by Tracy Ladd:
Game of Thrones: “The Climb”
Original Air Date (HBO): Sunday May 5, 2013
Season 3 Episode 6
It’s pretty impressive when a show can wrap you in its embrace and hold you hostage for an hour even when it’s not quite on par with the previous two episodes. That’s exactly what “The Climb” did. Sporting a title of multiple meanings, this week may not have had the sex or violence of episodes past, but it still managed to capture me in all of its verbose glory. A lot can also be said for a character who’s on-screen for maybe 10 seconds, if even that, doesn’t say a single word, and still makes you want to rip his face off and feed it to him. Dear God, my hatred for Joffrey cannot be measured.
The flip side of that hatred however is my love for all things Arya, Jon Snow, and Jamie and Brienne. All who happened to be present this week. Sadly however, there was no Daenerys, which means no dragons or Jorah, but that doesn’t mean it still wasn’t a fantastic episode. The pieces are moving on the chessboard and things are finally falling into place.
Things are happening all over King’s Landing. First, Cersei and Tyrion commiserate over the misfortune thrust upon them by their loving father as Cersei watches an unknowing Loras and Sansa in the garden. Tyrion asks about the plan she had in mind for his demise, but his heart just isn’t into it. Knowing he has to do the deed, Tyrion pays a visit to Sansa to break the news. As if telling Sansa about their situation isn’t bad enough, at her urging, he has to break the news in front of Shae as well.
Olenna meets with Tywin regarding the pending nuptials between Loras and Cersei and makes mention of how Cersei is too old to be wed to Loras. The Queen of Thorns is put in her place quite quickly however when Tywin plays dirty and with inked quill ready, tells her that if she doesn’t agree to the match, he’ll assign Loras to the Kingsguard where he will never wed, thus ending the Tyrell family line. Not left with much choice, Lady Olenna breaks Tywin’s quill, effectively agreeing to the match.
Littlefinger has always had an agenda. He’s conniving, patient and manipulative, which can be lethal qualities in and of themselves. He and Varys have enjoyed a mutual “frenemy” type relationship thus far, but the extent of Littlefinger’s resolve has never been made public. Until now. Discussing the finer points of the Iron Throne and quests for power, Littlefinger sheds a bit of light on the episode’s title.
“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. Some, given a chance to climb, refuse. They cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”
It’s not so much his words, but his expression when he recites these words. There is a lethal quality to the look in his eyes and we know that he’s not joking. He’s finally putting his plan into play and there will be a price. He wants the power, the title, the glory and the army and he’s slowing achieving all of this. As a parting jibe to Varys, Littlefinger makes a passing comment about a betrayal. Turns out that he was talking about Ros, and her betrayal of Littlefinger to Varys. She suffered mightily at the hands of Joffrey and his crossbow. Meanwhile, Sansa can only watch as Littlefinger’s ship sails away, knowing she could have been on it with him, instead of being hitched to Tyrion. To be honest, I still think she should have left with the Hound when he asked her to go with him.
Due to so much happening in King’s Landing, it means we’re light on everything else, which sadly, includes Jamie and Brienne. Lord Bolton found it in himself to have someone find new rags for Brienne, but much to her dismay, it’s in the form of a pink dress. I have to say, it doesn’t work on her at all. Jamie and Brienne dine with Bolton, where Jamie struggles with cutting his food, but luckily, his right hand gal is there to help. However, Jamie keeps using his family’s name, even though Bolton isn’t really playing that game. Bolton assures him that he will get to King’s Landing, but asks him to tell his father that Bolton wasn’t responsible for the missing hand. Jamie wants to know when they’re leaving, but Bolton tells him that Brienne won’t be traveling with him any further. Ok, this really breaks my heart. I love these two and really hope they continue on together. However, it’s been my experience with this world that anything I want to happen, rarely does.
