Friday, February 23, 2018

by Tracy Ladd:

Game of Thrones: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”
Original Air Date (HBO): Sunday May 12, 2013
Season 3 Episode 7

This latest episode was probably the quickest hour of television I’ve watched in a long, long time.  Written by George R.R. Martin himself, this week gave us plenty to think about until the next episode.  This week also was all over the map location wise.  Normally we’re treated to longer segments in a few locations, but this episode gave us shorter segments and hit upon pretty much every character who currently has a story going.  That’s pretty impressive if you ask me.  I know I say it every week, but it’s true.  This show just keeps getting better and better with each passing episode.  You know this though, because you watch it too so I’ll stop waxing poetic and get to the meat of it.

Jon and the Free Folk

That’s actually a great name for a band.  Given the amount of animosity and drama that Jon has had to deal with since he joined the wildings, it could very well be a band.  Now that they’re on the south side of the Wall, officially in Jon’s ‘hood, he kills time by answering the plethora of questions that Ygritte has about life on the other side.  Of course he knows nothing and when told that armies march into battle with banners and drums, she responds to the idea  in a way that makes you realize just how silly it is.  Jon tries to impart the honor in such as act, but it’s completely lost on the girl from the north.  He does tell her that the Wildings have attacked six times and have lost each time and tries to convince her that this time will be no different.  The conversation however, falls on deaf ears.  All kidding aside, Tormund seems to be the jokester of the group, but Orell on the other hand….he’s got some jealousy issues.  When Jon confronts him about cutting them loose on their climb, Orell simply tells Jon that he cut Ygritte loose as well and she’s not complaining.  Orell has a thing for Ygritte, but as she tells Jon, she’s his and he is hers.


King of the North HQ

Robb and his army’s journey to the Twins has temporarily been put on hold due to weather.  Catelyn tries to convince Robb that Walder Frey will take their delay as a slight, but Robb is convinced a few days delay won’t hurt.  After all, Walder Frey is getting a wedding after all, even though it’s not the one he was hoping for.  Cat’s argument is wasted breath however, and soon enough Robb sends everyone out of his tent, leaving him alone with his wife.  The two enjoy some sexy sexy time, but it’s soon back to war planning .  Talisa drafts a letter to her mother in Valyrian and asks him to go with her to Volantis when the war is over.  He promises he will, then drops a bomb on him, telling him that she’s pregnant.

A Queen and her dragons

Daenerys continues on the Free Cities Freed Slave Tour and against the council of Jorah, has Barristan Selmy send word to the Yunkish Lords that she invites them to an audience with her.  The Lord that arrives does so in an ill-advised fashion: on the shoulders of slaves.  Probably not the best idea considering they know what she did to Astapor.  Perhaps he was making a statement.  It was a statement that Dany ignored completely, proven by her taking the gold the man presented her with, along with slapping down an ultimatum: free the slaves and keep his life, or suffer her wrath like Astapor did.  The Lord merely scoffs at her threat, until her dragons deliver a threat of their own.

Daenerys has become such a bad ass and has easily moved up the ranks of my favorite characters.  I think with all of the characters so far, she has gone through the most character growth.  She’s definitely marking her (scorch)mark, but she needs to watch her step.  There is crazy in her family after all and when she was throwing down the ultimatum, there was a little hint of it in her eyes.

The (separated) dynamic duo

It still breaks my heart that Gendry was separated from Arya.  While she sulks about and shoots eye-daggers at Dondarrion and his Brotherhood Without Banners, Gendry finds himself on a ship with Melisandre and posse sailing towards his old stomping grounds of King’s Landing.  Melisandre talks about his bloodline, but in cryptic terms, to which he replies that he’s nothing more than a lowborn from Fleabottom.  Melisandre tells him how her mother was a slave, as was she, until her calling from the Lord of Light came.  She seems earnest enough, but I just can’t get that image of her birthing the shadow baby out of my head.  She’s got ulterior motives, but does tell Gendry the truth about his parentage and that he has a King’s blood flowing through his veins.  How does one process news like that?

