and the gorgeous view from the window they’re sitting in front of.
Talisa is still looking distinctly un-regal as she patches up the two Lannister boys that Edmure captured. You’d think that by this point she’d be making at least some effort to look and act like a queen, but nope. Also, these are beautiful children and I don’t think things are going to end well for them. Sorry, Lannister babies, but I’ve read the book.
Holy shit, dead horse art!
They’re moving Jon’s storyline with the Wildlings along at a pretty good clip this season, which I think is good. I’m a little bummed that we haven’t gotten to meet Varamyr Sixskins, but I think they’re just going to stick with Orell at this point. I’m curious to see whether we get one or two battles at the Wall this season. I was thinking it would probably just be one, but I think I might be pleasantly surprised. It’s also making me think that we could be seeing material from A Dance With Dragons in season 4, which makes me really hope that another book will be coming out soon. If they keep up at this pace on the show, we could definitely be through the end of ADWD by the end of season 5.
Craster’s Keep already? But no Sam the Slayer, yet? Sam gets to see the miracle of birth, but I’m starting to wonder what’s going on with this storyline, to be honest. There haven’t been any huge changes, really, but all the little changes are adding up and I’m not really sure why they are skipping some things.
Poor Theon. Also, dude, there is NO WAY that this isn’t a trap. Do not trust this pasty guy.
Stannis is being so creepy that Melisandre almost comes out of this scene looking normal, but then she starts talking about sacrificing people.
Jorah and Barristan are arguing and trying to ingratiate themselves to Daenerys, but she actually has somewhat different ideas than both of them.
Yeah, Kraznys, Daenerys is going to “give” you a dragon. I hope that works out for you.
I hope we get to see a lot more of Missandei since they killed off the rest of Dany’s handmaidens. Also, Missandei’s little smile when Dany said “but we are not men” is one of my favorite moments of the episode.
Tyrion is trying to figure out what Littlefinger has done with the finances of the kingdom. Mostly, he’s put the crown in a ridiculous amount of debt, especially to the Iron Bank of Braavos. I’m glad that we are seeing this come up early in the season, as it’s important to know for future events.
Podrick’s reward is a ridiculous scene. I love Podrick, and I want good things to happen to him, but the introduction of the girls was absurd and the “Podrick is a sex god” thing was funny but unnecessary. I guess I understand having some comic relief in such an otherwise serious/horrifying episode, but still.
Oh, Theon, I told you so. This is the first of back-to-back attempted rape scenes, and it’s suitably horrifying. I’ve seen it compared to a similar scene in Deliverance, and there are similarities, but I hope that I don’t see people joking about this scene the way some people do about the movie scene.
I really hope Iwan Rheon turns out to be Ramsay Snow. I don’t know what else could be going on here except that Ramsay is playing some sick game with Theon, and I will be horribly disappointed if that doesn’t turn out to be the case.
I am so incredibly glad that we don’t get to see what is happening to Brienne in the second attempted rape scene of this episode. The sound of her screaming and fighting is more viscerally disturbing than anything that they could have shown us, and it avoids giving viewers any chance to eroticize what is happening to her. Brienne’s shell-shocked look and her silence when we see her again further confirms that this is a traumatic experience, even for someone as physically strong and capable as she is.
The last three minutes or so of the episode are excellently done. Jaime’s happy (or at least smug) to have been able to rescue Brienne, and he’s feeling invincible, but he should have just stopped talking while he was ahead.
Bran is getting handsome. Also, the boy who plays Jojen sure has grown up since he was on Doctor Who.
Osha has no time for this magic dreams shit.
I still really don’t like Talisa. I also can’t stand Show!Robb because of it.
Lord Bolton’s face. There is no good news.
Except we’re finally moving toward Riverrun and hopefully this means the Robb/Catelyn storyline will be getting back on track to where it was in the books. I’m a little bummed that we don’t get to see Catelyn nursing her dad on the show.
Whoops for Theon! I’m glad this scene was brief. There’s so much ugliness in the books/show that I could do without any kind of torture porn. I understand why they wanted to show some of what happens to Theon on-screen in the show, but it could get real gross real fast if they aren’t careful.
In the Jaime and Brienne show, Jaime is trying to see how much of an enormous dick he can be on this rather uneventful (so far) road trip they’re on.
“We don’t get to choose who we love.” I really like when Jaime has human moments and when he manages to get Brienne to show some of her humanity.
You probably should have killed that old man.
Poor Cersei. Sorry your son is a huge douchebag. Your motherly advice sucks, but he could at least take it with a little more grace. I kind of feel like Cersei’s internalized misogyny is at least somewhat responsible for Joffrey’s general misogyny, and this scene is a great example of how that shit will backfire on one. Just because Cersei thinks of herself as exceptional doesn’t make her son see her as anything other than just another weak, useless woman.
I like that Sansa has someone to look out for her, although I don’t really understand why Shae would care that much. Although I guess this goes back to the last episode where Ros tells Shae basically that women need to look out for each other, so maybe Shae is just a pretty okay sort of person.
Loras doesn’t remember Sansa at all. I wish that it was a little more clear in the show that this is partly because he’s so absorbed in his grief for Renly. There’s a deleted scene from season 2 that I think would have helped with establishing that.
Diana Rigg is perfect as Olenna. Most of the dialogue in this scene is lifted straight from the book, which is good. George R.R. Martin writes excellent dialogue. However, the things that I loved best about this scene were Margaery’s embarrassed little laugh when she introduced Sansa to her grandmother, “That’s a pity,” and Margaery’s face/shrug when Sansa tells them Joffrey’s a monster. Margaery and Olenna are both just like, “Welp, I guess we’ll have to poison this one.” LOL.
