Season Three, Episode Six
Written By: Amanda Lowery
The morning after the Game of Thrones episode “The Climb” - the scene that came to mind was probably the singularly most disturbing scene. Ros was a character that only existed in the show, but I grew attached to her through all her trials and tribulations (and there were many). So witnessing her awful death at the hands of Joffrey the monster boy king was truly unsettling. That being said - let me begin this recap from the top and work my way to that horrible moment.
I loved the name of the episode. I felt like it was an excellent theme to tie all these story lines together. The social climb of the Tyrells and Lannisters, the physical climb of Jon Snow, the chaos climb of Littlefinger – and we also saw what happens to those who do not climb or those who fail at it. We also became aware of deepening situations of destitution for which we know characters want to climb out of but they cannot reach the ladder.
Sam and Gilly
I understand if viewers don't care about this particular story line. I read the books and I barely care about this story line within the show. In the story you read this part from Sam's perspective, so readers get to know him and they are invested in his journey with this young woman and her incestuous new born. In the show, I don't really feel connected to Sam and so I view his scene with only mild interest. However, I'm glad we got a glimpse of them because if they are shown then there must be some significance. And they did discuss the dragon glass spearhead that Sam found so perhaps that is a clue of something to come.
Bran and Mr. Green Dreams
As Bran journeys to the Wall, tensions run high among his companions. And then we get a glimpse of the physical cost of psychic powers. Jojen Reed’s green dreams actually come at the cost of a seizure. This dream is about Jon Snow, he sees him on the “wrong side of the wall surrounded by enemies.”
Jaime and Brienne
This scene is pretty much exactly as I pictured it from the book. That hideous pink dress looks so obscene on
Brienne. I am really fond of the relationship that has bloomed between she and Jaime. When she reaches over and stabs the meat with her fork so that Jaime can sufficiently cut a piece says so much. Lord Bolton aimed to humiliate both of them by dressing Brienne in woman's clothes and putting a two handed dish in front of Jaime. However, he does concede to let Jaime return to King's Landing, and it is Lord Tywin's money that ultimately sways the decision. Lord Bolton does not intend to relinquish his possession of Brienne though, and we see Jaime's reaction to this news. He saved Brienne from a horrible scenario once before and now she faces something like that again. After last week's episode we know these two have grown to care about each other through their horrific journey and multiple vulnerabilities. There isn't much to hide now and so this news of separation is especially unsettling.
Arya and The Brotherhood without Banners
So this whole thing wasn't in the books - but I absolutely loved it! Melisandre showing up to snag Gendry for his King's blood (as Robert's bastard son) was unexpected but welcomed as we got to learn more about Thoros' relationship to the Red God. Melisandre and Thoros both worship the Red God, but in different ways. Once she learns that Thoros has brought Beric Dondarrion back from the dead six times you can see something like jealousy cross her face. Thoros admits that while he was in King's Landing living as a Red Priest he didn't even
really believe in his God. It wasn't until he spoke the words and invoked the Red God to bring Dondarrion back that he became a believer. And now he believes that the Red God is the one true God. We also learn a bit more about Thoros and Melisandre's mission in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. They are like missionaries of sorts - sent to convert Westeros to belief in the Red God.
I really felt like this was genius on the part of the show's writers. In the books Melisandre goes after one of Robert's heirs but it isn't Gendry it is a bastard that Stannis was boarding at Dragonstone. Connecting Melisandre and Thoros allowed for multiple revelations about these characters and that information is priceless as we proceed into the show. Plus we got to see Arya confront Melisandre and call her a "witch," which I was quite fond of. Pretty much everything Arya does is awesome in my opinion. Melisandre reads into Arya's eyes multiple lives that she will take and tells her they will meet again. This isn't in the books either so I am very intrigued by this development.
Jon Snow and the Wildlings
So, Kit Harrington has been difficult for me to bond with in the show. For mostly the reason that I thought him to be a petulant brat for the first two seasons. However, now that he and Ygritte have been intimate he has become a much more enjoyable character. I also really believe their passion for one another. Ygritte tells Jon that she knows he has stayed loyal to the Night's Watch in his heart even while nesting among the Wildlings. She then demands that Jon stay faithful to her and not betray her heart - which would mean that Jon would stay with the Wildlings. He didn't have to make any decisions challenging this new vow, but we know that he will have to face things eventually.
