Each season of Game of Thrones has one episode written by AsoIaF author George R.R. Martin, and while we didn’t get the pyrotechnics of “Blackwater” or the surprise appearance of White Walkers as we did in “The Pointy End,” there were still plenty of memorable moments this hour.
And a ton of quotes that will have new meaning once the season’s over.
There are only three episodes of Game of Thrones left and while I can say we’re racing to the finish line, the players are certainly en route.
Does anyone else squee a bit when a new city pops up in the opening credits? This week we get Yunkai.
We haven’t seen this new slaver city yet, and we never would, if their representative got his way. You can’t blame a guy for trying to bribe Dany (Queen of the Andals, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons, It Girl of the Seven Kingdoms, etc.). Those dragons get bigger every week. And they still manage to not look cheesy at all. Dany looked so damn pleased with herself, chilling on her sofa, tossing her babies some meat.
So, is Dany’s vendetta against slavery more important than her end goal of the Iron Throne? Ser Jorah doesn’t seem to understand why. You’d think he’d learn, being that he’s only in Dany’s service because he’s an exiled slaver himself. He’s not loyal to her cause. He’s loyal to her, but for his own selfish reasons. And that’s why she doesn’t love him. What’s the Dothraki word for “Friend-zone’d”?
Just a logistics question: how does she plan on fighting a war across the Narrow Sea if she’s got 200,000+ civilians with her? Will they follow her on ships? Will they wave her off from the shore and then fight amongst themselves? (This exact situation was handled pretty realistically in the final season of Spartacus, by the way, so it’s a dilemma fresh in my mind.)
Meanwhile, Robb’s army has shrunk so much, you pretty much never see anyone who isn’t a Tully or his spouse. This isn’t a good sign. He’s barely fighting a war. But he sure is getting naked with his wife. In a timely announcment for Mother’s Day, we learn Talisa is with wolf cub. Robb made a huge mistake marrying her, but, dammit, they’re so sweet together. It really makes you believe that a love match is much better than the alternative.
Sansa would agree.
I get where she’s coming from; she hasn’t seen all of the incredible things Tyrion’s done and said and, frankly, she’s pretty dim, so she wouldn’t appreciate his great wit. Maybe he should slap Joffrey in front of her. Then she’d come around.
I’m not into Shae pulling the whole psycho girlfriend routine on Tyrion. Shae should be more pragmatic. She knows her place in this world all too well, sadly. And if she didn’t know it before Ros got skewered, she knows it now. So it’s just off-putting to see her try to trap Tyrion with his own words and act more jealous than she should be. Yet, TV-Shae has a more genuine romantic interest in Tyrion than her book counterpoint. I just picture Shae being more mercenary. Like Bronn—who was much-missed these past few episodes. Need more Bronn!
The other big love match of the season is Jon and Ygritte. Ygritte saying anything with her accent kills me. “Drooms.” I loved the final scene between them, when Jon sadly told her that the Wildlings can’t win the war they’ve started. That moment when Ygritte corrected Jon’s “you” into “us” was so spot-on and poignant.
But this episode wasn’t called “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” for nothing.
To quote The Stranger in The Big Lebowski: “Sometimes, you eat the bear, and, sometimes, well, the bear gets his meal taken away by Jaime freaking Lannister proving his awesomeness.” I’ve been biting my tongue as people who haven’t read the books hated on Jaime, but now I can shout my Kingslayer love from the rooftops. And rescuing Brienne isn’t even the best thing the reformed knight does. But it’s still really dramatic and cool. Kudos to the bear. And to actors who are brave enough to work against a giant brown bear no matter how well-trained he is. That was some Emmy-worthy animal acting.
The only thing that would’ve made the scene better is if Jaime nonchalantly pushed Locke into the bear pit. That would’ve mirrored the act that made every viewer hate Jaime in the first place in such a perfect way.
Other points of interest and Quote of the Week nominees:
- “Goodbye, Ser Jaime.” That Brienne called Jaime by his actual name says a lot about her change of heart towards him, even before he returns to collect her.
- Tywin Lannister is worth his weight in gold. The slooow walk up the steps to the thone. Ha! Joffrey didn’t need to be slapped to shut up. “We could arrange to have you carried [up the stairs in the Tower of the Hand].” Still, I really, really can’t wait to see every doubter’s face when they see Dany’s dragons with their own eyes.
- That was an interesting aerial shot of the Blackwater battle aftermath. Gendry is like a real storybook character, a young orphan discovering he is really a secret heir. Only Game of Thrones is no sweet fairy tale….
- “You pay me to kill people who bother you. Evil notions come free.”—Bronn
- “What would I do [across the Narrow Sea?] Juggle?” Oh, that’s rich, Tyrion. Nicely done, George.
- Tormund Giantsbane giving lessons on lovemaking. Who says all wildlings are savages, eh?
- Speaking of sex ed: “Yes, sweet girl. My mother taught me.”—Margaery. Sansa, you idiot.
- It was so different reading Theon’s flashbacks in A Dance With Dragons vs. being there as they happen. On the one hand, weeks of torture scenes are getting a bit old. I know it’s following the books’ timeline, but it is tedious. However, I’d hate to not see Alfie Allen for two seasons. The other benefit of Theon’s scenes is there’s now definitely no ambiguity that Ramsay cut off Theon’s cock. (In the books, it was implied, but I know a lot of readers who thought it was more of a metaphorical, emotional castration, since we’re so in Theon’s point of view.) So, I guess that’s good to know? Only I wish we didn’t see it happen. It’s just such needless cruelty. I was pretty sick to my stomach from the moment those two girls showed up. Then that horn. Ugh.
- Osha had a sad little monologue about why she left her home. I wonder if she and Rickon will go their separate ways soon.
- “Death.”—Arya on her god. Cold words for such a young kid.
- “The Lannisters send their regards.”—Jaime. Yeah… Nice use of “Rains of Castamere” once again.
Next week: “Second Sons.” Not sure what the title refers to, but hopefully we’ll get more of Arya and the Hound.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 PM E/PT on HBO.
Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com, covering True Blood, Game of Thrones, and gaming news. Follow her on Twitter @tdelucci