Back to Arya, refusing the hospitality that Dondarrion is clearly trying to offer, Arya is still sore about them trading Gendry for gold.  The scouts come back with news of a Lannister party that seems like an offer too good to refuse.  The Brotherhood decide to detour, which means Arya’s reunion will be further delayed.  Tired of the bullshit, Arya pulls a runner and takes off into the rainy night, only to be caught….by the Hound.


Life in the Capitol

Sansa is fretting over her pending nuptials to Tyrion, while Margaery does her best to reveal the silver lining, if there is one.  Meanwhile, Tyrion has the same conversation, albeit a bit more crude, with Bronn and tries to sugar coat the whole situation (unsuccessfully) with Shae.  While wedding day jitters affect the two, Joffrey tries his best to intimidate his Hand and grandfather, Tywin.  However, Tywin swats Joffery’s attempt at establishing his power like a pesky fly and makes the young King realize quite quickly just who’s in charge.

Dreams or nightmares

Theon awakens to find himself flat on his back, instead of being strung up on that dreadful X.  Two women tend to his various aches and pains and it becomes quite clear they have other things on their minds.  As if Theon hasn’t been tortured enough, the girls tease him mercilessly.  Thinking he’s going to get a quick piece of ass (or two), Theon begins to relish the attentions of the two ladies.  However, the mood shifts drastically and suddenly, when his tormentor sounds the horn (literally) and enters to torture Theon a bit more.  Wielding an incredibly scary looking blade, two other brutes enter, to pin Theon down.  What actually happens is left up to the imagination, but what the imagination conjures certainly isn’t pretty.

With all the amazing things this show manages to do, I will be honest and say that Theon’s storyline is doing absolutely nothing for me.  I find it all rather boring and really just want it to end one way or another.

Little Lords

Bran is still trying to make sense of his three-eyed crow dreams and Jojen tells him that he needs to follow them.  Osha however, still plans to get them to Castle Black, to Jon Snow.  Jojen reminds her that Jon isn’t at Castle Black and is surrounded by enemies.  I guess his vision hasn’t been updated just yet.  Osha then tells them the harrowing tale of how her husband left one day only to return the next as a wight.  She reminds them again that the north is quickly becoming no place for the living and because of that, the Wildings will head south.


The Bear and the Maiden Fair

Not quite following the lyrics of the song, my favorite pairing of this season had to part ways this week.  Jamie was being sent to King’s Landing by Lord Bolton’s orders, while Brienne was kept at Harenhaal.  They’re goodbye was heartbreaking what with Jamie vowing to have the Stark girls released when he bids his companion farewell.  Once away, after a brief check up with Qyburn, Jamie finds out that Brienne is being held by Locke now that Bolton has left the castle.  Knowing that her fate can’t be promising, he forces his errr……hand….to go back and collect her.

Back at Harenhaal, he finds all the men gathered around a pit where Brienne was left to fight off a bear with only a wooden sword.  Showing he’s more than what people make him to be, Jamie jumps in to save her.  And save her he does.  Once safely out of the pit, Jamie forces his hand again, and informs Locke that Brienne is going with him.  This was THE BEST scene of the episode and this relationship has come so far.  Jamie is so much more than the sum of his parts and Brienne clearly thinks so too, especially when she finally addressed his as “Ser Jamie”.

It was a very fast, very gripping hour and with only three episodes remaining, they’re just going to go by even faster.  I was very excited to see that Jamie and Brienne weren’t separated after all as it takes the sting out of Gendry being hauled away.  Speaking of, Melisandre is rather menacing and I don’t trust her one bit.  His fate has me worried.  It makes me wonder just what Episode 8 has in store.  Until then, I’ll leave you with The Hold Steady’s version of “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.”

DarkMedia contributor Tracy Ladd has been writing about film since her days on the her high school newspaper. Even though she took a decade or two off to explore other things, she’s back to doing what she loves. She also bakes, can knit a pretty nifty scarf and makes lightsaber sounds with her knitting needles. Or chopsticks. Especially with the lightsaber chopsticks.

You can find her on Facebook, on Twitter @ReelGoddess, and on her website The Reel Goddess.

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