Game of Thrones: Season 3, Episode 6 (“The Climb”)

SPOILERS: Don’t read this review if you have not yet seen or don’t want to know details from the latest episode of Game of Thrones.  

I knew you were high born.  -Gilly comments after Sam explains that there were always servants to build fires back home

This ep begins sweetly w/ Sam (love his character), Gilly, and her newborn son out in the woods.  Sam builds a fire, but it’s small, as he’s added too many logs.  At her suggestion, Sam (more book smart than street smart) removes a big log and the fire blazes higher.  He shows Gilly a piece of dragon glass uncovered from The Fist of the First Men.  She asks for a song (starting to like him more and more), and Sam sings something about The Seven (new gods). 

John Bradley-West is revealing himself to be a fine young actor, though he’s inexperienced and lacks the traditional leading man looks (assets in showbiz and beyond).  Unlike Kit Harington (who is very handsome), Bradley-West is not afraid to “go there” (be vulnerable/show messy emotions).  Harington holds back, in my opinion.  (I liked Jon better back in Season 1, especially when he was interacting with the other Stark kids and Tyrion.)  Though Sam served partly as comic relief through Season 2, I feel Bradley-West has succeeded in making the audience empathize with him.  

Ygritte gazes up at The Wall
Ygritte gazes up at The Wall

You’re loyal and your’re brave.  You didn’t stop being a crow the day you walked into Mance Rayder’s tent.  -Ygritte says to Jon

While Jon, Ygritte, and the Wildlings are prepping to climb The Wall, she tells him that she knows he’s still loyal to the Night’s Watch.  Jon is quiet, surprised by this revelation.  Ygritte bluntly tells him that she doesn’t care, as long as he’s loyal to her.  This is a great scene that shows us, once again, that Ygritte is no naïve fool!  Unlike typical Westerosi women, she’s a pragmatic/realistic individual. 

Arya takes aim, thinking of (future) revenge
Arya takes aim, thinking of (future) revenge

I see a darkness in you.  And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me.  Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes.  Eyes you’ll shut forever. 

Melisandre predicts Arya’s future when the girl confronts her

We see Arya improving her archery skills and learn some more about the Brotherhood without Banners, but then the Red Priestess (Melisandre) shows up.  (She’s bad news- can tell from her theme music.)  We learn that Thoros’ original mission was to convert King Robert (who loved drinking and whoring) to the Lord of Light.  Melisandre sees the scarred-up Beric and is amazed when Thoros tells her that he’s been brought back 6 times.  She is (obviously) jealous of the fact that the Lord of Light has blessed Thoros with such a gift. 

Thoros talks about his (not so wholesome) past- a very strong scene.  Paul Kaye is a very charismatic actor; there is a twinkle in Thoros’ eyes.  He looks like he could be a relation of William Hurt.

There are others with your blood in their veins -Melisandre said to Stannis (Season 3, Episode 3)

Gendry is tied up and driven away by Melisandre and her men.  Oh no, what’s she going to do with him!  This was a shock- it happened very fast.  Thoros explains to (a very angry Arya) that the Brotherhood needs gold to do their work (protecting the people).  Maisie Williams continues to shine here,  showing us that Arya has no time for hypocritic BS.  Her goal is revenge- plain and simple.  Arya also has deep feelings for Gendry, but that will take time to play out. 

Ransay and Theon
I was right- Theon’s torturer is Roose Bolton’s bastard son!

If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.  -Ramsay Snow to Theon, who he’s torturing

The scenes with Theon and his sadistic torturer were very difficult to watch, even for a fan like myself.  (I don’t like to see blood!)  Some reviewers compared Ramsay to Joffrey (who also enjoys seeing others in distress/pain).

The Starks must ally with House Frey
The Starks must ally with House Frey

The laws of gods and men are very clear.  No man can compel another man to marry.  -Edmure Tully

The laws of my fists are about to compel your teeth.  -Blackfish Tully

Two of Walder Frey’s sons come to Riverrun to ask for reparations.  Since Robb broke his vow to marry one of their sisters, he must publicly apologize.  Also, after the war, Walder Frey will become lord of Harrenhal.  Robb agrees with these terms.  Then the kicker- Robb’s uncle, Edmure, will marry 19 y.o. Rosalind Frey (who he’s never seen).  Reluctantly, Edmure agrees, since the Starks must form an alliance with House Frey.

Michelle Fairley didn’t get much to say in this ep- too bad.  If I had to quibble about something, it would have to be Richard Madden’s (heavy) Scottish accent.  He hasn’t adapted his accent to fit in with the other Starks.  Rose Leslie, who’s also a Scot, is using the Northern British accent (which suits Ygritte very well).