Scaling the Wall looks absolutely terrifying. I thought the effects were really well done for this. When we first pan in on the climbers they actually look like ants crawling up a wall which I thought was a very nice shot. After the crack and the avalanche Jon and Ygritte are cut off their group's rope and Jon saves them by landing his ice pick. I think he was motivated not just to save his own life but to save Ygritte. When they finally make it to the top the view from both sides is absolutely stunning as one side is green and the other is just snow and ice. The grass IS greener on the other side in this case.
Theon and That Crazy Guy
Poor Theon. I never thought I would say that. Ever. But it’s how I feel. In the books, you don’t know what happens to Theon after Ramsay Snow/Bolton takes Winterfell. He goes missing for a couple of books and then turns up again in A Dance with Dragons, and then you read about the torture that took place at the hands of Bolton’s bastard. However, seeing it evokes a very different emotional response. In case there was any doubt that this crazy man is actually Ramsay Snow/Bolton – behold the technique of flaying. The Bolton house sigil is the flayed man, “a flayed man never lies,” or so it is said. That is what Ramsay was doing to Theon’s finger. Why? I have no idea what motivates a monster like Ramsay, but it’s something I will never comprehend. He is sick like Joffrey is sick.
Walder Frey will help Robb Stark and forgive him for breaking his religious vow to marry one of Frey’s daughter if…Edmure Tully marries one of his daughters instead. Edmure doesn’t seem too happy about this, but his concerns are superficial and selfish. He agrees, of course, and Robb is once again invigorated with the possibility of winning this dragging war.
Tywin and Olenna. Need I say more? I feel like Tywin’s scenes with anyone are good, but this scene was a battle of wills. Both of these head strong characters want their way, and so throw insults back at each other like it’s a tennis match. Tywin tries to use Loras’ homosexuality as a face card in his play to have Cersei and Loras wed,
but his efforts are smacked down by
Olenna’s insistence that incest is a deeper stain than homoeroticism. Ouch. Ultimately, Tywin wins with his alternative that Loras will go into the Kingsguard where he can take no wives and no lands. I hope we get to see these two together again.
Meanwhile, Tyrion laments about his arrangement with Sansa to his loving big sister. The only really special thing to come out of this scene other than their mutual disappointment for marriage prospects is Cersei’s admission that Joffrey was the one who slated to have Manderly kill Tyrion in battle.
We learned last week that the Lannisters plan to unite Tyrion and Sansa Stark to spit in the face of the Tyrells who wanted to squash the Lannisters between their influence in the North and the South with a power play move to marry Sansa to Loras. This week Tyrion informs his bride-to-be of the arrangement. I really wish they would have shown that conversation. I really do. Instead we only get to see Sansa’s tear stained face as she watches ships sail away for other destinations. Sansa doesn’t play the game, and so she doesn’t realize how important she is. If she could pull her head out of her ass she could do some amazing things with her position, especially with a marriage as advantageous as Stark and Lannister. However, she clings to girlish fantasies and knights.
Then came the most honest conversation between Littlefinger and Varys that we have yet to witness. Littlefinger blames Varys for his having to get rid of Ros once he discovered she’d become an informer. Varys claims that his attempt to unite Sansa with Loras was based on the good of the realm. And you know what – I believe him. Perhaps I am secretly Team Varys, but I actually believe he considers the bigger picture. Littlefinger is very different. He’s not like Ramsay or Joffrey in his hands-on cruelty, instead he feeds those creatures and fuels the fires of chaos, and I wonder which is worse. Then we get one of Littlefinger’s monologue’s rooted in his jilted world philosophy, "Chaos isn't a pit," he says. "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."
The final scenes all flashed through what Littlefinger was saying, and we ended with Joffrey having used his new bow to painfully and sadistically kill Ros. Well done show creators, but damn – way to end it on a dark note.