Monday, 6 May 2013

Game of Thrones recap/review: The Climb

Kissed by Fire recap/review

After two weeks of pure action, this week's Game of Thrones seemed like it was going to be a little quieter. Wrong.

Beyond the Wall
The episode opens with Sam, desperately trying to build a fire for Gilly and the baby. It takes Gilly adivising him for the fire to get going, and when it does, Sam tells stories of his life the other side of the Wall. Far from the misery he actually suffered, he tells Gilly of the camaraderie between the Brothers of the Night's Watch, and lets slip that his family is sort of important.

It's a quiet start to the episode, but ominous all the same, as the pair sit surrounded by a darkness which is hiding who knows what.

Meanwhile, Jon Snow and company have made it to the Wall. After last week's sudden coupling between Jon and Ygritte, this week I felt they were much more in tune than we've previously seen them.

As Jon straps on snow shoe grip things Ygritte has stolen for him, Ygritte tells him she knows Jon is a loyal person, and that he didn't stop being a crow when he joined Mance Rayder. Jon is absolutely stunned, but I'm not - we've always known Ygritte is pretty clever.

Ygritte points out that the Night's Watch don't care if Jon dies, and Mance Rayder doesn't care if she dies - the two are just soldiers in their various armies. Instead, Ygritte and Jon must be loyal to each other.

That loyalty is shown when the two get into difficulty while climbing the Wall, which they spend much of the episode doing. It looks like horrendous work, and gets even more difficult when Ygritte causes a minor avalanche of sorts. Ygritte and Jon fall, and are left dangling while Tormund Giantsbane does his best to hold on to them. It's Orell who sorts the problem - by cutting the rope to Jon and Ygritte.

Luckily, Jon manages to grip onto the ice on time, and the two survive, only to start climbing again. When they finally reach the others at the top, it at first seems completely exhausting. Then Ygritte sees the view of her world from the top of the Wall, and the two find the energy to walk to the other side, where Ygritte casts her eyes on the other side of the Wall for the first time in her life.

The sight is overwhelming, and Jon and Ygritte kiss, while the greenery of the Seven Kingdoms is laid out below them.

Arduous as the climb was, it's just the start of their journey, and I don't imagine it will be the easiest.

King's Landing
Come on, we've all been waiting for a showdown between Tywin Lannister and Lady Olenna, and this week we got it.

The two pitted their wits against each other as Tywin revealed his plan to marry Cersei to Ser Loras. Lady Olenna objects, citing Cersei's age, while Tywin tries to convince her that it's the right decision.

When that doesn't work, Tywin says that Ser Loras needs to control his reputation, and the discussion turns into one about gay rights. Lady Olenna sees nothing wrong with Ser Loras's behaviour, and thinks it is natural for all men surrounded by men to sometimes have relations with each other. Tywin is a hard arse, and says it's wrong.

So Lady Olenna goes one better, and pulls out the Cersei/Jaime card. Alas, this time Lady Olenna loses, and Tywin's threat of drafting Ser Loras to the King's Guard (no marriage, no babies, no continuing the Tyrell line) wins out. I doubt this is the last time we'll see the pair fighting.

Meanwhile, Ser Loras and Sansa go on a really, really awkward date, where Sansa fails to read any of the signs that Ser Loras is really not interested in her. Honestly, she's grown up a lot, but Sansa can still be really thick at times - her ability to read people is non-existent (especially when it comes to Littlefinger, but more on that later).

Sansa's happiness is shortlived, as, after a discussion with his sister over who is suffering more, Tyrion arrives to break the news that Sansa is to marry him. Unfortunately, he has to do it in front of Shae, although he does try to warn her that she will want to hear the news in a different way.

And then comes the most chilling bit of the entire episode. Varys heads to the throne room, where Littlefinger proceeds to tell him that this time Littlefinger has won. In a discussion about chaos, Littlefinger shares his theory that chaos is a ladder, going up and up. Some people fall, some keep climbing, but it's all about exploiting what you can to get to the top, something Littlefinger has done.

As he talks, he reveals that he knows Ros betrayed him, although he never mentions her by name. His words become the voiceover for a scene in which Sansa, with Shae next to her, is seen crying as she watches a ship sail away, a ship she could have been on if she hadn't been taken in by Margaery. And as Littlefinger continues speaking, telling Varys he has reassigned Ros, we cut to Joffrey, sitting in his chamber with his crossbow. The camera drifts across the room, and we see Ros tied up, dead, with arrows all over her body. She's the human sacrifice of Joffrey's sick desires.

No Stannis Baratheon this week.

In a bid to try and get the numbers of his army up, Robb Stark meets with two representatives of Walder Frey.

They say Walder will help Robb, but only in return for an apology and Harrenhal. Oh, and Robb's uncle Edmure Tully has to marry one of Walder's daughters. As Robb, Catelyn, Edmure and Blackfish discuss the terms, there is a hint of comedy running through the tense proceedings. I love that Game of Thrones can make me laugh out loud while at the same time fearing what is going to come next. There were plenty of those moments in this episode.

Edmure eventually gives in, and so Robb manages to save his army from the brink of extinction.

On the road
Arya is practising her arrow skills when Melisandre arrives in the forest. Upon speaking to Beric and discovering that he's been brought back to life six times, Melisandre is stunned.

Still, that's not the reason she came to see the Brotherhood Without Banners. No, she wants Gendry. I'm not sure why - does she know he's Robert Baratheon's son? I presume so, as otherwise he's quite a random person to take.

Arya confronts Melisandre, who seems pretty scared when she looks into the younger girl's eyes and predicts death. That's not the only prediction she makes, she's also convinced that Gendry will become a kingmaker.

Meanwhile, somewhere else in another forest Osha and Meera Reed are arguing over who can skin rabbits and kill rabbits together. Bran puts a stop to their argument, although it takes him a while since Osha is as stubborn as a donkey.

The argument properly stops when Jojen Reed has a vision, leaving the others terrified.  

Wherever Roose Bolton lives
In another really funny moment, we see Jaime Lannister trying to eat his dinner with one hand, while Brienne talks to Roose Bolton about her mission for Catelyn Stark.

Roose agrees to let Jaime go to King's Landing, but says Brienne is to be held for treason. I'm not sure what Roose is up to, but it seems like he's trying to keep his bread buttered on both sides.

Somewhere dark and dingy
Oh, poor Theon. I am feeling a bit sorry for him now, as Ramsay Snow (Iwan Rheon is just brilliant in this role) continues to torture him.

We're not much closer to knowing where Theon is, although he does guess Ramsay is a Karstark. After initially implying Theon is right, Ramsay flips and cuts Theon's finger off (I really couldn't watch this bit), telling Theon he might have been lying when he pretended to be a Karstark.
Who are you, Ramsay?!

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