Jamie will be freed, but not Brienne
Jamie will be freed, but not Brienne

You are charged with abetting treason.  -Bolton bluntly declares to Brienne

Jaime fails at dinner, but wins his freedom from Bolton.  He plays the money card, saying that his father can reward Bolton with much more than Robb.  Brienne observes everything keenly, and even reaches for her knife when Bolton threatens Jaime.  Finally, the Northman says that Jaime can return to King’s Landing, where he’ll explain to Tywin that Bolton had nothing to do with the maiming (of Jaime’s right hand).  When the Northman says he doesn’t drink, Jaime comments that this is suspicious to ordinary folk.  Too bad that Brienne (who looks pretty in that pink gown) has to stay behind as a prisoner!

I liked seeing more of Bolton (Michael McElhatton), who is an enigmatic character so far.  We know that he’s experienced at battle tactics and disapproves of Robb’s marriage to Talisa, a foreign woman with no connections in Westeros.

Lady Olenna and Lord Tywin face off
Lady Olenna and Lord Tywin face off

Finally, we get a meaty scene with Lady Olenna and Lord Tywin- two of the titans of Westeros.  In her usual blunt manner, The Queen of Thorns says that Cersei is too old for Loras (who is a “rose” in the bloom of youth).  Tywin is no fool- he knows that her grandson is gay (a no-no in The Seven Kingdoms).  Olenna brushes that off, saying that it’s natural for young boys to fool around with each other.  Tywin is not amused when she questions him about his youth.  LOL!

If you refuse to marry Loras to Cersei, I will name him to the Kingsguard.  Your familiar with the Kingsguard vows.  He will never marry, he will never have children.  The Tyrell name will fade.  -Lord Tywin declares to Lady Olenna

Tywin has the trump card, because he can make Loras a Kingsguard and end the Tyrell line.  Lady Olenna can’t have that, so she gives in, breaking Tywin’s quill before he can write up the job assignment.

It’s a rare enough thing- a man who lives up to his reputation.  -Lady Olenna concludes

Loras and Sansa
Loras and Sansa talk weddings

It’s terrible, isn’t it?  The most terrible place there is.  -Loras gives his opinion about King’s Landing

Not knowing that their lives are already decided, Sansa and Loras (wearing a lovely rose brooch) have an awkward meeting in the garden.  Poor, clueless Sansa looks so happy.  Loras has more ideas about their wedding than she does- LOL!  We know he’s thinking of Renly when he mentions that he’d like Sansa to wear “a gown of green and gold brocade.”  (Aww, I miss Renly, too!  He would’ve been a good king.)  They both want to leave the capitol for Highgarden, but it’s just not meant to be. 

Tyrion and Cersei commiserate
Tyrion and Cersei commiserate

The scene with Tyrion and Cersei is great (as usual), but also revealing.  We learn that it was Joffrey, not Cersei, who sent Ser Mandon to kill him during the Battle of Blackwater.  Joffrey won’t try anything now because grandpa Tywin is here, Cersei assures her younger brother.  However, there is no way to stop the weddings.  Tywin has won, again!  Tyrion goes to speak to Sansa about the matter.  Why didn’t they show that scene?  I was very surprised!

Varys and Littlefinger
Littlefinger tells Varys how he sees it

Chaos isn’t a pit, chaos is a ladder.  Many who try to climb it fail, never get to try again.  The fall breaks them.  Some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse.  They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love.  Illusions.  Only the ladder is real.  The climb is all there is.  -Littlefinger explains his worldview to Varys

As if things couldn’t get worse, we get the scene with Littlefinger, Varys, and a related montage.  Littlefinger has given the spy who betrayed him to someone who “was seeking new experience.”  We cut to Joffrey holding his crossbow.  Ros is strung up at the foot of his bed, arrows all through her dead body.  (Wow, what a horrible image!)  Outside, Sansa is sobbing as she watches Littlefinger’s ship all burned up.

Aiden Gillen has somehow managed to make his Irish accent more and more distasteful over the seasons.  The preciseness with which he says his words are very effective, and sometimes even menacing.  And have you noticed how Littlefinger’s clothing has become more and more fancier over time?  He knows how to climb, that’s for sure!

The final scene of the episode (top of The Wall)
The final scene of the episode (top of The Wall)

The ep ended on a positive/hopeful note- Jon and Ygritte kissing at the highest point in the Kingdom.  I’m usually not a sucker for CGI, but I liked how the special effects folks did the climbing scenes.  The Wall looked truly scary!

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