Lord Karstark is so right.
I like Catelyn’s story all the way up to the point where she says that she’s responsible for every bad thing that has happened to her family. I think it is in character and fits with the characterization of Catelyn in the books that she would feel at least a little bad about her feelings for Jon Snow. However, there is NO WAY that Catelyn would ever blame herself so completely for the state of her family at this point. I’m really starting to be pissed that they aren’t giving her a chance on the show to be a voice of reason to Robb like she was in the books. Instead they’re pushing her away and weakening her character, and it’s disgusting.
Jon and Mance are still north of the Wall. We get to see Orell, a warg in action, but all he saw was dead Night’s Watch guys.
Poor Sam. I don’t like that Show!Sam is being made to be so pathetic. In the books, Sam is cowardly and fat and a terrible fighter, but he’s also literate and clever and good with the ravens. Even early on in the books, we’re shown that Sam has some valuable skills that make up, at least a little bit, for his failings as a soldier.
❤ Mormont forbidding Sam to die. And fuck you, Rast.
I love how self-assured Jojen is. And I like Meera a lot. Hopefully they will inject some life into the REAL most boring road trip ever. The Bran storyline is one that I don’t really love in the books, so I’m curious to see if the show can make it interesting.
Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie meet the Brotherhood without banners.
I don’t love this scene with Tyrion and Shae. However, after watching it twice I’m wondering if maybe they are planting the seeds of jealousy that might make Shae betray Tyrion later on.
The scene with Joffrey and Margaery is probably my favorite scene so far in this season. Show!Joffrey seems a bit more clever than Book!Joffrey, but he’s still nowhere close to a match for Margaery Tyrell and she plays him like a fiddle. “Do you think I could?” and “Would you like to watch me [kill someone]?” are perfectly written and delivered and another example (like Cersei’s line about Tyrion’s nose) of things that I think are great fun to watch if you’ve read the books and know what is going to happen.
Who the hell is Iwan Rheon playing? Is he Reek/Ramsay? Or is he a character that’s not in the book? I don’t even know, but I’m actually kind of excited to see what they do with Theon this season. A little disappointed that Iwan Rheon doesn’t have a beard, but I guess I can deal with that.
Osha and Meera’s conversation. “Some people will always need help.”
Moving along with Arya and the Hound. I hate cliffhangers, though.
Speaking of cliffhangers… Whoops! Brienne should definitely have killed that old man.
I was a little let down that we didn’t get to see the battle between the Night’s Watch and the zombies at the Fist of the First Men, but the black screen and screaming was pretty creepy and I guess I understand why they might be trying to save their budget by not showing it to us. Alternatively, they’re trying to keep a little mystery about the bad stuff that is beyond the Wall, which I guess they managed to do.
I’m curious to see how long they keep Lord Commander Mormont around, since they haven’t really laid the groundwork yet for the big-ish event related to him.
I still love Rose Leslie as Ygritte.
I was thrilled to see a giant. I was slightly concerned that they might cut the giants to save money. However, I still want to see polar bear mounts and Varamyr Sixskins, which have not been introduced yet.
Tormund Giantsbane is not as big as I imagined him when reading the books, but I have a thing for handsome red-headed guys with beards so I was pleased.
I wasn’t sure about Ciaran Hinds as Mance Rayder, but it looks like they’re going in a somewhat different direction with the character for the show and I think I like him. The first meeting between Mance and Jon Snow was satisfactory.
However, where are Dalla and Val?! I didn’t even see them in the background, and I don’t know how they’re going to do A Feast for Crows without them.
SEXPOSITION. Less than 15 minutes into the first episode of the season and courtesy of Bronn. There’s not even very much exposition going on here. However, the boy who plays Podrick is precious, and I want to hug him every time he’s on screen.
Cersei and Tyrion! Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey are excellent together, and I laughed out loud at Cersei’s comment about Tyrion’s nose.
Tyrion and Tywin! They lifted the dialogue almost exactly from the book, and Charles Dance’s execution is perfection. Also, Peter Dinklage should win an Emmy for this scene alone.
I can already tell I’m going to love show!Margaery even more than I love book!Margaery, which is a lot. I can’t wait to meet Olenna!
Joffrey gets in a great jab at his mother over dinner. I actually feel bad for Cersei.
Also, I’m in love with the fabrics on this show. Joffrey’s dinner outfit is fabulous.
Sansa is beautiful. Show!Shae still sort of doesn’t do it for me.
Littlefinger is still creepy, but I like Ros for warning Shae to watch over Sansa.
Davos is alive! Salladhor Saan is the handsomest pirate in Westeros, but Davos ignores his good advice.
I didn’t care for the Robb/Catelyn/Talisa scene. At all. I think I just really don’t like Talisa because I think that the Robb/Talisa dynamic makes Robb a much less sympathetic character than the Robb/Jeyne story in the book. Sorry your oldest son is a selfish douchebag, Catelyn.
DRAGONS! They are less cute now, but more awesome with spikes and stuff.
Jorah is a creepy dirtbag.
The Unsullied don’t look like I imagined them, but in the absence of actual eunuchs being available for the show I guess it makes sense to make them look tough.
Barristan Selmy is back! Which was probably my favorite part of this episode since I missed him last season. They did what I pretty much expected them to do with introducing him, but I’m a little sad that Strong Belwas seems to have been cut.