Arya is still in the company of the Brotherhood Without Banners as they’ve yet to reach Riverrun so they can turn her over to Robb for gold. So she makes the best of her time and continues her training on becoming an even bigger bad ass than she already is. As she’s taking lessons on how to properly shoot a bow and arrow, she spies someone approaching. That someone turns out to be Melisandre and her escorts. After shooting the breeze in High Valyrain, and seeming a bit jealous over Thoros’ accomplishments at the hand of the Lord of Light, Melisandre tells him that the Lord of Light led her to them because they have something she needs. Much to Arya’s horror, that something turns out to be Gendry. He does have a king’s blood flowing through his veins, even though he doesn’t know it yet. Not one to let things lie, Arya storms up the Melisandre demanding answers, and what Melisandre sees behind Arya’s eyes, actually seemed to worry her. She regains her composure quick enough however, and as a parting remark, she tells Arya that they will meet again.
Robb is all business as usual now that he has a plan. Of course his actions have consequences, that Edmure has to pay. After meeting with two of Walder Frey’s representatives, it turns out that fences can be mended after all. With Robb breaking his vow to marry one of Frey’s daughters, things were not going well between the two houses. Now that Robb needs Frey’s army, he’s trying to patch the gaping hole he shot through their alliance. The price? Edmure Tully must marry one of the daughters instead. After some not so nice convincing by his Uncle Blackfish, Edmure finally relents. Poor Edmure….has to pay for Robb’s serious lack in judgement. I mean, I know the heart wants what it wants, but he really F’d that alliance up by shacking up with Talisa. Oh and then there was the matter of beheading Rickard Karstark and losing that army.
Checking back in briefly with Bran, who spends his part mediating a bit of a confrontation between Meera and Osha. Who knew that skinning rabbits would become a competitive sport. All kidding aside, Bran puts his little foot down and commands both of them to apologize to each other. Begrudgingly, they do, but apologies and mutual respect is put on hold when Jojen suffers a seizure while sleeping. Meera tells Bran that the visions take their toll on her brother, and confirms that he’s currently in the middle of one. Jojen awakens, and tells Bran that his vision was of Jon Snow and how he was on the wrong side of the wall surrounded by enemies.
Speaking of Jon Snow….as he prepares to scale the Wall, along with Tormund and the rest of his crew, Ygritte informs him that she knows he never stopped being a crow. She basically tells him she doesn’t care, as long as he puts her first. He neither confirms, nor denies her suspicions, but now that he’s got feelings for her, his task just became even more difficult. Putting all that aside however, Ygritte and Jon begin their ascent. I figured it would be Jon who missteps on the climb, but it was actually Ygritte who caused a chuck of the Wall to split and fall, taking her and Jon with it. Tied to Orell, with Tormund leading their charge, Orell cuts Ygritte and Jon loose, but they’re able to catch themselves, and finally, make it to the top where they’re greeted by Orell giving them both the stink eye. Instead of beating Orell bloody for cutting them loose, Jon shows Ygritte the south side of the Wall, where the two share some face time.
Finally, checking in with Theon, he’s still strung up on that awful X frame torture device. His savior, then captor, not only uses physical torture, but mental as well and to be honest, I still don’t know who this guy is. He tells Theon if he can guess accurately, then he’ll spare the finger he plans on cutting off if Theon guesses wrong. Theon guesses that he’s the son of Rickard Karstark, to which the young man verifies is true. However, he then turns around and tells Theon that he’s a liar and proceeds to peel away pieces of Theon’s pinky. Honestly, can we just get past this already? As much as I love this show, this whole Theon being tortured for episodes on end thing needs to find its end because this is the one aspect of the show that is dragging. Is it just me? I will say however, that this guy…whoever he is, is pretty menacing, sadistic and scary.
So, not so heavy on the action front, but there’s a lot going on. Still, it was a gripping episode and I’m dying to find out just what Melisandre saw in Arya’s eyes. We’re winding down with only four episodes left and it kills me to think that this season is almost done. I have a feeling some serious shit is going to go down at some point. What with all these weddings coming up….something is bound to go down fast. This series is not all about the bright shiny happy endings after all, so now is not the time to wish for them.
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.